Ratatouille

  

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What they say...

"An outstanding product with a broad range of curriculum applications. The visual nature of this software will prove very valuable in assisting my students to organise their thinking." Garry Chapman, Assistant Director of Curriculum, Ivanhoe Grammar School.

"It's not just for lawyers. Argument mapping is such a fundamental skill in business." Simon Uthmeyer, Partner, Phillips Fox Lawyers 

"I am very impressed with Rationale as a tool to assist students in improving the structure of their analytical essays... Rationale greatly assists our staff in implementing the higher order thinking skills that are essential to improving student learning."  Catherine O'Kane, St Rita's College

"Austhink's argument mapping techniques have enhanced DSE's policy capability by improving the logic with which we tackle the sustainability policy task." Scott Rawlings, Principal Analyst, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria

"Once they start to see this as a normal, natural way to think through their essay plan, the quality of their essays jumps noticeably. Students who were baffled at first start to feel that they really can do this stuff. That's magic." Mark Matcott, Lilydale High School

Dear Critical Thinker,

Welcome to Ratatouille, a monthly serve of RationaleTM news and tips.

What the reviewers say 

Rationale has been having some favourable reviews. Most recently, James Fallows in The Atlantic Monthly declared it "an especially ambitious new offering" in the world of thinking tools. Meanwhile Hash at Sorted discovered that 'argument mapping turns out to be fun', and produced a great beginners guide to Rationale in the process.


Teaching the world to reason 

Rationale is being used throughout the world as a learning and teaching tool to improve higher order thinking skills. Schools, colleges and universities as far spread as the UK, USA, Netherlands, Cyprus and of course Australia have been getting down to some serious (and fun) activities to build critical thinking skills. The favourite features are the basis boxes to show evidence, the essay planner to aid essay structure and the on-line exercises.

Recent Australian converts include Geelong Grammar School, Scotch College, Melbourne High School, Bendigo Senior Secondary College and Glen Waverley Secondary College. In the Netherlands, the Hogeschool Utrecht is rolling out Rationale following a successful pilot program indicating very good gains on an objective critical thinking test. Well done Timo and co at the Utrecht!

See who else is using Rationale


In Business

Austhink ConsultingOur sister company Austhink Consulting has also been busy, as businesses, government departments and law firms become more aware of argument mapping. Current projects employing Rationale include:

  • Policy logic for the Department of Sustainability and Environment
  • Submission strengthening for the ANZ Bank
  • Proposal winning for Rio Tinto
  • Decision analysis for the Australian Army
  • Training for analysts in the Australian Taxation Office and other government organisations
  • Legal argument mapping training for major law firms

If you want to know how Austhink Consulting might help your organisation contact Jane Lewis on 061 (3) 9348 1013 or email jml@austhink.com


Software Updates

v1.3.4 is now available for download 

New features include:

  • Map references - quickly pinpoint and communicate key claims in large maps
  • Evaluations in text outline - argument evaluation indicators now appear in text outline
  • Scratchpad text save - all text in the scratchpad is saved with your Rationale file
  • Visibility Dimmer for layout options - adjust the visibility of the map when using 'show path' or 'show context' 


New Trial Period 

Has your trial period expired? Want to try-a-bit-more before you buy? Here are two ways to extend your trial period.

  • If you're still using v1.2, download v1.3 and you'll automatically get a new 14day trial period.
  • Contact us and tell us why you desperately need a longer trial period.

User Tips

Bold Text: 

Did you know that you can use bold text in your Rationale maps? Make your text stand-out by placing it in between two asterisks *like so*. Use this feature to create headings, or to highlight entire claims.

Bold

Background Image:

You can also set an image as the background to your map. Go to the 'Output' tab, click 'From File' and select your image. You can  then alter the transparency of the image to create the best visual effect.

Background image


Rationale Wiki 

Rationale Stuff, the wiki for everything Rationale related, is up and running. A number of users have already contributed maps, resources and examples covering everything from legal, philosophical and personal issues, to literature, history and economics.

If you would like to contribute to the wiki, just contact us and we'll send you the password.


Best of the Blogs

The most popular post on Tim van Gelder's Rationale Thoughts blog has been Critical Thinking - Where to Start? - a guide to the best books on critical thinking.  


Rumours from the tech-rom

Those hard-working nerds in the tech-room are a tight-lipped bunch, but our sources say we can look forward to the following in v1.4:

  • Add images to maps.
  • Drag an image directly off the web and onto the workspace.
  • Faster web browsing in the Explorer Pane.


As always, if you have any thoughts or suggestions, please let us know.

Sincerely,

--The Team at Austhink Software

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