By ETT Instructor Shawn O’Neill
After spending 24 years in the elementary classroom, and now working with higher ed students to help prepare them for classrooms of their own, I often get asked questions about how to create a classroom that makes all learners feel safe, confident and engaged. Recently I was asked the question, “What helps to create a positive, equitable learning environment”, and the first thing that came to my mind was allowing our students, no matter the age or grade level, voice and choice. But what is voice and choice and what does that look like?
When we allow our students to express themselves creatively and make choices about their learning, we are giving them a voice in their education. Students have an opportunity to have a say in their learning, rather than being told exactly what they need to produce. This freedom, or choice, not only helps students to become more motivated and engaged, it also reduces anxiety and raises confidence.
Okay, but how do we do this? One of the easiest ways to allow your students voice and choice in the classroom is to provide them with a variety of choices that gives students the opportunity to express their learning in a way that allows them to feel successful. With all of the advances in technology that we’ve seen over the past couple of years, allowing students to create their work digitally seems to be a no brainer. Cue Adobe Express!
Adobe Express is a free, user-friendly platform that allows students (and teachers too!) the opportunity to express themselves digitally. Adobe Express has thousands, yes, thousands, of templates that students can rework and customize to suit their needs. Imagine letting our students create an infographic instead of a physical posterboard, an online book report, rather than having to hand write everything. Imagine using digital tools to design a book cover, poster or travel brochure using the countless tools that Adobe Express provides. Adobe Express allows students to create graphics, videos, presentations, webpages and even become digital storytellers using the narration features offered on the platform. Not only is Adobe Express easy to use and visually appealing, it encourages students to be creative! (Check out Adobe Express in the Classroom: Adobe Education Exchange for high quality tutorials and resources…)
In this ever changing world, we need to equip our students with the digital literacy skills that they will need to become successful adults. We can start in elementary schools with simple digital tools, like Adobe Express, that allow our students to become confident, motivated and creative learners.
Be sure to join me this summer for EdTechTeacher’s Summer Workshops. “Digital Creativity with Adobe Express” will be offered, along with 14 other exciting classes to help you easily and seamlessly incorporate ed tech into your classroom. All fifteen workshops will be offered for one low price and recordings will be available if you are not able to join us live!