I have written about the dangers of social media in education before, how trying to create “Twitter-worthy” lesson plans can lead teachers down a dangerous path of providing a veneer of learning designed primarily to look good in pictures. Back then, I focused on what happened in the classrooms around me, with students in attendance. Some teachers trying to impress administrators, or to get hired at a different district, often engaged in this kind of behavior at my former school division. It was annoying, and it encouraged the same kind of questionable praxis from teachers who might have otherwise stuck to their better teaching instincts. The worry of a bad evaluation if they were not visible enough loomed large in a district mired in merit pay experimentation.
After leaving my position in the district a year ago, I have made changes in my engagement with social media. I have grown the list of accounts I follow substantially, looking for people from whom I can learn, both in and out of the education field. Since one of my areas of interest has been the role of experimentation and play in learning, especially with technology, I’ve been following people who do creative work with easily accessible tools. Here I am referring to everyday tools that are free or low-cost rather than to accessibility features, although I appreciate accessibility features as well.
One of my favorite tools for creative onscreen play that fits this role perfectly is Keynote. If you have an Apple device, Keynote is part of the package. It was originally marketed as presentation software, and this is how the majority of people use it. But, it can be “hacked” to make super fun animations. Earlier in the summer I presented a session on using Keynote for creative pursuits, sharing examples of animated title sequences, custom clip transitions, green screen special effects, and even scientific illustration. My latest infatuation is making animated GIF monsters.
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