By David J. Rosen

If your students are preparing for, or heading toward an Adult Secondary Education credential such as the GED®, TASC® or HiSET® they probably need to learn more science. If you teach science and you haven’t yet reviewed the TED-Ed video, “Deep Ocean Mysteries,”  it’s a short, highly engaging and informative introduction to oceanography. I also recommend the TED-Ed video on how to use science videos by Derek Muller. Following Muller’s advice, I suggest, when showing science videos in your class, that you start with students’ current concepts/ideas/knowledge/understandings about the topic they will be viewing in the video; then re-visit those concepts/ideas (for example, written on a chalkboard, flipchart or whiteboard) to discuss the differences in perceptions after students have viewed the video.

One way to re-visit the students’ ideas is a free, easy-to-learn computer app called Coggle. With it, you — and/or your students — can easily create branching categories of information or knowledge (“mind maps”). For example, using Coggle, in just a few minutes and having never used this free software before, I created a Coggle based on what I think can be learned in the “Deep Ocean Mysteries” video.

Coggle Mind Map

If you have Internet access in your classroom, a computer, and a multimedia projector (of course not everyone does have these) you and your students could create your own Coggle mind map after looking at an informative video as a way to organize and reinforce what students have learned from the video. If you have time, you could show the video a second time and ask, “Did we miss anything that should be added to our mind map?”

If students have access to a computer and Internet outside class they could (individually, in pairs, or in small groups) create Coggles of other science videos – or other videos, screen capture videos, slide presentations, audio lectures or other presentations that you watch or listen to together, and they could then present these mind maps in class.

Have you used Coggle in this way or in other ways? If it has been useful, how you have used it? Please let me know what you think by email or leave a comment below. Of course, it would be possible to do this kind of “mind map” on a chalkboard, flipchart or whiteboard without using technology, but it’s easy, fun and free to use Coggle, and you can save your Coggle and re-use it when you show the video to a new group of students.

David J. Rosen is the President of Newsome Associates in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. He is the editor of the COABE journal Web Scan column, a long-time active contributor to the LINCS Technology and Learning community of practice, and the author of the Adult Literacy Education blog He can be reached at

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