My new word for technology integration is simplicity. If a tool is not simple, then I can’t concentrate as much on the learning because I end up spending too much time trying to understand the app and teaching my students to use it. The tool has to be intuitively simple.
Sometimes I come up with great ideas around technology integration but when I get into the thick of things in the classroom – it doesn’t always workout the way I had hoped. Despite my training and experience, I want to pull my hair out. This is usually because students don’t have the digital fluency they need to get to the intended outcome. They have trouble getting to the heart of the assignment because they are too hung up on the buttons, the bells and whistles and just learning how to use the app.
This is why I love Adobe Spark – it’s so simple and students can easily create thoughtful products without too much time spent on complicated steps or learning a new app. With Adobe Spark, students create and turn in truly meaningful products with little instruction and more time spent showing thinking understanding.
What is Adobe Spark? It is a suite of apps that includes three simple creation tools: Post, Page and Video. You can watch this short video for an overview.
Simplicity is the how Adobe Spark allows students to create amazing artifacts of learning. All they have to do is combine text, videos, graphics and add music to create learning centered products.
Since I now rely on only a small arsenal of apps that I find help bring purposeful learning to my classroom, I look for apps that allow me to easily amplify already good pedagogy – and here is how I use this Adobe Spark.
- Thinking Summaries – Have students gather a few artifacts from the learning and narrate their ideas and their thinking to show learning and as a formative assessment tool.
- Character Profiles – have students create a short video around a character in a story or book. Even a historical figure would work here. Have them document how the characters changes over time.
- Mini Documentaries – Students can easily create quick historical documentaries that can be shared on a class blog or YouTube channel. Gathers some great historical pics, write the script and voilà a mini-documentary.
- Practicing a Foreign Language – Students can gather pictures of a city or just about anything and then describe it the target language they are learning to practice both their accent and forming sentences.
- All About Me – as students get to know each other – and the parents to – they can create all about me videos to share with each other at the beginning of the year. End of the year – have them share “All About This Class” videos to share next years class with learning tips and highlights of the year.
- Class Weekly Learning Summary Pages – Parents always want to know what’s happening in class.You can assign a different student each week to either make a page or video of the topics covered in class. Share those with parents and the community using your school hashtag.
- Reflection and Thinking Pages – at the end of the unit, have students prepare a recap of the learning that happened. They can comment on their own strengths and weaknesses and what aspects they might want to add to their next assignment.
- Field Trip Page – A great way to capture learning is to have students create both a video and page about a field trip. At the end of the year you can show all the great things you did that year and show the next years class what they can expect to learn.
- Creative Resume – Older students should use page to create a résumé to showcase their learning and academic achievements.
- Math and Science Application Videos – One of my biggest pet pieces about my math experience is that I learned to solve equations like the quadratic equation but never learned what it solved. Have students show using video the process of solving the problem – tutorial style and then go out in the field and show how this is applied in real life – POWERFUL!