In this episode of The PE Geek Podcast we explore a variety of simple and cloud based tools that you can leverage to produce classroom & lesson materials.
Best of all these tools make it possible for you to create high quality resources without requiring you to spend hours learning complicated software and systems.
Resources explored include;
1. Canva, Comic Life & Piktochart
2. Animoto & Ripl
[00:00:29] Jarrod Robinson: Hello everyone welcome to episode number 87 of the PE Geek Podcast and as always it’s an absolute pleasure to have you here. Now if you’re joining us for the very first time, welcome. This show is obviously all about physical education and how you can use different technologies inside of it. So whether that’s your theory based classroom, your practical based classroom and it’s going to talk about the different things that I do as well as interviewing people who are doing incredible stuff in
Now, obviously we’ve got 86 previous episodes to this that you can churn through, some great stuff in there, there’s some reoccurring themes as well that I’m sure you’ll pick up. And I’ve just had a few emails from people recently who have recently found the show and then gone through and listened to the entire catalogue of episodes in the course of a couple of weeks, so I think that’s really impressive. If that’s you, well done and get in touch with me, I’d love to talk a little bit more.
Now, in this episode we’re going to be diving into how you can create classroom posters and classroom artifacts, things that you can use in your teaching practice and this is a common sort of request and feature that I get from teachers around the globe asking what they can use to make posters and fliers and different pieces and I wanted to share a couple of tools that I tend to use.
Now, I’m going to start by
saying I personally am one of the most hopeless people when it comes to design and making things look good and trying to impress people with how things look. I think design is incredibly important and there’s some people in the phys ed space who do incredible work designing fliers and posters and artifacts that just look absolutely astounding. And a lot of the time those sort of skill sets
are learned over many, many years and they take a lot of time to hone and you sometimes you either have that type of skillset or you don’t.
However, in the last few years we’ve seen a real increase in the amount of web based tools that make it possible for you to do simple editing and creation and those sorts of things using smart templates that just make it a lot easier for you to
make something look good for your classroom or for whatever it is that you’re doing. And I think probably by far and above one of the simplest tools to use would have to be Canva. Now, Canva is an online web-based and you get an mobile app as of recent design tool that really brings design down to the level of everyone and by design I mean graphic design style creation.
And it’s all based on this idea of using web-based sort of drag and drop and uploading files and images but starting off with templates that they have had professional designers do in the past. And there’s all sorts of different categories. If you go and sign up for free at Canva you can see that there’s, like there’s literally endless supplies of the templates that you can open up and then start to modify to get
whatever it is that you’re hoping to build for your classroom.
Now, a couple of great ideas that I have used Canva for over the years include the using it to design a classroom flier or poster that might be something of importance for your students so they can look at and reference and whatever it may be. Again, you could actually have the students use Canva to showcase their knowledge and their understanding about things
that you’re teaching.
So you could easily take a concept that’s a reoccurring thing like the classroom rules or any sort of learning intentions or classroom focuses or the goals or whatever they may be and you can make them into this really nice and impressive looking poster and flier in Canva in a matter of minutes and that’s just with one sort of example.
Now if you went on to Canva you would see that there is a whole swag of other styles and
templates. I mean if you had an event that your school was running and hosting and you were part of it and organizing it, let’s say an athletics day or a field day or whatever that may be then you could just simply use the event templates that are there and I’ve used these before for some of my own events such as my mom’s fiftieth birthday and we open up the template and you start modifying and dragging pictures and all of sudden you’ve taken this thing that already look really good and made some minor
changes and you’ve got this sort of great result at the end. So, I think Canva’s amazing because of the fact that it enables just anyone including myself who’s the absolute worst at design to be able to go ahead and create some pretty impressive stuff and that covers all sorts of things from CDs and cards and banners and resumes and letterheads and fliers, you name it inside of Canva
there’s a template that you can use and if you don’t want to use a template then you can start from scratch. Now to get the best idea of the types of things that you can use to start with then just head along to Canva.com which is C-A-N-V-A.com/templates and you can search through all of their templates at a high quality then if you see things then you can sign up and then start to use those and turn them into your classroom artifacts and posters.
