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Create to Learn in the Classroom: Digital Literacy Development Through Doing

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 118A

Explore and create: Exploratory Creation lab
Preregistration Required
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Assistant Professor, English Education
Brigham Young University
Johnny Allred is a former high school English language arts teacher and currently works as Assistant Professor of English Education at BYU. His research centers on digital literacies and dialogic pedagogy.

Session description

In this session, the presenter will describe "Create to Learn" pedagogies and share examples illustrating how his preservice English-teaching students have demonstrated their learning by creating a variety of multimodal projects. Attendees will choose an exemplar "Create to Learn" project to guide their own creation process during the session.

Purpose & objective

Students need to spend more time in the classroom as active learners, experimenting, building, creating, and remixing. Emphasizing digital creation, this session presents a variety of digital projects that position students as active learners and doers, agents of their learning. The presenter will share several of his students’ “Create to Learn” multimodal projects: video stories, podcasts, song analyses, critical analyses of social media influencers, and more. Attendees will learn about a variety of specific digital tools, like Adobe Express, Clipchamp, Screencastify, and Anchor. They will then develop their abilities with one tool that they choose from among the examples, be given time to experiment with that tool, and ultimately leave with concrete examples and ideas for their own specific settings that empower students as creators.

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The session will begin with an introduction to “Create to Learn” projects as the presenter shows student examples made by a group of preservice English teachers (20 minutes). Then, the bulk of the session will be an active lab experience: attendees will first choose one of the example projects that they would like to start creating, and they will get familiar with the digital tool while the presenter circulates to help each attendee with any potential technological learning curve (10 minutes). The session will then ramp up into full creation mode: each attendee will work on their digital project, with guidance from the presenter and grouping with others using the same tool (20 minutes). Finally, the whole group will come back together to reflect on the process and consider implications for their various educational settings (10 minutes).

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Supporting research

"Create to Learn" (Hobbs, 2017)

Renee Hobbs, Media Education Lab

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Session specifications

Project-, problem- & challenge-based learning
Grade level:
Skill level:
Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty
Attendee devices:
Devices required
Attendee device specification:
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Because the session offers attendee choice, this will best be done during the introductory segment, after they have selected the specific tool they will use.
Subject area:
Language arts
ISTE Standards:
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.