Ready. Set. Create: A Guide to Quick Student Creativity

A running track with clouds in the distance.

Teachers are encouraged to incorporate the 4Cs into instruction. This is especially so for creativity. Students need to flex their creativity muscles but this can be challenging for teachers. Creativity is often associated with long-term projects. Projects can be difficult for teachers for many reasons including:

  • Project management
  • Creating rubrics and grading with them
  • Giving effective feedback.

The good news is that technology enables teachers to give students bite-sized opportunities to use creativity. This post details tools and ways teachers can use quick student creativity that:

  • Are web-based
  • Meant for a single lesson
  • Give students opportunities to learn and to demonstrate learning
  • Are easy to assess

Audio and Video

While students can engage in long-term audio and video projects with apps such as Soundtrap and WeVideo, they can also quickly create audio and video in small sizes. For instance, students can quickly create audio files in Online Voice Recorder. Better yet, students can use Vocaroo which generates a sharing URL they can use to share with classmates as their response to a prompt in a Google Classroom question.

There are two ways students can quickly create video. One is Flipgrid, a free app teachers can use to have students use video to reply to a prompt and view peers’ responses. Students can also use Screencastify to quickly record themselves or their screens. They can quickly share their recording in a Google Classroom assignment or question using the Google Drive link Screencastify generates.

Drawing

The research on the value of drawing for learning is compelling.

Google has three apps for drawing that are very useful. Please note that none of these are Google Drawings:

Autodraw

Autodraw is a Google AI Experiment that helps those who struggle to draw with its predictive drawing. Have a look at something I created with it:

World War 1 Peace Movement (Created with Autodraw)
World War I Peace Movement in the US created by Tom Mullaney in Autodraw

To learn more about using Autodraw, please watch this video.

Chrome Canvas

Chrome Canvas is Google’s web-based sketching app. With layers, transparent backgrounds, and sketching tools that include a pencil and chalk, Canvas is a great app for generating artistic masterpieces such as my Schlieffen Plan drawing:

The Schlieffen Plan Drawn by Tom Mullaney in Chrome Canvas
The Schlieffen Plan Drawn by Tom Mullaney in Chrome Canvas.

To learn more about using Chrome Canvas, please watch these brief videos.

Jamboard

Jamboard is Google’s freeform collaboration app. It has drawing tools and sticky notes that make it a little similar to Padlet. Jamboard also has real-time collaboration, saves to Google Drive, and has perfect Google Classroom integration. Have a look at how I documented the main causes of World War I with Jamboard:

World War War I Long Term Causes Jamboard Jam
World War War I Long Term Causes Jamboard Jam by Tom Mullaney

To learn more about using Jamboard please visit my Jamboard resources page.

What Can Students Draw in Class?

There are so many ways students can use drawing in class. Here are some examples:

  • A part of the Water Cycle
  • Commutative Property of Multiplication
  • The slope of a line
  • Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and/or the resolution of a novel
  • Sheet music
  • State and country boundaries
  • Illustrate a vocabulary term or foreign language term
  • Draw a diagram
  • Dance choreography
  • Storyboard a scene from a novel or play
  • Draw a system of the body
  • Draw a recipe

The Right App for The Job

Autodraw, Chrome Canvas, and Jamboard are great apps but how do teachers determine which to use? As students become comfortable drawing digitally, have them choose which app they want. Having said that, to learn more about Autodraw, Canvas, and Jamboard (Google Keep too), read my blog post, Comparing and Contrasting Google’s Actual Drawing Apps. Then, consider classroom need and use the corresponding app:

Remixer – One Website. So Much Creativity

Remixer is a wonderful site for students to quickly create. It is especially valuable that the site allows very limited text. This forces students to practice being concise. Students can write postcards from historical figures with Remixer’s postcard tool.

  • I have an ultimatum. You have 48 hours.
  • You have a blank check.
  • Let's invade France through Belgium
  • Peace. Land. Bread.
  • We're playing pin the blame on Germany.
  • The League of Nations will Prevent Another World War

Students can quickly create cards to help them learn and study with Remixer’s trading card tool.

  • Franz Ferdinand of Austria killed in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip.
  • Germany - Built German Navy. Gave "Blank Check" to Austria-Hungary.
  • Used to drum up public support for the war and enlist soldiers.
  • The Big 4 Treaty of Versailles War Guilt Cause blames Germany.
  • US President - Campaign on staying out of World War I. League of Nations failure.

Students can be creative with constraints using Remixer’s element square tool. To display the main causes of World War I, I used emojis from getemoji.com to be creative with these squares.

  • Mi - Militarism
  • Alliances
  • Im - Imperialism
  • Na - Nationalism
  • IA - International Anarchy
  • Cu - Cultural War Beliefs

For more information about Remixer, please read my blog post, Quick Student Creativity with Remixer.

What do you think? How do you get students quickly creating the classroom? Please comment below or tweet me, @TomEMullaney.

Does your school, organization, or conference need professional development to help teachers make the most of quick student creativity? Have a look at some of my offerings and connect with me on Twitter.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

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