|Try demonstrating how to do this by writing an essay!|
I don't believe that textbooks are, in my words in the Twitter chat, "the spawn of Satan". I think that using the textbook as THE curriculum is problematic, however. Textbooks are and should be on the decline in our digital world. Online textbooks are cheaper and more readily available. When I was still in the classroom, if a principal told me that my textbooks would be taken away, I would have been able to survive. There are tons of resources, free and paid, available to educators. I love creating my own content and activities. It takes time and can be frustrating at times, but in the end, it is so much better for students when you can tailor activities for them, rather than relying on a teacher's edition or a workbook that came with the text.
Here is a short list of some of my (current) favorite programs for creating and getting away from the textbook and worksheet.
Adobe Spark: When I was in the classroom, this program was known as Adobe Voice (for the video side of the program). In the spring of 2016, Adobe revamped Voice, renaming it Video, and incorporated two other programs, Page and Post, under the Adobe Spark brand. This is currently my most favorite program. If I want to make a short video quickly, Video allows me to incorporate text, pictures, short video clips, art, sound, and voiceovers to make a high-quality video. Each year, I honor men's health during No Shave November; this year, I documented my beard growth and created a video using Adobe Spark Video. You can see my video here.
Page allows you to make simple, yet beautiful, web graphics. You can create pages with images, text, captions, "glideshows", and buttons to outside sites. For my 5-year-old's 5th birthday in November, we went to Disneyland. I created a simple, quick, but still stunning, Spark Page documenting our trip to Disneyland. Check out my creation here.
Lastly, Adobe Spark Post helps you create beautiful graphics for social media posts. Images, text, and themes can help you to make high-quality graphics reminiscent of the graphic cards, memes, motivational quotes, and other images that make their rounds on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social media platforms. To promote CUE-NV's Tech Fest on January 28th in Minden, NV (about 45 or so south of Reno, register here!), I created this announcement using Post.
Canva: Canva is similar to Adobe Spark Post in its functions, but it has many more templates and editing features. Some examples of the templates available in Canva include social media posts, cards, posters, magazine covers, and resumes, so it's not just limited to strictly graphics. I used Canva to design my business cards. The process was very easy and I was able to save the files as .pdf to upload to Staples' website for my order. Check out my designs for the front and back of my business card.
|Another graphic I created in Canva. This song lyric really spoke to me earlier this week,|
essentially telling me that you are going to have struggles, but in the end, you'll be fine
if you just push on through.
Google Slides: If you are reading this, I'm sure that you are a user of Google Slides, if not, Microsoft PowerPoint or Keynote. Slides is not just a program for putting together a set of slides for a presentation. So many other things can be done with Google Slides! You can create storyboards, magazines, social media type posts, and so much more by tweaking the standard settings of Google Slides, such as customizing the page setup, setting backgrounds for slides (either individual or by setting a master slide), and using the insert functions on blank slides to make it completely your own for whatever you may want to do. My buddy Ryan O'Donnell has graciously shared tons of ideas and templates for creative ways to use Google Slides. Head over to his website, www.creativeedtech.com, and click on the Templates button to get inspired!
Taking a page out of Jon Corippo and Susan Stewart's book (check out their list of great tools here), I want to compile a list of great resources that teachers use. Please take a moment to complete the form below and add the amazing tools that you use with your students, staff, families, and community.
I will share the results of the form in a later post. I cannot wait to see what everybody has to share! Until next time...