In her previous post, Angie went over ways to use online tools to create different projects. In this quasi follow-up post, we’ll go over some ways to get creative with projects using different online tools.
Using Online Resources to Your Advantage
Regardless of subject or topic, teachers can get creative with their projects! When faced with the difficulty of doing traditional classroom projects, such as making a poster or creating a paper model, while classes have been forced online or socially distanced, we can look to online resources that can replicate a similar type of knowledge or achieve certain learning goals. There are a plethora of websites with paid or free subscriptions that offer teachers access to a variety of templates (canva.com, slidesgo.com), platforms to post student work (padlet.com, flipgrid.com), and worksheet repository (liveworksheets.com, eslprintables.com).
Model House Project Utilizing Online Applications
For the national Korean elementary 5th Grade English curriculum, which requires students to be able to name and describe objects in rooms of a house, a “traditional” project would be to build a paper model house. While being somewhat time consuming, the ultimate objective is for students to demonstrate verbal or written mastery of the target language, rather than their ability to create a perfect model house.
One example of getting creative and moving this project online is to use the numerous room creator websites and applications available on the internet. Faced with this opportunity, I explored three very different platforms, each with their own educational merits:
In this first example, a free website created by a Korean furniture company, iloom, students can easily furnish and decorate a room in a house by selecting and moving furniture. The interface is in students’ L1, which is suitable if the learning objective is not to produce a picture of a room, rather to describe it in L2. When developing learning objectives, teachers must take students’ language proficiency into consideration. If the process of producing a project to too difficult, students may fail to achieve the true desired outcome.
This particular platform allows students to take a 3-dimensional tour of the virtual room they or their classmates have created by adjusting the view icon. Imagine how engaging and interactive a gallery walk of these model rooms can be!
This particular website offers a distinctive learning opportunity as well. Students are able to get a statement of the cost of all the furnishings they had chosen for their particular room. To make learning even more impactful, the integration of subjects of skills is an effective approach. Seize the opportunity to teach students about budgeting or art (color, design, textures, etc.) or mathematics (area, size, perimeter, etc.) in tandem with this language project.
The following two websites, also free room creator platforms, are in English. If a language teacher finds an authentic learning opportunity in having students interact with and navigate a website in L2, there are online resources at various language levels and interface complexity.
This website offers a basic and simple layout. The ease of its “drag and drop” user experience is intuitive and accessible. One noteworthy feature of this following website is that students are able to print a comprehensive list of furniture they chose. A vocabulary list is a useful tool to scaffold students’ writing.
This final example is a more complex model with a higher variety of advance language. While being less user friendly than the previous two websites, it offers high proficiency students an opportunity to interact with new or unfamiliar terms in a meaningful way. This difference can allow teachers the ability to differentiate instruction with just one project.
This is just one example of a way you can integrate online tools into a project straight out of the curriculum. It only takes a little bit of time and effort to explore different ways to engage your students whether classes are online or in the classroom!