Powerful tools for teaching and learning: Web 2.0 tools | Week 3

This week’s focus was on creativity tasks and tools. The course facilitators spoke about how creativity is an important 21st century skill and that research suggests that there are long term positive benefits of fostering creativity such as the fact that creative people are more likely to get promoted, be satisfied with their jobs, be in better physical health and be more resilient.

creativity

As usual, the course recommends that Ts understand the nature of the task to select an effective tool and they offered a creativity continuum to do this.

word <-> visual <-> visual + word + sound

  • Word: Being creative with words such as using Visuwords to graphically show the relationship of a word to other words. Wordle create word clouds and Tagxedo allows you to create word images in different shapes. These tools are useful when you want your learners to be creatively engaged with words.
  • Visual: Students look at given pictures or collect pictures in bookr and use these as prompts to write stories which finally converted into a digital book. Sketchpad allows users to create sketches and drawings. Graffiti Creator lets Ss create text that looks like graffiti.
  • Visual + word + sound: Ss can use WeVideo to select pictures, text, video and audio clips to create a digital story. Alice allows users to learn computer programming in a 3D environment. StoryJumper lets Ss create stories in a comic-book style/format.

Using creativity tools to learn programming

Hour of Code is celebrated in classrooms every year to get Ss to see the creative side of computer programming but most Ss are usually not interested. Ss feel disengaged because they can’t visualize and hear the code which just remains lines of boring text of them. Scratch allows Ss to understand the basic concepts of programming by using ‘code building blocks’. As Ss select new pieces of code, there are changes to the object that they are programming. A similar tool is Squeakland which can be used for creative and critical thinking skills for programming through visuals, sounds and words.

  • Realtime Board: A shared whiteboard where you add can ideas, images and videos. Manage group projects and creative contributions – as an alternative to post-its.
  • Simple booklet: Ss select a layout template and add media to create an online booklet. It could be used for student-centred instructional strategy as an alternative to rote-learning and promote collaborative and deep learning. For example, a history class that’s learning about the US constitution.
  • Magisto: It turns video clips and photos into edited movies quickly. Review concepts and terms by getting Ss to create a music video where lyrics draw on study material.
  • Evernote: A tool for taking and organizing notes including stuff from the web. Here’s an example.
  • Thinglink: Creative interactive images – designed for classroom use so – Ss login IDs can be nested under the teacher. Here’s an example.
  • WeVideo: A cloud-based video editing tool. Ss can upload media from their computers or from cloud storage and edit these in a number of modes. Here’s an example.

The tools for exploration this week include:

My picks are Tagul which creates really nifty word clouds and Playir which seems to have some engaging features.

This week’s reading

Here’s one more video based on Chickering & Gamson’s principles specifically encouraging active learning. The video’s creators list a series of responses from educators: rewards & peer pressure, practical problems, assessments, academic rigour and feedback, games and fun, pacing Ss with quizzes, respect, building community through group discussions and posing challenging questions. They summarized these responses an androgogical approach to engaging Ss and relating content to real lives.

Finally, here’s a video about a primary school teacher who used free cloud-based apps to get Ss to work on creative digital projects for an authentic audience.

Image attribution: Flickr | Creativity is Not Device Dependent by eliztesch | CC by 2.0

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