Identity Accelerator #6: Present Yourself Using a Digital Postermkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching
Full credit to one of my Master of Education students, Nazreen Beaulieu, for telling me about this one! I learn so much from my students.
The idea is to ask students to create a digital poster that incorporates 10 adjectives that they would use to describe themselves. The title of the poster is “I am . . .” The students are also encouraged to use a metaphor such as “life is a dance”, or “life is a rollercoaster”. The images, videos, sounds, and animations that the students choose correspond to the adjectives and should fit into the chosen theme.
By asking the students to express themselves in this way, they share conceptions of themselves. They can express their sense of humour, creativity, emotional states, and interests.
This activity can be used as an icebreaker to facilitate community development.
Primarily working via a learning management system, I find that it is easier to do this asynchronously. The students can take a few days to learn the software and compose their posters. The instructor and students can share links to their digital posters (or upload if sufficient bandwidth). Then, they can comment on each others’ posters in a text discussion. Nazreen’s class used VoiceThread (http://voicethread.com/) to comment on each other’s posters. This allowed them to listen to each other rather than simply relying on text.
It is possible for the students to share their digital posters synchronously. Then, you can bring them together in a synchronous discussion area (Adobe Connect, Big Blue Button, Blackboard Collaborate, etc.) to discuss their impressions of each others’ posters.
Preparation & instructions
- Provide a list of adjectives to the students and ask them to select 10 that they feel describe who they are.
- Provide a list of metaphors or themes and/or ask the student to think of an activity that they like to do. Ask them to choose a theme.
- Tell the students to search through their own pictures and videos to see if they have some media that correspond to their adjectives and theme. (Depending on the age of the students, be aware of privacy issues.)
- Depending on the software, the students may need to use a search engine to find copyright-free content for their poster. The Glogster app has a built-in browser; other tools may also have built in search tools.
- Depending on the whichever app or software being used, the students can import, link, and arrange their content. They can choose visual themes, etc.
- It is important to find an easy-to-use app or software program that students can learn quickly and easily. Nazreen suggested Glogster (available through iTunes), for example. See: http://www.glogster.com/. Nazreen also suggested finding tools on this wiki: http://cooltoolsforschools.wikispaces.com/Home
- Students’ ages and technical expertise may require the instructor to be more or less involved in helping the students use the chosen software. For this reason, it is helpful for the instructor to be familiar with the software. In fact, when working with students who are less comfortable with the technology, it is highly recommended that the instructor create their own digital poster in order to
- Familiarize him/herself with the software
- Demonstrate the idea of “theme”
- Demonstrate how to choose adjectives
- Discuss the idea of choosing content that corresponds to adjectives
- Provide technical and, possibly, artistic advice to the students.
- When working with students who are more comfortable with technology, the instructor can open the floodgates and allow the students to use whichever software or app they wish. Nazreen found that her Grade 10-12 students introduced her to a large variety of tools. She commented, “It’s remarkable how much more the students know than we do.”
- Set time limits and due dates for sharing posters.
- Guide the sharing and discussion of students’ digital posters; maintain a safe environment to share ideas.
- Ensure instructions or help are available to the students.
According to Nazreen, there are some advantages and disadvantages to the use of digital posters (face-to-face environment):
“I taught mostly synchronous high school classes and a big motivator was turning the whiteboard over to the students for the opening 10 minutes of class. Some doodled, some shared memes while other just chatted. Having access to the whiteboard gave them a sense of ownership though that I think was important not only to build community but also to keep them engaged.”
“Bandwidth always proved to be a nagging culprit and resistor to equality. For those with high-speed internet, audio and video led to the creation of some awesome vines embedded in their glogs while others had to make do with just pictures.”
I haven’t tried this yet, but I would love to!
Note: for an introduction to identity accelerators for online teaching and learning visit this entry.