Series: Technology to Support Multiple Intelligences

This is a series of articles on how and which technologies you might use to support the eight individual intelligences as defined in Dr. Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Here is a sequential outline of the articles:

jason-mi•  Introduction
Word Smart (linguistic intelligence)
Number Smart (logical-mathematical intelligence)
Picture Smart (spatial intelligence)
Body Smart (kinesthetic intelligence)
Music Smart (musical intelligence)
People Smart (interpersonal intelligence)
Self Smart (intrapersonal intelligence)
Nature Smart (naturalistic intelligence)

Your comments, thoughts and ideas are encouraged! Thank you – Jason

Nature Smart

What is nature smart?

This intelligence has to do with relating to one’s natural surroundings.


What are some personality qualities of nature smart people?

Naturalists may be good at growing things, have an instinctive ability with animals, know the outdoors and what it takes to survive in the elements and may also have an acute understanding of weather and weather patterns.

What are some activities and technologies that would help nature smart people in a learning environment?

GPS/Handhelds – Naturalists will love handheld devices that have mapping features such as Google Earth or GPS capabilities that allow them to collect data based on natural locations.

iLife – Give the nature smart person a laptop with the iLife Suite and they will take your project or lesson to the next level with the ability to express themselves outdoors with pictures (iPhoto), movies (iMovie), podcasts (GarageBand), or blogging (iWeb). Give them a cause to fight for and let them design a project that incorporates the teachings. Nature smart people are usually very passionate about their beliefs and will go the extra mile given the tools.

Is there a cause you support that you could incorporate into your lessons? Can you work outside or have your students do extra projects where they can engage with nature? Share your ideas….

Self Smart

What is self smart?

This intelligence focuses on the individual and their ability to be self-reflective.

self-smartPermission to use for educational purposes.  © 1999 Fablevision

What are some personality qualities of self smart people?

Intrapersonal people are usually independent, deep thinkers and are skillful at being able to detect ones own feelings and predict reactions to those.

What are some activities and technologies that would help self smart people in a learning environment?

Web Resources – Providing web resources gives people with this intelligence the opportunity to discover and learn on their own. You might provide these resources by providing links using a social bookmarking site like Diigo or by building a website using Google Sites or another website builder. To get them started, you may want to give them skills in Information Literacy and how to find resources effectively. You may also use tools such as Google Custom Search Engine to refine their results to websites you know are valuable to the instruction.

Databases – Databases such as Nettreker can provide self smart individuals a great tool to research and find information on their own. There are also free directories that are similar but don’t necessarily have the education component. You might look at Google Directory, Thinkfinity, Yahoo Directory or even Wikipedia.

Blogging/Podcasting – Giving students the tools to think about topics and express themselves in this manner provides them a way to communicate with the instructor and others in the learning environment. Tools such as Blogger or Edublogs are a good way to get started with blogging. You may also use Garageband or Audacity to get started in podcasting.

It is sometimes difficult to know where a self smart person is at in instruction. They are sometimes quite and introverted. What do you do to assess whether or not a self smart individual is “getting it” or not? Share your ideas…

People Smart

What is people smart?

This intelligence is about people working and learning with others.


What are some personality qualities of people smart people?

People smart individuals like to interact with others either one on one or in group settings. They are usually labeled extroverts and tend to do a good job of judging others emotions and motivations.

What are some activities and technologies that would help people smart people in a learning environment?

Communications Tools – Software that would fall in this category might include Instant Messaging programs like Skype, Google Talk, or iChat. It’s a way to build a list of friends, colleagues and professionals to ask questions of or hold instant conversations individually or in a group setting. Most of these packages let you chat by typing or some also have audio and video capability. Some also let you share your computer screen and have other features to let you share and express your ideas.

Social Networking Tools – There are several web 2.0 tools to facilitate this type of learning style. The important part is remembering to build your network with those that will help you in a particular area. If you are interested in geography, follow/friend those who are in this field. If you want to know more about woodworking, follow master carpenters. The two most popular sites for social networking are Twitter and Facebook. You can learn much by building your PLN (Professional Learning Network.) You may also want to build your own social networking site for those with the same interests. A great site for this is Ning.

Have you worked with any of these technologies? How do you feel technology helps or hinders human communications? Comment here…

Music Smart

What is music smart?

This intelligence covers music, patterns, rhythms and sounds.

music-smartPermission to use for educational purposes.  © 1999 Fablevision

What are some personality qualities of music smart people?

Music smart individuals learn by working with sounds and patterns as it relates to music. They are able to decipher rhythms and tones and can play and create great compositions.

What are some activities and technologies that would help music smart people in a learning environment?

GarageBand – This software allows you to create music and podcasts. It can record audio, play and mix virtual instruments in predefined loops or ones you can create on your own and also has a lessons feature to learn to play different instruments. Using a book like GarageBand Mechanics by Dan Schmit will give you ideas for lessons in many curricular areas. For ideas on using GarageBand with your students, see what others are doing on Apple Learning Interchange.

