This week the lecture was a crash course in a few different forms of digital resources.
So what is a digital resource? It can be anything used in the classroom or for learning that is in a digital format. To me a digital resource is a way to have greater control over the baby steps happening in the classroom. It also can extend (buzz word: differentiate) higher level students in a way that doesn’t use up all your time in the actual class, in a handy dandy “here is something I prepared earlier” item. Just be prepared that these types of resources can be time consuming, particularly when you are fiddling around with an unfamiliar software/format. However the format isn’t so important when it comes to the impact, but the content is. Just because a resource is digital doesn’t automatically make it engaging or effective.
James’ Elements of Digital Resources
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY
One of the ultimate digital resource formats, which sadly is only accessible on Mac (story of my life) is iBooks. This format allows a great level of control and customisation to include all the elements. However other formats are out there. Powerpoint when used to it’s full potential can be very slick, with the added bonus of being a great programme for creating student templates. Blog sites or websites if you are clever at coding are also a good alternative, and have the added bonus of being browser based so accessible everywhere on any computer/device. (Note: some websites can be mobile device hostile, this definitely needs to be taken into account)
However I don’t believe that all digital resources have to be a complete package with all the elements covering entire projects and unit. So here is a list of a few other formats we played around with that can be in a full digital resource kit or just bits and pieces to help a class along, teach one skill or introduce something new. It’s a no brainer that mixing up the teaching approach will keep most kids engaged.
- Using DAWs and Sequencers to create templates or own loops on the devices available or in browser. Garageband, Acid and Logic to name a few.
- Using pixabay.com to source royalty free high quality pictures for free. (Or try filtering your google image search by usage rights)
- Screenflow for creating screen capture tutorials. Note: the free version will slap everything with a DEMO watermark.
So my big question is, what if a student doesn’t find it useful or actually has a better way to do what you wanted to teach? Although a digital resource isn’t a rehydrator oven quick fix, carefully constructed resources that are useable can be a real asset in the classroom. What works for one class may not also always work for another class, or indeed every student in that class, but having many options is always preferable to none. And be open to learning from other teachers and students and giving lots of things a go. There is no need to make the same instruments of the orchestra worksheets every year!