Now it might go without saying that you don’t want to spend an enormous amount of time doing these sorts of things, they take away from what it is that we do. But if we can bring high quality looking artifacts and materials to our classes then they elicit a greater level of response, design really matters, that’s why businesses pay a lot of attention to it and we shouldn’t just haphazardly through something out there that we want people to pay attention to and expect them to do so. So, that’s why I love
The next tool I want to talk about is in a similar vein but really focuses in on one particular thing that you might design content and learning around and that’s called infographics. Now, you’ve probably seen these all over the internet before from health related infographics to technology, whatever it may be but they’re essentially really long images that jam complex information into pictorial easy to consume
ways. And you can build these in Canva as well, I should have mentioned that’s one of the template styles. But the really leader in this is Piktochart which P-I-K-T-O-CHART.com and all the links for this episode will be in thepegeek.com/87. But Piktochart is amazing. In the very first time I ever used it we were teaching a health lesson and students had to take away information from different chronic
illnesses that effected people in their lives and take that information from just being charts and really sort of bland information and turn it into an infographic. And I was absolutely astounded at the engagement, the interest that students showed just by turning it into something that’s very present in stuff that they consume and stuff that we consume. And it was just a matter of creating an infographic on Piktochart all for free.
So Piktochart is another tool that you can use to design some cool stuff. I mean you could create a Piktochart of all the classroom rules or the learning intentions again like you could with Canva. It’s just another way to showcase that information.
Now, I know one of the most used tools in this space is Comic Life and you may have seen Comic Life floating around, it’s available as a software for your computer or your laptop/Mac
/etc. and also as an app for your iPad and tablets. But essentially, if you can think of comic books and the different grids that a comic book typically has that’s what Comic Life is. It allows you to drag those into your screen and then you can drag pictures in to fill the gaps and then use nice comic books style fonts and effects like the different actions and so on to create almost like a phys ed style
comic. Now if you go back to some of my early blog posts in probably 2011 and 2012 we were talking about Comic Life then as a really easy way to create maybe like a step by step sort of picture that shows what happens in the first scene, the second scene, the third scene, just like a comic book but in phys ed style where you’re teaching something across the different screens. And also there’s a lot of other options for using it create resources and activity
cards, station cards, different things that you want students to do when they’re using, in your practical space you could use the Comic Life app to bring that to life. And there’s a number of people who are in the phys ed space who do that really well. Kevin Tiller, he produces the website Phys Ed Review and if you have look at his resources most of them have been made with Comic Life. And finally another person who comes to mind would be Dale Sidebottom of Energetic.education
who has produced a series of amazing resources, classroom based and practical PE classroom based resources, station cards, task cards, lesson plans, you name it. And many of them have sort of started as Comic Life worksheets in that they’ve simply just had a template, thrown some images in there and you’ve got yourself that’s quite eye catching and quite interesting for people to consume. Now, in this episode I’ve spoken a fair bit about
teacher’s creating stuff for student. But I think the real value lies in student’s creating stuff to demonstrate their understanding of their knowledge and these tools are certainly made for that particular realm where you can easily hand these over as tasks. They’re so intuitive that you don’t need to be teaching people what to do with them like the tools do that, they’re designed for intuitive use and it allows you to get away from that classic I want you to
produce a PowerPoint presentation or make me a poster in Microsoft word or whatever these typical tasks are that don’t really do a whole lot for getting students inspired about the tasks that you ask them to do. But if you can take some of these modern tools that they’re seeing in their everyday life and apply some creative teaching around and you can get some different results.
Now, a couple of non-image based editing tools that I’ve used that are more for like
let’s say your classroom artifacts were video, I would go along the line of using the application and web based tool called Animoto. Now, I’ve used it a lot, I’ve spoken about it a lot. It’s so easy, you just basically take some photos and videos and in the app and it will stitch them together into its own basic movie that uses music and some audio over the top. And you can basically take photos of class or of an excursion or a trip or anything
and then have that generate into this cool little story that you could then share with the students or use it to sort of celebrate what’s been going on.
