A Picture is Worth…

Better late than never?  😦  I’m writing this after meeting with a group of teachers this week who discussed how we can take what we have learned these past 16 months of distance and concurrent learning into in-class learning.  We are all worried about the transition from online learning to in person learning for our students, especially regarding their social and emotional health.  Regarding educators and what we have figured out, it is scattered among a lot of different aspects of the job.  We know that we want to put more emphasis on our students’ well-being rather than counting on being experts in our subject area to help guide them through their learning.  We also know that some of the tools that we have learned are going to be useful moving forward.  One of these tools is Canva.  I know that in my earlier musings, I was looking at Seesaw; however, I did not use this resource enough to feel comfortable to explore its use inside a brick and mortar classroom.

I have used Canva quite a lot for my own homework and assigned visual assignments for my students.  This process of synthesizing information into a visual representation has helped my students show knowledge and understanding in a creative way, giving my struggling students an opportunity to succeed and boost their confidence.  In Jacqui’s 2021 informational site, she gives ways that Canva can create opportunities for students to share their learning.  The one way that she explores that I have also used is producing an infographics (or as I title them) One-Pagers.  Students, after reading a portion or a text/small literary piece, choose quotes, visuals, sub-headings, and analysis that will show the significance of the author’s choices in the text.

Using visual representations of learning, as Costa (2021) clarifies in an informational website, allows easy access to distilling information, reinforces the skill of anchoring student analysis in evidence, and access high level thinking skills (Costa).  I am in a Critical Friends Group with an art teacher and after meeting monthly with her, it has been great to hear how she has her students express their understanding of the different artistic concepts.  I used her examples and tailored them to literature which allowed me to explore different web tools that gave students the ability to share their ideas with more visuals rather than simply words.

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The ISTE Standard for Educators 1, specifically the Learner standard (Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning) has been the driving force behind my collaboration with other teachers on campus so that we can explore many modes of learning to reach our students where they are in this pandemic and year of online/hybrid learning.  I have enjoyed sharing my ideas visually and the students’ learning has been consistent in changing up how they share their understanding.

References:

Jacqui, A. (2021, March 31). 13 Ways to Use Canva in Your Classroom. Ask a Tech Teacher. https://askatechteacher.com/13-ways-to-use-canva-in-your-classroom/. 

Costa, V. (n.d.). Visual Representations. Teaching in the 21st Century. http://www.teach21.us/visual-representations.html. 

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