Guitar Hero/Rock Band – This gaming landscape is taking off in the musical realm. There are many players in this field that bring music to everyone. Games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band not only introduce music to our students, they can teach rhythm, meter, pitch and a host of other musical intelligences. Many others are taking this a step further. Guitar Rising is using a real guitar game ideas from Guitar Hero to teach the instrument and other concepts. Jam Sessions is a unique game that turns the Nintendo DS into a portable guitar that you can use for many teachable moments. Click for Guitar Hero‘s or Rock Band‘s website.

iPod/MP3 Player – Having a library of music is helpful for any facilitator. Need to pick up the pace? Play something jazzy. Need to mellow the room? Play some easy or classical pieces. You can easily set the mood with the music you choose. Not only this but you also have the ability to relate your teaching to different genres, historical instruction and geographic information. Music plays such an important part of everyone’s lives and is great arsenal to add to your toolbox. Done with thought and conviction, you will see engagement and ultimately, better productivity. Click to read more on Apple’s iTunes/iPod.

How do you use musical personally? Is it an important part of your life? Did you pick specific pieces to play at your wedding? Birthdays? When you hear a song from the past, does it create memories of that time and where you were at? How can you start using music for your students? Share your thoughts.

Body Smart

What is body smart?

This intelligence covers movement and learning by doing. It is the capacity to learn and think by using the whole body or parts of it, such as hands, fingers, etc.

body-smartPermission to use for educational purposes.  © 1999 Fablevision

What are some personality qualities of body smart people?

Body smart people learn best by getting up, moving around, and doing. They think best when moving and working muscles. They enjoy things such as sports, dance, hands-on experiments and building things.

What are some activities and technologies that would help body smart people in a learning environment?

Nike + iPod – This is a great way for those inclined to walking and/or running to track their progress. A teacher/facilitator could have contests or track classroom progress with charts and other tools. It’s also a great way to teach health and wellness and have a virtual PE class. See more at Apple’s Nike + iPod site.

SmartMoves – This DVD provides “Body Puzzles for the Mind.” This highly researched activity improves focus and attention in students as well as calming restless students who can never seem to sit still. I have used it in workshops with adults as a great transition tool. It provides them activity and movement and something unique most of them have not experienced. It is a fun activity that spurs conversation and motivation. Find out more at the SmartMoves website.

Wii – The Wii gaming console is a unique system that gets students off the couch, moving and thinking as they progress through the many challenges the endless games Nintendo and other third party game developers have created. Some games, like Smarty Pants, have an inherent educational component and yet others challenge the facilitator to come up with educational value. One can use Wii Bowling, for example, to teach mathematics and graphing. For more educational games and ideas, visit Super Smart Games.

Mobiles/Handhelds – I add this category because I think the mobile technology allows us to get out in the field and collect data or do experiments. Anything from digital cameras, to GPS units, to cell phones and iPod Touches with the vast array of applications can get the kinesthetic learner moving and learning. See what the Horizon Report – K12 Edition has to say about the implication of mobile devices.

How important is it as facilitators to get our students up and moving? How often should we consider activities for this type of learner? What are some ideas you can implement to engage the body smart individual? Post your comments here.

Picture Smart

What is picture smart?

Picture smart people work well with images and spacial issues. This can cover a range of topics from art to cartography.

picture-smartPermission to use for educational purposes.  © 1999 Fablevision

What are some personality qualities of picture smart people?

Picture smart people enjoy imagery and have a strong sense of artistry. They are often good at building mental models and manipulating images in their mind. Picture smart people have a strong sense of direction and an ease of reading maps. I believe we will see an increasing trend for this intelligence as our students are exposed to more and more media on the television and the Internet.

What are some activities and technologies that would help picture smart people in a learning environment?

Flickr – From the photographer wanting a place to upload pictures to the student browsing for images to match a topic, Flickr is a wonderful resource for exploring, storing and sharing images. Flickr’s section for Creative Commons images that usually has less restrictions on their use. Learn more at

Google Earth – This free application from Google is a 3D model of earth, space, and mars all in one. It is a wonderful resource for most grade levels and any curricular area. Zoom in to see the pyramids or the pool in your friend’s backyard. Plot points of interest and create reports in a visual form. Take a tour of Google Earth.

Animation-ish – This program from Fablevision is a must have for drawing and creating animation. From the beginner to the advanced user, this program has something for everyone. Peter Reynolds also gives video tips and encouragement in your creative journey. To learn more and for a free trial download, visit Fablevision.

Animoto – A web-based application that takes your pictures and makes a dynamic video for presentations, storytelling, or other projects you can do with your students. Add music and text to your projects also. Many teachers are using this tool in their classroom as an easy way to engage the visual learner. Visit their site and learn more about Animoto for Education.

Webspiration – This mind-mapping web software is a great tool to visualize your ideas in a web format and has the ability to collaborate with others on the same project. Create flowcharts, visualize processes, and strengthen organizational skills with this tool. For examples, see the webspiration gallery.

I mentioned earlier that I believe we will have more and more students gravitate toward this intelligence because of the easy of access and the onslaught of visual media we are inundated with on a daily basis. Do you agree? If so, do you feel this is a good or bad for our students? Comment here…

Number Smart

What is number smart?

