Building Student Creators

Idea Creative Creativity Imgination Innovate Thinking Concept

The ability to communicate ideas and thinking in effective ways is highly prized in the modern workplace. This  can involve creating visual, text-based, or aural representations, and can include all three in interactive formats. Think digital flyers, project reports, social media, and other work that requires creative thinking and skills to deliver a message. See the Creative Communicator section on the ISTE Standards for Students page for more specifics about the skills students need in this area.

Cultivating these skills is not always easy for time-strapped teachers operating within defined curriculum, but there are some simple ways to build these into activities that can also boost core learning outcomes. Here are a couple to consider:

  1. Ask students to use Autodraw to represent a concept or model thinking. Use the autodraw feature, free draw, shapes, and/or text to create in ways that force students to grapple with your content and creatively show understanding. (other options include Google Drawings templates, or inserting a Pear Deck drawing activity in Google Slides)
  2. Use Screencastify to record a how-to, a message, an explanation, or something else. Students can save it to Google Drive and embed it in a Google Slide or share it by link. See this screencast guide for tips and ideas for teachers and students alike.
  3. Extra bonus: combine these elements in one place by copying, saving, embedding, linking, or other means. See this published Google Slide that includes an image from Autodraw, video from Screencastify, and a link made in Slides. It is by no means a great example, but not bad for 15 minutes of work.

As with any tech-based activity, these will have the most impact when students receive feedback (peer or teacher), verbalize their thinking (turn and talk), and work in authentic tasks (a local company…). While that’s not so easy, it is achievable, and guiding students to create and communicate with these modern tools will help them build towards the expectations that await them.

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