Are your kids excited about writing an old-fashioned book report or creating a tri-fold board to show off what they’ve learned? Those standby projects will probably never disappear, but as homeschoolers who want to prepare students for the future, there are amazing digital alternatives! Read on to learn all about them.
If you aren’t a tech-savvy mom who tries out the latest and greatest digital platforms, you may have no idea what is available for your students. I do love new digital and online programs, but I haven’t used many of the newest options with my kids. Before I tell you what I learned from my guest Beth Napoli of TechieHomeschoolMom, I want to share the benefits of having your kids use these digital alternatives for projects.
Why Use Digital Alternatives for Student Projects?
First, they’re motivating to most kids. Kids may be so interested in learning to use a new platform that they don’t realize they’re doing the work of writing a report or creating a timeline. The second reason is related: bonus learning takes place when students learn to use a digital device or program. If your child needs the device or program to do something in particular, the tutorials will become a part of the process. Learning to use a new program is a vital life skill for the digital age. If your students learn how to teach themselves how to use a new platform now, learning another one later will be much less challenging. The final reason I believe that having your students use digital alternatives is because they’ll learn valuable career skills. Simply mastering one of these platforms opens the door to a skill that will make your student more employable or even to a business while your child is still in school. I have paid people to create graphics for me using one of the platforms I will mention below. I hope you’re excited to learn more!
If you’re worried that you will have to learn the platform too, rest assured that while you could learn along with your child, you don’t have to. My kids often teach me tricks for using tools I thought I’d mastered. Your students can move on without you.
What are Some Digital Alternatives to Traditional Student Projects?
Canva. Canva is the free graphic program I use to create most of the graphics you see on this blog. I’ve also used it to teach the kids in our co-op. I assigned them the project of creating a flyer for a business (why pay someone when you can do this yourself?) and creating an advertisement. Beth Napoli mentioned having students create infographics to summarize what they’ve learned. You could also have your student create quote graphics for a historical figure or favorite quotes from a book they are reading. Canva has presentation templates too.
Emaze. I haven’t used Emaze with my students, but Beth has had her kids create a travel journal for Ancient Greece. This would be a fantastic way to share what is learned in a world or US geography study as well. Beth has also used Amaze to create a 3D interactive art gallery. Amaze is truly an amazing tool!
Prezi. Prezi can be used for multiple purposes, but Beth had her kids create a digital timeline with it. My high school student created a paper timeline that spanned two walls of our basement and had to be kept up all year! I really wish I had had him use Prezi instead.
Animaker. This software can be used to create animated videos. Instead of a long report, have your students create a video on a topic and then share it to YouTube. Your kids will not only learn themselves but can help teach other students, too.
Where Can You Start with Using Digital Alternatives to Traditional Student Projects?
Beth has created a list of 25 free webtools for creating digital student projects for our subscribers. Click below to claim your list.
You can choose a project and one platform and get started.
But you can also make digital projects even easier by enrolling your student in an online unit study. Unit studies have been my preferred way of teaching for 17 years. They’re not boring, they involve teaching multiple subjects, and they reach students with all learning styles. The problem is they can be a lot of work to create yourself. Beth’s Online Unit Studies have done all the work for you. Using an all-in-one digital platform where students can watch videos, read material, and share what they’ve learned, your students can see their progress in each study. Your child will learn not only the subject that you want to study but how to use these digital platforms as well.
Until now, you would have to plan which unit study you wanted to use and pay for it individually. But with the Kickstarter campaign that you can participate in, you can purchase an all-access pass. What that means is that for one low price you can have access to any and all unit studies (even future studies!) for a month to ten years! I would have saved so much money with an all-access pass to online unit studies had the technology been available. Don’t wait, though. A limited number of all-access passes are available.
Have you used a digital alternative to traditional student projects that you enjoyed?