This intelligence covers logical and mathematical skills. It is working with numbers, abstraction, reasoning and logic.

number-smart.ngPermission to use for educational purposes.  © 1999 Fablevision

What are some personality qualities of number smart people?

Number smart people like to crunch numbers. They enjoy math and games of logic such as chess. They excel in activities such as computer programming and other logic based activities. Number smart people learn best in critical thinking activities and experimentation.

What are some activities and technologies that would help number smart people in a learning environment?

Google Finance – Our budding economists will enjoy having all the tools Google Finance has to offer, from current news to building custom portfolios to discovering trends in the stock market.

Programming – This is a great area to reinforce logic and systematic thinking. There are two very good programming languages that come to mind when thinking in this area. MIT has a program called Scratch which I feel would be a good fit for all ages, young and old. Alice is another language for programming in a 3D environment which is more advanced. There are also the traditional programming languages typically taught in a programming class although these won’t be as conducive to developing a digital story or other project for something other than a straight math or programming class.

Sketchup – This is a 3D modeling tool that every future engineer should use. Sketchup lets you engineer the next mega-bridge or build skyscrapers in 3D. Students will be able to build these 3D models and share them with the world.

Games – I am going to use games again using both mobile handhelds (cell phones, iPods, PSP’s, etc.) and online. There are many resources in this category to challenge the number smart persons. Baingle has brain teasers, games such as Chess and Sudoku, and much more.

Google Docs – This is again a standard tool every student and faculty needs access to. For the number smart person, they will enjoy working with spreadsheets and charts. Click for the standard Google Docs link. I will also again urge the use of Google Apps for Education.

With the Internet resources we have available and the computing resources now in everything from cell phones to super-computers, number smart people have many opportunities to learn and express themselves. What would you do to help support this intelligence from a learning standpoint or maybe harder yet, from an assessing standpoint? Share your comments…

Word Smart

What is word smart?

This intelligence covers verbal/linguistic skills. It is working with words, spoken or written.

word-smartPermission to use for educational purposes.  © 1999 Fablevision

What are some personality qualities of word smart people?

Word smart people like to read, write, talk and/or listen. They revel in words, books, languages and telling stories. People with a preference toward this intelligence learn best by reading, note taking, and lectures.

What are some activities and technologies that would help word smart people in a learning environment?

iTunes U – many lectures on just about any topic from professors and universities all over the country. This could be used for direct instruction or for those that need a place for extra resources on a topic of interest. Click for more information on iTunes U.

Podcasts – Listening to and creating podcasts would be a great activity for word smart individuals. For a great starter resource, take a look at Learning In Hand.

Blogs – Both reading and writing blogs is a way to engage these learners. Edublogs is a wonderful resource for educational blogging.

Stationary Studio – This software is a fantastic way to get reluctant or elementary students writing using theme based stationary. Check out this and other creative software from Fablevision Learning.

Digital Storytelling – Planning and writing scripts. Digitales has great resources for the beginner and the advanced storyteller.

Games – Using both mobile handhelds (cell phones, iPods, PSP’s, etc.) and online, there are many games for the linguist. For a few to try, see Word Games at the Gameroom.

Google Docs – This essential resource should be in any toolbox. With it’s suite of word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, it’s a must have for collaborating for any student or faculty. I am going to post two links because I feel strongly every school should really, really consider having Google Apps for Education. Here is the standard Google Docs link.

The applications and resources for this group are wide and varied. There are tons of tools but putting those into effective practice is the hard part. Please share other technology resources you have used for this group and how you put them into practice by commenting on this post.

Learning Styles and Technology

Over the next week I would like to share my thoughts on how technology might play a role in reaching more learners with different learning styles. I will argue that applying different learning styles to your lessons using technology will elicit engagement and increase achievement. There is already research happening in this field and there will only be more to come. But we don’t need research to know that we are all motivated by different factors and have different preferences for learning and sharing.

This brings up an important point. We need to not only think about how our students prefer the input of information but also how they may best output their knowledge. Given the same information some students will prefer to convey their thoughts on the topic verbally. Some will prefer to write and yet others might like to portray their knowledge with a skit.

As I thought about what I wanted to blog on, I reflected on many learning styles models. From Dr. Felder’s Index of Learning Styles to Dr. Kolb’s Learning Styles Model. But the model that made the biggest impact on me is Dr. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Theory. Before we get started with this week of, hopefully, fun and spirited discussion on this topic, I would like to have Dr. Gardner share a little bit on his thoughts on the use of technology given his framework in Multiple Intelligence Theory. Click the clip below to view an interview excerpt from Edutopia. Here is a link to the full article and interview: Big Thinkers: Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences


I would also like to introduce you to the eight intelligences I’ll be writing about. We probably see signs of these in ourselves and our students but have preferences for one or another based on our context in terms of our environment or what role we are in when we need to draw on our learning preference.

As you review these areas, do you see signs of preference for yourself and do these change depending on where you are or what role you are playing. For example, are you more prone to linguistic intelligence when you are taking a class or are you more kinesthetic when doing yard work. Or are these just stereotypes that, as we think about them, need to turn on their head! Do you really map out your yard before planting anything? Come on… you can tell me! Comment here…