[ETEC 524] Tech Play 3: Creativity Tools

In this week’s playtesting, I explored some really great creativity tools that support student learning, research, and media creativity inside and outside of the classroom. I am a huge fan of creativity, as I am a creative learner and I have grown to be the adult who uses creative presentations and teaching more than I use anything else. Throughout my education, the quickest way for me to get excited about learning was to give me a lesson that gave me the freedom to create what was in my mind and today, Prezi, iMovie, and Diigo all help with getting the ideas and doing research, to visually creating them using graphics, video, and sound.

Prezi, iMovie, and Diigo are all creative tools that assist in creating dynamic presentations and content connection. Prezi, is an online Flash based program which can help organize concepts in a unique way using a sort of digital mind map. One of the key features is the 3D zoom feature which lets you zoom in on each piece of information you create and explore it in detail. iMovie is a free nonlinear editing tool for Apple product users, that is used to cut and edit videos, music, and graphics without changing any of the original files. It is great for creating videos and presentations without having little to no experience in editing. Diigo (Digest of Internet information, Groups and Other stuff) is an online platform with the goal of helping you create your own personal online knowledge library online. In other words, it is an expansive social bookmarking tool. Diigo gives you the ability to annotate webpages and let you tag the site with keywords that can help you search faster and easier with a virtual sticky note. It also has a pretty great networking/ collaborative research tool in it’s groups which can be created to organize a collaborative collection of sites and information within its platform.

While I enjoyed all of these creative tools personally and professionally, I found myself gravitating more to iMovie for this playtest. As a videographer and as an educator, I rely heavily on linear editing programs to edit and compress my video creations. I use Adobe Premiere CC primarily, but at times I also have the need to use other editors like Final Cut X and iMovie to get the job done (sometimes faster than with Adobe CC). One of the very first editing tools I ever used was iMovie and had I not gotten the chance to play with it in one of my media classes in high school, I might not have ever had the knowledge and career I have had in technology or directing, and I may have never been led to a career in education!

iMovie is considered the ideal introductory video editing tool and it can support project-based learning and build student’s storyboarding, digital storytelling, and design skills. Teachers and students can also use iMovie for demonstration purposes, to develop digital portfolios, and to record and create collaborative conversations to presentations through video. Teachers can also use the software to record lessons for a flipped classroom or for students who need additional assistance and differentiation. The only gripe I have with iMovie is that eventually you can grow out of its platform the more you learn the technology and find yourself needing more editing and creativity capabilities (such as transitions, text cues, and coloring options). This happened to me, but I do not consider it a bad thing. If anything, using iMovie interested me even more and I learned as much as I could and used what I learned from the program to work with more advanced editing software over time. I still use iMovie to perform simpler tasks in editing and presentations because of its ease of use.

In the future I would love to use iMovie more extensively in a digital storytelling assignment. I have witnessed assignments like this before with our high school students in which the students were given the opportunity to write out a story based off of their experience and create a full storyboard before filming and editing the video to create a presentation about the subject. I would like to expound upon that assignment by asking students what is something new they learned while in quarantine by themselves and how did they learn it. It could also be a story of something they experienced while in quarantine. I would have students work together in groups to write a script and use video, audio, music, graphics, and images to fully put the presentation together, with each student rotating tasks as director, editor, sound editor, music editor, and graphic editor. Students would have the freedom to use their own creativity in many ways individually and together as a group through collaboration and content. This could also be broken up into an additional assignment in which a trailer is created to showcase awareness and interest in the initial story to come.

Overall, creativity tools are necessary for innovation and creativity is fundamental to all academic disciplines in some shape or form. If creativity is an active process necessarily involved in innovation, then it’s learning habits require skill as well as specific understanding of the contexts in which creativity is being applied. Creative tools are apart of that application. Just like with curriculum skills, students build understanding and competency with creative tools themselves, so that they can select the one that fits their current need. I have used many creative tools in my life and I can say that all have been beneficial to the way in which I learn and think. The tools that resonate the most with me are tools that are interchangeable and can stand the test of time, just like with iMovie.

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