When asked to review and explore Web 2.0 tools that students can use to enhance a lesson, I never realized how many tools were actually out there! These tools allow for students to engage in a whole new form of creativity separate from their actual artistic talents. Cartoons are drawn for them, backgrounds are already created, all the student has to do is drag and drop pictures to create entertaining, yet educational projects! In addition, not only are these tools fun for the students to use, but they are easy, neat, and clear for a teacher to follow. Cacoo, a tool that allows users to create graphic organizers, time lines, flow charts, and more, enables students to make creative and clean organizers that can be shared digitally as well as printed out for use.
Cacoo creates interest in students as they are able to complete their work using an easy-to-use program that makes their work neat and readable while allowing them creativity that they may lack with a pencil and paper. Cartoon people, thought/speaking bubbles, and other graphics allow students who wouldn’t ordinarily include drawings, make their assignment more personal and artistic. While often artistic students who are able to design a creative project often take a lot of pride in their work, I believe programs that allow all students the ability to be creative and artistic that same ownership of their work. What is even better is that they are rehearsing what they have learned while they complete a fun assignment!
As an example lesson, if I wanted my students to follow up on the lesson “how a bill becomes a law”, I could have them create a flow chart that shows the process a bill goes through to become a law (click here to view an example, the screencast below shows an example of how to use Cacoo to make a flow chart). Using Cacoo enhances the “How A Bill Becomes A Law” by requiring the student to visualize the process in their own way. They can be creative about it by adding color and personality by including cartoons if they wish– or be simple by just using arrows and boxes. The purpose is to have the students engineer their own diagram of the process in a way that makes sense to them. When they revisit their own diagram, they will remember and understand it better.
This program, and others like it, fit right in with curriculum standards as they can enhance any lesson to make it fun, entertaining, and exciting. Feel free to check out my screencast on YouTube for a brief demonstration on how Cacoo can enhance your lesson!
(Objectives Coinciding with Maryland Political Science Requirements for Grade 8: 1.A3; Maryland Media State Curriculum: 3.c Record and Organize data in a variety of appropriate formats, 5.a Use a variety of formats to prepare
the findings/conclusions of the information need for sharing)
If the video below doesn’t work, click here to go to watch on YouTube.