Digital Tools to Spice up Your Teaching

I never have been one that has been overly good at developing digital products, but this class (ENG 361: Literacy in the Digital Age) has opened me up to a whole new world of possibilities. Possibilities that will come in handy as I prepare to go out into the world and start my career in the field of teaching. This week we explored digital technology tools that can help us create visuals and graphics to help our students learn better. While, I was going through some of the more popular resources, several of them I recognized as resources and tools that I used in my middle school and high school classes.

The one that I was most familiar with was Bitstrips.com, for I had to use it several times (although at the time it seemed like it was hundreds of times) throughout a semester in my physics class. I will say, while this resource doesn’t get a lot of love, I think it is a great way for kids to learn how to develop basic comic strips using a free educational platform.

Going over the rest of the resources, I noticed that with most things that involve technology, there was a noticeable learning curve to it. There were several times on cites like Piktochart that in the beginning I had no idea what I was doing. It took me a while before I was able to maneuver through the resource halfway effectively. I think the biggest thing to keep in mind while you are trying new digital resources is to be patient, there is always a learning curve to new tools. Besides being patient with yourself and the technology, try to keep an open mind. You never know where that open mind can take you. You should always be willing to try something new and scary!

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

As I said, the most challenging part for me this week was simply figuring out how to maneuver around the resources, but once I was able to figure out the basic functions of the tool, I was able to create just about anything I thought of. For my digital technology this week, I decided to keep it simple and create a poster that I can now hang up in my room or around the dorms as a motivational piece. In doing so, I limited the information and data that I put on the poster and kept it rather simply. I used Canva, and I actually really loved working with it! I plan to use it a lot not only for my future classes that I will teach, but also for my painting business that I run.

You are Loved For God so loved the world that he gave his one and o...

It will come in handy for creating posters, ads, and flyers to post around my hometown. As for how I will use these in the classroom, I think that I will mainly use these as motivational posters or informational boards to help decorate my classroom. That way when a student’s eyes and mind begin to wonder, they may stumble across something of mindful and educational value in my classroom.

Lastly, I honestly do believe that there is a real benefit in creating visually appealing pieces of digital work. Look at today’s marketing field in the world of business and how everything continues to develop in visually appealing ways. It is because they know that if they want to sell their product and make money they need to draw people in.  On top of that, in today’s world most people aren’t going to give them the time of day if their advertisement doesn’t draw them in and keep their attention there. Consider your students in the same light. If you just throw some boring information on a PowerPoint or worse the chalkboard, they are more than likely going to quickly begin to mentally tune out. It is all about drawing them in and keeping them there while you teach your lesson. The longer they tune in, the longer their brains can obtain and retain the information that you are trying to teach.

Here are a couple of tools to try for yourself.

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9 Comments

  1. Great post I was in the same boat as you with just needing to figure out the basics and how it worked and where everything was. I like how you talk about making things for your classroom to keep even those wondering eyes engaged.

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  2. I have learned so much throughout this course as well! The picture you made looks as if it came straight from Pinterest, haha. This is a huge compliment on it by the way! I think webpages like Canva can be used in classrooms in many ways. In addition to making creative and motivational decorations, a teacher can use this as a creative and fun addition to a lesson. For example, after teaching students about the stars and galaxies, they can make a piece using a photo and adding their favorite quote or piece of information about the subject. I also was interested in your statement about your painting business. Do you create your own pieces or just sell others? I have created many pieces and use Etsy as my source in selling the works.

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    1. Thank you! That hadn’t even occurred to me, but now that I look at it again I see what you mean! My painting business is for painting exterior and/or interior of residential homes. It’s not a glamorous job but it helps pay for school. I wish I was talented enough to paint a work of art and sell it!

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      1. You’re welcome! That doesn’t sound aweful! I love painting of all sorts. It’s important to do whatever you can to pay for school. We share a common aspect in that sense. The money from my art work is used for the same purpose!

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  3. Great Post! Of course to every new thing there is a learning curve. This is why it is our responsibility as teachers to work with these tools ourselves so we can help our students in using these tools. I loved working with Canva and will definitely use it in my future classroom as well. i had some issues with the formatting of pictures, did you run into any problems? I also love that quote.

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