Update on #oneword2024 #author

Tomorrow, I turn 49 years old and the past year for me has definitely been one "worth writing about." This past year, I lost over 77 pounds, took control of my health and fitness, became an ISTE Community Leader, an ASCD Emerging Leader, and ran my first playground session and more. I also became the mother of a college graduate and am about to add the mother of a newly graduated high school student to my list in early June. This was also a year where I took new risks as I told my story. I started writing for Edutopia and Edsurge and am working on my second solo book as I find the "just right" publisher to help me share my latest discoveries. Plus, keep an eye out on social media later this month for some super exciting news that I can't share yet, but  can't wait to celebrate soon!

I am super excited for the month of June. Like I said earlier, my daughter will graduate high school. But I am also thrilled to present my first preconference workshop at TCEA's Elementary Technology Conference. After that, I will be presenting virtually at the Education Expert Exchange and then traveling first to Nashville to present at the Innovative Schools Summit, followed immediately by heading to ISTE in Denver. In fact, at ISTE, I will be doing my very first IGNITE talk! 

"TRANSFORM: Techy Notes to Make Learning Sticky"  Featured on Class Tech Tips Blog

I was so excited to see that my book, TRANSFORM: Techy Notes to Make Learning Sticky was featured as one of the 12 Summer Books for Teachers Featuring Easy EdTech Podcast Guests this past week on May 15, 2024. Check out the post linked above and in the picture which includes my book and some other amazing books that she recommended.

TransformED: Amplifying Learning Using Tech Tools

Two weeks ago,  I focused on the importance of health and well-being. No, this is not an ISTE Standard, but it should be a standard that all educators value. Without our health, we can not be there to give our students what they need- us at our best selves. During this time of the year, it is easy to feel beat down and tired. In Virginia where I work, state testing had started and that in and of itself is exhausting. It was around this time last year when I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired.

This week, our focus will return back to the ISTE Standards and how we can transform and amplify learning using technology tools.  We will specifically focus on creativity this week. This is an area that I often advocate for and as the school year winds down, student engagement can be a struggle. It can be easy to go down the consumption route and have our students only consume using tech tools. But I urge any of you considering this to rethink this stance. This time of year is also a wonderful opportunity to integrate in more student-centered learning and promote creativity in your classroom. This week's focus will help you do just that.

Selecting Tech Tools That Promote Creativity

The ISTE Standard, Creative Communicator, shares that our students need to "communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals."  That can seem like a lot for any educator to digest, so one of the ways that I often break this concept down is by sharing how I use my 3 Cs of Creation to help educators to select technology tools that not only promote creativity, but also help their students to communicate their learning in a variety of ways. This framework links to CAST's Universal Design for Learning (UDL) since it gives our students multiple ways to share their learning as they focus on action and expression,

The first C is Choice. When you consider choice, you should think about what choices does the tech tool offer? Does the tech tool allow students to express themselves in more than one way?  Do students have the opportunity to share their learning in the way that best meet their needs? Tools that promote choice do that and often feature options like speech to text, audio, video, drawing tools, and more.

The second C is Collaborative. This C is often the one that scares educators. I know it used to scare me in the past. But it doesn't have to scare you. Yes, being a Global Collaborator is an ISTE Standard of its own, but to be a creative communicator, you need to be able to work with others. Does the tech tool give students the opportunity to work with each other? Can your students work in a shared project? Tools that promote collaboration do that and include options for more than one student to access a shared project.

The last C is Clickable. This C links to another topic I am passionate about- building digital learners. We need to help our students to become digital learners and using technology tools that are user-friendly does that. Consider if the tool you are using includes recognizable icons? Does it require your students to read or speak the language or can they use their knowledge of symbols to decipher its function. Tools that are clickable empower our students to build up their digital literacy skills and transfer those skills to emerging technologies as well.

How can I use these three 3  Cs to help me select technology tools to promote creativity?

Recommended Tech Tools for Creativity

There are many tools that I recommend to promote creativity based on the 3 Cs, but the three tools below are my top picks. I spend a lot of time examining tech tools and these recommendations are based on my experiences as a tech coach working with students. Two of these tools are paid products and as an educator, I understand how hard it is to fund tools and I have asked these vendors to provide my community with promotions to try them out. In all transparency, I do not work for either of these companies, but I do love how their product supports educators.

2. Book Creator: This tool is a great tool that you can use throughout your students' educational journey from Kindergarten all the way up to high school.  This tool is freemium, meaning you get certain features for free and other features like collaboration and unlimited books are part of the paid features.  If you want to try it out, use the code DEBBIEBC to get a six month premium upgrade. Why try Book Creator? To begin with, it is really easy to use and has recognizable icons. It also gives our students many options to share their learning including speech to text, text, translation, drawing tools, audio and video. Plus, with a Premium account, you can have your students collaborate in a shared project.

3. Some other free recommendations (Flip, Adobe Express, or Canva): My last set of recommendations are three free tools. Each of these tools offer the 3 Cs in a similar fashion and all of them are free!  The first tool is Microsoft Flip, previously known as Flipgrid. This tool offers our students many ways to share their thinking including drawing tools, text, audio, video, and images. It becomes collaborative when students listen and respond to each other. Plus. it is very user friendly. The second tool is Adobe Express, previously known as Adobe Spark. This tool has really come a long way in the past year. It includes similar features to the other tools, including text, drawing tools, audio and video. Like Wixie and Book Creator, it allows students to work in a shared product and it is relatively easy to use. The last tool is Canva. Canva is similar in many ways to Adobe Express. It includes options to use text, audio, video, and drawing tools. The one downside to these tools is that they do not offer speech to text or dictation.

Next Steps

Consider how you promote creativity in your role with your learners. How can you use the 3 Cs to better promote creativity in your educational settings? Which of these 3 Cs do you currently use and how could you incorporate these ideas in your practice?

A reminder and a huge thanks to Kyle Hill for hosting the Recharge Learning Virtual Bash that features 50 workshops and  is offering free access to everyone who reads my blog to the Bash until June 2024.  Click this link to join. Two of my sessions are included in this bash too.