Students need to explore, interact and experiment to have deeper learning experiences. Educators don’t have to stick to in-person instruction, though, to get learners involved in engaging activities. Teachers can create digital educational content that is dynamic and connects to a variety of learning styles. So how do you create digital learning content? Below are six tips for building digital education content that piques students’ interests and transforms online learning.
1. Reach learners with video
Digital content in education is used in remote, hybrid and face-to-face instruction. Students interact with the content through synchronous and asynchronous learning on a device like a Chromebook or even a phone. If teachers are new to creating digital content for schools, an easy place to start is by building a video collection.
Teachers can begin a lesson with a video to grab learners’ attention, or they can ask them to engage with a video as part of a knowledge-building activity. Students can watch a video during a synchronous class session if the teacher shares their screen. They can also watch a video before, during or after class.
Educators can create the video collection for a unit, save the links and then add them to their lessons. Of course, YouTube is a great source for finding educational videos through digital education content providers. There are many channels dedicated to K-12 learning. Plus, a tool like Hāpara Filter makes it safe for learners to use YouTube.
For example, these channels offer videos across academic levels and subjects:
- StorylineOnline – This channel offers videos of actors and celebrities reading children’s stories. It’s geared toward learners who are in fourth grade or under.
- SciShow or SciShow Kids – These two channels for older and younger learners dive into intriguing scientific topics and questions.
- TED-Ed – This popular channel has short videos that cover a range of subjects.
- Mike Likes Science – Learners will love these videos that use music and hip hop lyrics to teach science.
- Khan Academy or Khan Academy Kids – Khan Academy teaches math, science and history standards, while the Kids channel focuses on younger learners.
- PBS Kids – This PBS channel includes animated videos for lower elementary grades.
Educators can also record short videos to teach concepts asynchronously. One way is to use a screencast program, like Screencastify or Loom for Education. They allow teachers to record what’s on the screen and also include their face so that learners can see them speak. Another way to include video is by using a computer camera or phone to record a demonstration.
2. Add in digital audio content
How do you create a digital learning resource with audio? One way to add audio is by narrating over a Google Slides presentation. This way teachers can reach different learning needs, and students can both read and hear the content.
Programs like Audacity or GarageBand help teachers record audio files, which can be useful in a number of ways. For example, teachers can record a voice memo to give learners instructions for an assignment or project. They can also record assessment questions for learners who need a modification.
An audio recording can also help learners understand how to pronounce new vocabulary words across core classes and in language classes. Teachers can record and upload the file so that learners can listen to the pronunciation as many times as they need.
Teachers can get even more innovative by recording a podcast to teach a topic and adding in music and sound effects. Or they can record an audiobook of a story or piece of text. Be sure to search for royalty-free audio resources when adding in effects or music.
3. Make your own educational digital images
Another way to engage learners is with digital images. What are examples of these digital learning resources? Instructional images include illustrations, maps, graphics, photographs and more. For example, a teacher can create a brainstorming map, timeline or plot diagram with Google Drawings. It’s also a way to show how to work out a math problem or scientific equation.
Another idea is to create a graphic with text. Canva is a free program that allows you to create graphs, posters, brochures and infographics. The image files can be downloaded and shared or added to a Google Doc or slideshow. Teachers can also take a picture of an object, a scene or a science experiment for learners to view or analyze.
4. Gamify your digital content
Another way to boost digital teaching strategies is to gamify lessons and activities. There are many digital educational resources available that use gamification. A program like Kahoot allows you to create online learning games or trivia. There are also online assessment builders like Quizlet that can be used to review concepts. If you want to share videos, Edpuzzle allows you to add comprehension questions to them and track learners’ understanding.
Another fun idea is to make a digital escape room using Google Forms. For example, librarian Sydney Krawiec designed a Hogwarts-inspired Google Forms escape room for learners. She also has a video tutorial that explains how to put together the activity.
5. Allow learners to choose
Teachers can personalize digital content by giving their learners a choice. For example, offer groups or individual learners the choice to engage with a video, audio file or an image. When students have control over their learning, they are more invested in the content. It’s a great way to boost active learning across the class.
6. Create digital content with a team
Teachers don’t have to create digital education content on their own. Departments or subject-grade level teams can build content together. Team members can each work on one type of content such as designing digital graphics, or they can work in groups to create videos, podcasts or trivia games.
The benefit of digital content is that your district or school can reuse it again and again and quickly share it across teams. It’s also easy to update so that information stays current. By scheduling time for educators to develop engaging content, your district or school will give learners a more meaningful online experience.