If you are creating for your own students, following this guide will help you choose the right tool for the task. If you are creating for others, this will help you decide what tools to use for each piece of your overall project. It will also help you develop your Blue Ocean Strategy for your online store.
Step One Table of Contents
First, Find the Format that Fits the Role in the Teaching Model
So many digital tools, so little time. You can port your resources to a variety of different formats, but before rushing to do so, ask yourself:
Where in a model of Effective Teaching does each piece I am creating belong?
This will help you determine if you have all the right pieces or whether something is missing from your project concept.
Let’s say Secanda is creating materials to teach homonyms to second graders. She has made a funny video about homonym confusion, a series of worksheets for students to draw and write each homonym and its concept, and plans to add task cards for matching spelling to concept, and an assessment. Before she sits down to create, she maps them to the Effective Teaching Model.
After pondering the model, Secanda decides to add a Teacher’s Guide for the novice teacher, and to create two additional deck of task cards: (1) to review first-grade homonyms and (2) to look ahead to higher level homonyms for the early finishers. Now she has addressed review and added cards to increase complexity. In her Teacher’s Guide she recommends her Greek and Latin root words resources for students who are ready for more.
Choosing Your Formats
After thinking about where what you plan to create fits in a model of effective teaching, you need to think about outside constraints. What resources and tools are available to you to make your resources? We’ll talk about video and sound in future installments. For today, we’ll discuss:
Is the format permitted with the clip art I want to use?
If you plan to share or sell your resources and you will be including purchased clip art, you have to choose a format that will meet the conditions of the license you purchased. For most formats (but not all), you will have to take steps to protect images you include from being easily copied or pay extra for a digital license.
- She needs to provide credit
- Boom Cards usage is allowed with no additional steps or license
- Downloadables for printing must have the content flattened and be in a locked pdf
- PowerPoint and Smart Board usage requires that images be flattened as part of a background
- Can’t be used in App Store apps, Facebook apps, or Tiny Tap apps
She’s not worried about the last item. But she realizes she needs to do some research about flattening and locking. She decides to investigate Boom Cards as an option.
Secanda also likes Glitter Meets Glue’s License. That license says
- She needs to provide credit
- Boom Cards usage is allowed (both moveable pieces and background)
- Distribution in PowerPoint, Google Slides, and other files types requires that the image be inserted into the background so they cannot be lifted
- Google Drive™ and Microsoft OneDrive™ moveable pieces usage is not allowed
She’s been learning about moveable pieces and is excited to create with them. She loves PowerPoint so plans to do more research on inserting images into the background. She knows some people are converting PowerPoints to Google Slides, but since she has elected to use Glitter Meets Glue images for this project, she decides to try that another day.
Before she moves on, she bookmarks several resources for future reference:
- How to export PowerPoint images to Boom Cards
- Creative Cloud at Adobe so she can purchase Adobe Acrobat as needed to flatten and secure images into the background
- Teaching in the Tongass’ instructions on how to use Adobe Acrobat Pro to flatten and secure the images
- Flat Pack for PowerPoint for when she wants to selectively flatten images in a PowerPoint
- Study All Knight’s Digital Express App for flattening her PowerPoints to import into Google Slides
Will the format work for my teacher user’s classroom?
After considering your resource constraints, you need to consider your teacher users tool limitations (remember your blue ocean strategy—serve your niche; not every niche). How do you expect your teacher users will use the materials?
- Projected presentation?
- Interactive whiteboard presentation?
- Print, copy, laminate?
- Shared tablets?
- Shared computers?
- 1:1 computers?
- Take home/at home devices?
- Distance education via browser?
Secanda knows her customers are using interactive whiteboards and shared tablets. They are trying to reduce paper use.
Her friend Elem creates for upper elementary. His customers are using Windows netbooks shared with a second classroom. They are 1:1 for part of the day, but no take home use. They also have interactive whiteboards.
Elem’s wife Maddy creates for middle school. Her customers have 1:1 Chromebooks that they take home at night and over the weekend.
Pulling it all together for your project
Let’s look at each of our example teachers and how each might proceed:
Secanda decides to design in PowerPoint to have a consistent look between her task cards and her presentations. She does just the backgrounds for her task cards in PowerPoint and exports them as images to Boom Learning where she imports her moveable pieces and adds drop zones to create drag and drop tasks. She is so taken with making Boom Cards, that at the end creates a Boom Learning “teaching” deck that contains her funny video, an everyday language statement of the learning objective, a few cards to aid the teacher in presenting the material, along with a wrap-up card on meta-cognition skills for homonyms (how to use a dictionary).
Elem also likes Glitter Meets Glue. Some of his customers are die-hard fans of his PowerPoint games so he also plans to create in PowerPoint. After creating, he selectively flattens the clip art, leaving live the items that should be clickable and playable. Elem wants to reach new buyers looking for self-grading features and student reports. So after chatting with Secanda, he also exports his PowerPoints as images and creates Boom Cards versions of his resources. He knows his resources will be used for test prep. So he also prepares a teachers’ guide to explain how to use his decks with reports to selectively intervene using greek and latin root resources he created to correct homonym errors.
Maddy is all about open resources and DIY. She only uses free curriculum, images, free fonts, and prefers to create in Google Docs, using Slides, Docs, and Forms. Unfortunately, class sizes are growing at her school and performance is declining and she needs better information about where her students are struggling. Elem convinces her to give Boom Cards a try. She converts a Google Slides deck to Boom Cards. After importing, she adds text boxes, buttons and fill-in the blanks to enable self-grading. She assigns the deck to the whole class, having them screenshot the final screen. She takes the 5 worst performers and has them play the deck again as logged in students. She learns that three need practice with a few specific greek and latin roots, and assigns those materials improving their performance. Two others have challenges specifically with homophones. After further assessment, she recommends referral for evaluation of possible dyslexia.