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.”
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.
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.
- ComicBook! (It is an app through the iTunes store)