For most teachers starting out in the profession, the desire for control is strong. Management is a primary concern – and understandably so. As the gate-keepers of knowledge, we feel the need to disseminate content as outlined in our scope and sequences. Our students become consumers of knowledge.
But what do we lose when we make all the decisions for kids? What can we gain when we let them take ownership of their own learning?
One way to give students agency over their learning – and in turn, allow students to think more deeply and critically about content, while also increasing engagement – is to allow for students to create.
Here are a few tech tools to help you bring a little creativity back into your classroom – the way you always imagined you would as a teacher.
A ThingLink is an interactive image, where students put ‘hotspots’ (buttons) on top of a large background image. Text, video, pictures, and links can all be placed as hotspots.The variety of hotspots allows for students to include additional information about a topic, or for them to input their own thoughts and opinions.
Analyzing a photograph? Try asking students to add their “see, think, wonder” statements on top of the image.
Researching important historical figures? Include links to biographies, videos, and famous photographs on top of their mug shot.
Coding is not just about writing <things in brackets> and staring at computer screens all day. The real genius of coding is how it reinforces problem-solving through a creative outlet.
Scratch is an excellent program for students of any age. Use it with any subject to push students to construct new knowledge from their classes. In English, have students create stories with dialogue. In Math, ask students to create concentric circles. In Social Studies, ask students to recreate major historical events. In Science, ask students to demonstrate physical laws. Whatever your task, ask students to share and remix one another’s work.
VoiceThread is an incredible tool that can be used with as much – or as little – complexity as desired. This collaborative platform allows students to create multi-media projects with video, audio, and text, and to share it with the rest of the class. It even allows students to interact with one another through multi-media commenting.
Education-related resources, rubrics, and examples can be found across the web.
Storytelling is an innately creative activity, and Pixton allows students to create and share their stories as comics. The design studio is easy and intuitive for students to navigate, allowing students to combine text and images into a fluid story.
Arts-integration can be difficult for some subjects. If you’ve wanted to include more creativity in your social studies or science classes, Pixton can be a fantastic way for students to demonstrate their knowledge of any topic.
What other tools are teachers using to bring creativity into the classroom?