The next thing that I would talk about is another little tool called Ripple. Ripple is really quite simple. It’s the same idea, you basically can whip up some quick videos that have text on them and sliding pictures and tell a story and I’ve seen some effective use of people using them to basically have students
produce a ripple of what they’ve learned in class, or what they’ve done in class and the app makes that really intuitive and really easy for them to be able to do that.
Now, there’s a whole heap of other tools that are very similar to these that you may use and find. If you do happen to use them, then head along to thepegeek.com/87 leave a comment, people would love to find out more. As I said, these are the tools that I tend to use a lot in Canva and Comic Life and
However, probably one of the things that I haven’t mentioned that I think I should is the website Fiverr, F-I-V-E-R-R.com. Now, I know in previous episodes I’ve spoken about Fiverr and I’ve even had emails from people saying that after hearing me talk about it they’ve gone and used it. But this flips the whole equation completely from you being the creator of different tasks and different things to you paying for someone to do that.
Now, the premise of the website Fiverr is that everything that you can do on the site starts at $5 and it scales up. Most things are done really quite cheaply and I would say most stuff is $5. But you can hire someone to make your flier based on the inputs that you give or you could give them the basic handwritten information that you wanted or whatever it was and said turn that into an infographic
or make this into a presentation or an invitation card or something that you can then use in your classroom.
Now it might seem like that’s cheating or that’s not the right thing to do, but to be honest we as teachers use resources from everywhere. We don’t write our own textbooks, we have people write them for us and it’s in the same idea of having someone with more talent and more ability potentially
create these things for you. And I think it sort of brings back this idea of us working on the right things. Should be sitting there and spending ten hours learning how to use a graphic design tool so that you can create a poster that your kids like? No, I don’t think you should be, not effective use of time. But could you use a tool like Canva and do that really quickly? Absolutely! And if you’re even stretched for time and you want to take it to the next level of efficiency and be more efficient then why not try a tool like
Fiverr and have someone produce a flier for you.
And to finish up I just want to illustrate the power of this with a colleague who I worked with many years who each and every year would be in charge of promoting the school’s triathlon event and he basically, I remember him sitting down and having to create fliers and information packs and all of these pieces of the puzzle that was really outside of job, it’s just something that he did. And he could have gone
and used Canva and some other tools and made it easy for himself but he used to slave away and do this very manual and creative flier and spend hours and think it didn’t look good and eventually I just said to him listen why don’t you spend the five dollars and I think he ended up spending about ten dollars with a bonus addition to it. And he did that and he used Fiverr and he got back a flier, an info pack and all of these artifacts that exceeded his ability
and didn’t take him three to four hours that it used to take him to compile it and put it together and make it look good. And people commented just how impressed they were with the promotional fliers and he got to save the amount of time that it would have taken by focusing in on the right things. So hopefully this episode has been useful for you I’m a big fan of using design and thankfully in today’s day and age it’s so much easier and so much more accessible for people to do that
take something that is idea in their head or information and put it down in a nice way for students to consume. Don’t underestimate the power of design in getting people to take action. Put however, my only piece of advice would be don’t be the person who spends 5/10/15/20 hours learning a new program when the simple web based alternatives exist. They’re going to do the same or if not better job than you probably ever could if you were to do them
in full on programs that require years and years of practice. Let’s focus on the right things, and hopefully with that we can earn some more time back. If this episode’s been useful head along to iTunes and hit subscribe. If you’ve never left a review for the podcast then you can go ahead and do that too. Just leave an honest review, whether that’s one stars or five stars or whatever anywhere in between, we really appreciate it because those are the things that help people make decision about
what they’re going to do when they listen to the show, help them discover it. So thanks again and we look forward to speaking in episode 88.
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