As teachers around the country gear up for the implementation of the revised Technology curriculum, more and more of our classrooms are stepping into the digital world. Many teachers believe that having apps within their literacy or numeracy rotations is achieving this. However, digital integration goes beyond just using apps and is more about students beginning to understand how to create digital artefacts using digital tools for a specific purpose and/or audience. We are encouraging teachers and students to move away from consuming and towards creating.

Content-creation is one of the key digital competence skills as mentioned in the European Commission’s DIGCOMP  report, but how do we encourage students away from mindlessly watching YouTube videos to creating powerful persuasive animations as part of their inquiry?

One of the first things we do to have students think about the differences is to encourage students to think carefully about consuming vs creating is to demonstrate it to them first hand. Here’s how:

Have students watch you do something (whether it be tying shoelaces, tying a knot or even folding a paper hat) – this is simulating the watching of a YouTube video.

Next, have students follow along with you and create their own.

After this, discuss with them the feelings and thoughts they had. When I have had groups do this with me students report that they are often bored or uninterested.   However students report that they are more engaged when creating their own version of whatever they have observed with some student reporting that they have had to think, found it difficult, had to problem solve, were focused, were confused, had to watch closely and had to move. I think relate these feelings back to the ideas of consuming and creating. It is a really good opportunity at this point to highlight that creating won’t always be fun and easy, it will come with challenges, get you confused and require you to problem solve. However these situations are helping our brains to grow and for us to be able to achieve more as a result. Use this discussion to facilitate students during times where you are giving students opportunities to create with digital tools and they are becoming ‘stuck’.  Over the next while, the Raranga Matihiko team will be posting activities that students have designed and created, moving past this initial ‘thinking about creating’.  We would love to hear what ideas you have when prompting students about creating.


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