Digital Design for Any Device

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Participate and share : Poster

Danielle Cowden  
Level up your digital design game with tools you can use on any device. You'll learn to create graphics, basic image compositing and more. Best of all, you can take these skills and teach your students. Every tool used is free and will work on PC, MAC, Chromebook and iPad.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Topic: Creativity & curation tools
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Career and technical education, Performing/visual arts
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students select and use digital tools to plan and manage a design process that considers design constraints and calculated risks.
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of my presentation is to empower teachers with knowledge and skills to use creation tools on nearly any device. This includes tools such as Figma and Pixlr. Every tool is free and works on nearly any device.

Instruction is a demonstration with discussion, supported by written step by step walkthroughs and available videos for later reference. Teachers are encouraged to make their own instructions available in these methods so that all learners can access in a way that works best for them.

Success is a teacher smiling, excited and happy about learning new tools they can use. This isn't as quantifiable and measurable as some would like. But our goal when we provide professional development to teachers should be to excite and empower them. That's something that's more seen in their reactions than it will be in any artifact they can create during the presentation.


Setting up our purpose (5 minutes) - Overview of the challenges we face, possible solution and the motivation for this session.

Different apps for different purposes (5 minutes)

Figma - Basic design for everyone (30 minutes)
This section is a rundown of Figma tools and how they can be used for quick layout and design. Attendees are led through a project design lesson. The goal is to give teachers tools they can easily implement so they can produce more professional looking work, and empower their students to do the same.

5 minute stretch break

Pixlr - Who needs Photoshop? Or how to remove your ex from your photos fast. (40 minutes)
This section is designed to get teachers excited about creating. It brings some of the methods we think of as being difficult or only for professionals and puts them in their hands through a compositing tutorial. This is the fun stuff we all want to do but too often teachers think they can't. The objective is to see that teachers can, and they can teach their students to as well.

Wrap up.

Supporting research

There is so much talk about design, design thinking and creativity in schools today. I could list hundreds of experts. My session comes back to the importance of visual communication for students in today's world. I'm going to be honest, I'm having a hard time finding an expert who zeros in on that topic. It's likely going to be my graduate thesis, so perhaps in a few years I will be that expert.

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Danielle Cowden, Crosstown High

Howdy! I teach design in the P-TECH program at Sachse High School in Garland ISD. I hold a BFA in Studio Art and am currently pursuing an MFA in Visual Communications. My goal as an educator is to empower and inspire my students to be creative problem solvers in everything they do. I also strive to do the same for my peers.

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