Education nowadays requires youth practitioners to think outside the box and come up with innovative, and most of all creative solutions that will inspire and engage the learners. While developing the intellectual outputs of the Digitize enterprise project our team has used multiple free online tools and other freeware software resources for the purpose of digitizing and gamifying the learning processes for youth.
Through our work, our experts had to come up with creative solutions in order to create visual tools such as infographics, animations, videos, interactive case studies, as well as to create game-based learning activities such as quiz-based games, memory games, arcade games, role-playing games, strategy games and all kinds of gamified challenges. These were all developed for the purpose of Digitize Enterprise Youth Work Toolkit (IO1) and Virtual Learning Lab (IO2).
This article aims to share the good practices our team has come up with and share a comprehensive list of free to use tools that youth practitioners can easily use in order to innovate the learning processes.
INTERACTIVE PRESENTATIONS & MIND MAPPING TOOLS
When it comes to making creative and interactive presentations and/or mind mapping there are a lot of free tools worth trying out. We have mastered some of them during the implementation of the Digitize enterprise project:
Prezi is a presentation tool that can be used as an alternative to traditional slide making programs such as PowerPoint. Instead of slides, Prezi makes use of one large canvas that allows you to pan and zoom to various parts of the canvas and emphasize the ideas presented there. Prezi supports the use of text, images, and videos.
Canva is a free graphic design platform that allows you to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content without extensive editing knowledge or experience.
You can unleash your team’s creativity with Jamboard. Sketch your ideas whiteboard-style while benefiting from the access and connectivity of an interactive canvas. Drop images, add notes, and pull assets directly from the web while collaborating with team members from anywhere.
MindMeister is an online mind mapping application that allows its users to visualize, share and present their thoughts via the cloud.
Coggle is a freeware collaborative mind mapping web application. Coggle produces hierarchically structured documents, like a branching tree. This contrasts with other collaborative editors, like Google Docs, which provide either linear, or tabular document formats.
Popplet is a mind-mapping application and graphic organizer that helps students think and learn visually. With Popplet learners can capture facts, thoughts, ideas in different ways and immediately connect and visualize the relationships between them.
TOOLS FOR THE CREATION OF ENGAGING MEDIA
For our consortium, the results of this project are all about interactivity within digital education for entrepreneurship.
We have mastered using Nearpod that allows youth practitioners to create and use engaging media and formative assessments to make every lesson interactive for free.
Even more so, Podcasts are a new emerging technological product that is getting more and more popular among young people. So why not appeal to their interests and make the learning process fun and engaging!
VIDEOS & ANIMATIOS MAKERS
There are many great benefits when youth practitioners use visual aid for teaching, such as videos and animations. It’s a great way to keep the participants engaged and interested in the subject.
Explee is the free online tool that allows you to create engaging and memorable Animated videos.
Animaker is an online do-it-yourself (#DIY) animation video maker that brings studio quality presentations within everyone’s reach.
TED is the well-known organization that hosts its annual conference (TED Conference) and talks (TED Talks) covering a wide range of topics. However, it also has TED-Ed, an educational video library that allows you to create personalised lessons based on the numerous audio-visual resources included on its website or create them from scratch from videos on its YouTube channel.
FREEWARE – DIGITAL GAMES DEVELOPERS FOR BEGINNERS
The entire IO2 Virtual Learning Lab is centred around 10 entrepreneurship digital games that teach and promote entrepreneurship topics to youth. Our team has created 10 learning modules with multiple games and game-based challenges on entrepreneurship topics.
During our work, we have come to realize that one does not have to be a programmer or game developer to be able to create and design simple online games that can teach and inspire young people.
GDevelop is an open-source, cross-platform game engine that allows the user to create all kinds of digital games, including those with educational purposes. Software can be used to create quiz-based games, memory games, arcade games, role-playing games, strategy games and all kinds of gamified challenges for the purpose of gamifying learning processes.
CREATIVE ASSESMENTS METHODOLOGIES
Each of our project results, in terms of concrete learning resources has its own knowledge assessment methodology. We have invested a lot of research into making the assessment part of the learning processes as creative and engaging as the learning activities themselves. Having some free tools available online has come in handy for this.
Educaplay is a free educational games software that allows the user to create gamified activities and learn through game-based resources.
Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform, used as educational technology in schools and other educational institutions. Its learning games, “kahoots”, are user-generated multiple-choice quizzes that can be accessed via a web browser or the Kahoot app.
Example on how we used the software: https://www.educaplay.com/game/4668704-critical_thinking.html?fbclid=IwAR24uwNmb9WucBtGX0beyata-RekLX-c-3ro6Lu77udibhPWFvbhuofcK4o&sessid=4v7qoh4udomu1fndisoii2jd9q
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Last, but not least, even the tools you are using every day can be used to produce some creative learning resources.
Basic Power Point can easily be used to create interactive presentations and even game-based activities. It’s all about making your presentation interactive by adding buttons and other interactive PPT elements.
For starters it would be wise to check out this hands on tutorial with clear guidelines for creating interactive presentations: https://www.pitt.edu/…/Office2010Tutor…/2010Lesson10.pdf
Another every day tool you can use are Google Forms!
Our creative team has created an online escape room game that teaches entrepreneurship topics to youth and it’s entirely made via Google Forms.
There are many benefits to educational escape rooms, check out how you can easily create one for your students by using Google Forms.