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10 project ideas for developing students’ creativity and digital storytelling skills at home

Ulla-Maaria Koivula

When schools are closed, students spend lots of time on their laptops and mobile devices. How can you put those devices to work in a way that develops their creativity and digital skills?

Drawing, doodling, and digital storytelling: a multi-channel strategy for learning at home

Research suggests that handwriting notes is better for later memory than typing notes using keyboard. Similar to handwriting, drawing, coloring and doodling improves memory, helping the student’s motor system connect with the visual system and brain regions associated with memory. For this reason, teachers in classrooms use various visualization techniques to engage and help younger students who are having trouble focusing and reading. When students work from home, there are several ways to combine handwriting, drawing, photography, or arts and crafts with digital storytelling using ThingLink, and share the work with teachers and the classroom. 

This article lists 10 easy project ideas from the ThingLink community that encourage students to 1) make handwritten, visual and pictorial notes, collages and artwork, and 2) enhance and explain their work using digital audio and text notes, closeup photos and video.

  1. Design a greeting card for grandparents or friends
    Physical distancing does not necessarily mean social distancing. Even at home, we talk to our friends often, and think about them all the time. 

    Project idea: Design or draw a greeting card to a person you miss seeing. Take a photo of the drawing or setup, and use ThingLink to add your voice greeting. 

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  2. Introduce yourself: Math about Me!
    Between kindergarten and middle school, students engage in several art projects to introduce themselves to the rest of the classroom.
    Project idea: Create an all-about-me poster. Use your phone or tablet to take a photo of it and explain it using text, video, or voice notes.

  3. Create an interactive book review poster — once a week!
    Most elementary school and middle school students read at least 30 minutes every day. 
    Project idea: Report your reading by creating an interactive poster of each book you have read while staying at home. Use ThingLink to add voice or text notes about the book. Add a link to Schoology or other LMS to share with your teacher.

  4. Create an interactive herbarium 
    Making your own herbarium is a great way for students and their parents to learn about botany and the plants.
    Project idea: Go outside and find plants that you don’t already know. Take multiple photos of each plant in their natural habitat, or if you have brought them home, position each on a surface for a photo. Use ThingLink to add more information about them.

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  5. Make your own comic strips
    Self-made comic strips can be used as a visualization technique for any subject.
    Project idea: Make your own comic strip, and add the speech bubbles and sound effects using ThingLink. 

  6. Create an interactive map 
    Drawing maps is another great way to summarize learnings in social studies or science.
    Project idea: Draw or paint a map, and use your phone or tablet to take a photo of it. Use ThingLink to add additional information, music, sounds, or interviews to the various spots on the map. 

  7. Make a vocabulary poster in a foreign language
    This is a true multi-channel exercise that combines an illustration of a word, its written form, as well as its pronunciation in a foreign language.
    Project idea: Summarize a list of new words in a chapter or article you have read. Draw/doodle an illustration of each word. Use ThingLink to record the pronunciation for each word.  


  8. Explain details of a painting 
    Several museums have recently opened their image archives for public use. 
    Project idea: Choose a painting and find more information about it online. Use ThingLink to explain the details of the painting to someone who does not know it.

  9. Create an interactive timeline
    Timelines are a great way to memorize sequences of historical periods or events.
    Project idea: Make a visualization of a timeline using your preferred technique. Use ThingLink to add more information about each detail.

  10. Build a diorama
    Diorama, a three-dimensional miniature model, is a wonderfully creative way for illustrating a story or a sequence of events. 
    Project idea: Use a combination of materials, techniques or toys to build a scene. Add voice or video narration to your story using ThingLink.

Get started: Educators and parents: Sign up on thinglink.com or download the ThingLink mobile app from Appstore. Students: To login, use an invitation code from your teacher or parent.

Quick tutorial: Adding tags on desktop

On ThingLink, students can share their work with others by moving them to a shared folder created by their teacher.

Schools, districts and cities: Contact us at education@thinglink.com to activate your ThingLink account today.

Project examples and photo credits: Adriano Bernasconi, Astrid Hulsebosch, Eliel and Ella Engestrom


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