Classroom Stories

Creative Communicators in the Classroom

As I look across my room at my middle school students, many of whom who are digital natives, first adapters to social media, games, and youtube channels, I ponder how this digital footprint will affect their lives. I am concerned about their online well-being and their future as members of the working society. I wonder how I can properly prepare them to be responsible digital citizens. MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) are standards that were created to personalize learning and create deeper learning on the part of the student. One of the MITECS standards is the Creative Communicator strand. This standard states that, “students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.” (MITECS, 2017). Part of being a creative communicator is knowing what is appropriate and safe to say, do and see online. But part of being a creative communicator is also knowing how to employ the best communication tool for your audience. 

As an art teacher, I spend a lot of time talking about how to speak to your audience. What images, symbols, and media will be the best to express your purpose? The same can be said for the technology that you choose. In my classroom, we have many options for creating a project. In one project, students choose a technology tool to talk about their research on an artist. Some students create faux social media accounts, demonstrating how the artist would express him/herself via social media. Other students create a webpage using Adobe Spark that will showcase the artist’s work and history of their life. And finally, other students will make online posters with a press review using applications like Canva and Adobe Spark that will mimic the ArtNews art show critics. The goal of the project is to not only introduce to the students to various artists but to discuss how current artists interact with their global community. By offering various options students are able to choose the media that will be the best communication device for them.

Author: Kelly Tillman is an Art Educator, Technology Teacher Leader for Walled Lake Consolidated School District and MACUL Board Delegate for Technology in Education Learning Area. Find her on Twitter @tillmankelly99