Providing opportunities for students to make and create is essential in 21st-century classrooms. Children of all ages should experience the joy of seeing their work shared and celebrated. Classrooms with access to a variety of different tools have plenty of tech tool options.
Are you a BYOD classroom? BYOD (bring your own device) is the term for schools that allow students to use a personal device as a learning tool. Some BYOD schools have clear policies for how devices must be used in a classroom. They might even have a list of approved devices and apps. Other BYOD schools offer a large amount of flexibility for students and families.
The following list is designed as a starter guide for teachers looking to turn their students into creators. My advice is to choose one tool that piques your interest. That tool should be appropriate for elevating or energizing an activity connected to your learning goals for students.
After you've picked a favorite, play around with it -- just for fun. Get familiar with the tool by making an invitation for a barbecue or creating a flyer for a garage sale. Then create an exemplar for a class project or activity. This should be something shared with students to help them envision a final product.
So let's dive into my list of those must-have creation tools!
At ISTE earlier this year, I had the chance to connect with the folks at Seesaw as well as meet several Seesaw Ambassadors. If you haven’t heard of Seesaw, it's a fantastic tool that lets students capture their thinking. I've included it on our creation tools list because Seesaw lets students take pictures, create screencasts, and write about what they've learned. Their creations are shared with teachers, families, and fellow students. Seesaw lets kids take two-dimensional activities on a piece of paper and bring them to life by annotating a snapshot and recording their thinking.
Adobe Spark is really a collection of three creation tools. You can access all three on a web browser or download the iPad apps individually. Spark Video lets kids create a video by narrating a series of slides. Each slide can have text, images, or icons to get their message across. Spark Page lets students create a web page, and Spark Post is a tool for designing images. One of my favorite features of Adobe Spark is how it cites images used from Creative Commons searches from within the platform.
This canvas-based tool gives students access to a dynamic creation platform. Students can use eduBuncee to tell stories and create for an audience. They can drag and drop content into different spaces on their page and even work collaboratively to design something with a partner. You might have students create eduBuncees to share information about a historical figure they're studying or for a special event like Earth Day.
Drawp for School
With Drawp for School, students can use a variety of digital creation tools to make a shareable product. Teachers send assignments to students, who then design colorful creations that capture their voice. Drawp for School is perfect for teachers who want a clear picture of what their students understand.
When students are creating in the classroom, it's important to give their work an audience. A blog is a great way to do this, which is why KidBlog is such a popular option for teachers across the country. You might have students draft a few blog posts and publish one over the course of the month. You might want students to get into the routine of posting a short paragraph every day in response to a prompt. This is a tool that you can use on a variety of devices for a variety of purposes.
Google Drive could be counted a few times since it's made up of a few different tools. What I love about Google Drive is its collaborative options. Students can work together whether they're sitting next to each other or a world away. Google Docs is a word processing tool that kids can use to compose any type of writing. Google Slides is a presentation tool with options for themes and customizations.
When I speak to teachers about creation tools, I always say, "Tasks before apps." In other words, make sure that you put the learning goals front and center! As you dive into these tools, always have clear expectations for students, a plan for sharing final products, and resources for students who need additional support.
If you've used these creation tools, or if you have another to add to the list, share your experiences and favorites in the comments below.