tools-for-student-centered-creative-expression10 Tools For Student-Centered Creative Expression

by Mike Acedo

In my last article, I discussed the inherent benefits of using digital images in the classroom, including strategies in which teachers can use them to promote student thought and performance.

With technological revolution infiltrating classrooms across the country, teachers must be on top of their game when faced with students whose attention spans are limited to the length of a twitter update or Instagram post.

Fortunately for those beleaguered teachers, hope is not lost. There happens to be a plentiful bounty of tools and resources that teachers can utilize to reign in wandering minds. Many of these tools are free and easy to use, making it even more convenient for teachers to close the digital gap.

As discussed in my previous article, images can be a very useful tool in promoting student growth and achievement. By using images in the classrooms, students and teachers have the opportunity to use visual representations of class materials, insight thoughtful discussions, and enable digital story telling.

Truth be told, images can be used in an infinite amount of ways that allow students to exercise their creativity and critical thinking skills. And because students necessarily create things with digital images, the resulting creative expression is inherently student-centered.

Unless you muck it up with an overly-rigid rubric that strangles the creativity right back out of it.

10 Of The Best Technology Tools To Work With Digital Images In The Classroom

  1. Glogster

Glogster EDU is a global education platform that allows students and educators to create interactive online posters that include text, photos, videos, graphics, sounds and much more.

Students and teachers have the opportunity to use Glogster as a vessel for creative thought, critical thinking, and problem solving by using images and other media to initiate student participation.

Students can tap into their inherent innovation and collaboration skills, all while having fun though this easy to use platform.

  1. Prezi

Prezi is a fantastic tool that uses a visually stimulating, moving canvas that spices up any classroom presentation.

Students and teachers can implement images into presentations using Prezi’s easy-to-use platform, as they combine all the standard components of a normal presentation with visually stunning effects.

The variations of presentations are endless, encouraging students and teachers to customize presentations and find creative ways to highlight and use images.

  1. Storybird

Storybird is a fantastic site whose mission is to help students improve their reading, writing, and creative skills. Storybird gathers visually stunning artwork and images from artists and illustrators around world and invites students to turn those images into creative stories.

Additionally, Storyboard offers a number of features that incite student participation and creativity. Students can instantly receive and give feedback regarding their stories, and can even publish them on the site to be shared with thousands of other students.

Badges and rewards are also issued to recognize accomplishments and encourage students to continue to advance their writing and reading skills.

  1. Slidely

Slidely is a simple-to-use, free website and app that allows students to create eye-catching video slideshows that are accompanied by music and other effects. Students are able to easily search for relevant and attractive images and compile them into a visually stimulating slideshow.

Students have the option to attach captions, music, and even different image transitions that liven up the slideshows. Students can easily preview and edit their shows, and showcase their work to classmates and teachers through their personalized accounts.

This can be a great tool for teachers and students to experiment with to showcase different images in the classroom and display some student ingenuity.

  1. Generator

This storyboard generator will allow students to create their own storyboards using provided scripts and other free resources.

This interactive tool is very useful in teaching students the concepts and process of creating storyboards. It also allows students to foster and advance their own creative digital storytelling skills through the use of images and rich scripts.

Students and teachers can also share their work in the Generator community, receive feedback, and find additional inspiration for their own projects and stories.

  1. Tiki-Toki

Tiki-Toki is a free web-based software that allows anyone to create interactive and visually stimulating timelines.

Students and teachers can implement images and other effects to customize either personal timelines, or ones that focus on educational subject matter.

This tool gives students the opportunity to use images as a way to tell a story of their own history or of a historical event. Students can use their resourcefulness to find appropriate images and add complimenting captions.

  1. Pixton

By using an innovative click-n-drag technology, Pixton gives students the opportunity to create amazing comic strips with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Students can create characters, comic panels, props, speech bubbles, and every other aspect of a comic strip to create a customized and fun-to-read story.

This is a great way to draw out the creative ability of students and makes it easy to create and share customized stories.

  1. Picsart

Picsart is a free mobile app that enables anyone to find, edit, and create images via a mobile art studio.

Students are able to take pictures, draw them, or use images in the Picsart library. Images can be edited and shared with the Picsart community and can be a good way for students to exercise their image editing skill, shape their creative eye, and showcase work they have created.

  1. BigHugeLabs

Big Huge Labs is a fantastic resource for students and teachers to create a number of cool items with images.

A number of activities and how-to instructions are provided through the site that can be easily implemented in the classroom.

Some activities include: creating movie posters, pop art, magazine covers, jigsaw puzzles, maps, calendars, name badges, CD covers, trading/flash cards, and much more.

Additionally, teachers can request a free Educator account that will allow them to sign up their students without requiring their email addresses. It also allows teachers and students to review content created by students and provide instant feedback.

  1. ThinkLink

ThinkLink is an easy to use platform that helps anyone create and discover rich and striking images.

Better yet, ThinkLink allows students to transform those images into interactive and educational stories by allowing students to add music, videos, and text to the images they select.

ThinkLink not only encourages students to explore beautiful images on the web, but also allows them to utilize those images to educate peers in an engaging and entertaining way.

10 Tools For Student-Centered Creative Expression