Featured post

Finding your tribe

One of the most enjoyable and inspiring books I have read this year has been Sir Ken Robinson's "Out of our Minds"  and my ref...

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

#ocTEL task 3.1 Creating your own materials.

I love to create resources for learning, have done ever since I first started teaching some 30 years ago. The digital revolution has made the creation process more empowering as it provides opportunities to create a more satisfying end product than my poor art skills could otherwise allow. Memorable breakthoughs came for me with the discovery on Microsoft Publisher many years ago, my worksheets became works of art :) These days I like to mix media using #popcorn and encourage students to create visual or audio resources to share with others.

Even in those early days of exploration I would carefully weigh up the relative advantage of producing a resource in a digital format compared with analogue equivalents - and there were many of those! Laminated project cards and images remain under my bed and in my office filing cabinets and, now and again, are used as more practical alternatives when the rooming is unsuitable or the hardware unavailable. After all, has any student ever said "how do you open this" when presented with a physical handout?! However, now it is the norm for me to start any resource creation with a digital focus and I have a virtual armoury which thankfully doesn't require dusting. Other benefits include:

  • easier editing and tweaking once the resource has been tried out
  • a large bank of possible starting points with hyperlinks to additional content making tasks extendible in any direction
  • colourful, interactive and innovative resources to stimulate learner interest
So this week's #ocTEL focus on experimentation and materials creation really appeals to me. I was already familiar with most of the tools on the suggestions list and I favour tools which are platform agnostic so I am not interested in formats that require a particular hardware (such as Apple products) but I dived in to a screencasting tool I had not heard of before only to be surprised by what I found out! Here's the very brief recording.


  1. As a resource developer, one should work to make resources as platform-agnostic as possible, but sometimes the tools to develop are not platform-agnostic. I'm not evangelizing on any particular platform, but sometimes using a tool that is platform-specific can be more efficient (from the development aspect). I have no preference on platform, I use the most appropriate tools to accomplish the development goal and try to keep the resource as widely distributable as possible.

  2. Agreed James, there is always a tension between the ideal and the pragmatic and I think each of us has to try to resolve that as we work. In the UK (and maybe elsewhere) the high costs of university study do place additional responsibilities on us to limit the impact on students of some choices where possible (I speak as a parent juggling with supporting my son through uni!)