Creativity in Teaching & Learning using ICT : The Digital Classroom

November 9, 2018

Course Review

Creativity in Teaching & Learning using ICT : The Digital Classroom

Teaching for the future

By: Cher Gleeson Quinlan

As part of the Europe 2020 Initiative to promote digital literacy, skills and inclusion the Digital Agenda for Europe has been designed to meet the crisis of a shortage of employees with digital skills across the EU. To do this they are focusing on developing CCR (concept of creative classrooms) which will distribute information and encourage collaboration and critical thinking in learners. A huge part of this is down to tutors being open to upskilling particularly in the areas of digital media and IT to create live evolving digital ecosystems in their classrooms.

Course objective:

  • Defining ICT usage in education with its benefits
  • To use a more creative approach to teaching through the introduction and more seamless integration of ICT in our classrooms.
  • To enable teachers to use Web2.0 technologies every day in their classrooms for every subject enhancing learning through a more digital classroom
  • To provide teachers with practical ideas as to how they can incorporate technology into their existing lessons
  • To familiarise teachers with Web2.0 if they aren’t already using it
  • Giving a space for exchange of ideas and good practise among people from different cultures who work in the same field
  • Developing actively and constructively students involvement in the work at class
  • Encouraging students to take ownership of their learning
  • Improving teamwork skills, cooperative and collaborative learning process via ICT
  • Sharing of best practise ideas if already using ICT and digital media at any level


As a digital media, photography, art and communications tutor for over 10 years with TETB, I was keen to do the mobility with The Cervantes Institute at Alcala De Henares Madrid. I wanted to learn new techniques and strategies to keep learners engaged and improve technology skills. In preparation for the course provider Cervantes Institute provided a detailed breakdown of the course and the town in which it was situated. As I have a keen interest in art and photography I booked a hotel in the old town the Cervantes Institute recommended accommodation suitable for my interests via email exchanges and this was invaluable. I arrived in Alcala early on Sunday so I had a great opportunity to explore the town and meet some of the locals before the course started



Our first day was one of induction primarily and the topic discussed was;

Are we teaching for the future?

There were 30 participants from countries such as Portugal, Turkey, Romania, Cyprus, Italy, Germany and Latvia we discussed the current use of ICT in our educational institutes and the resources available to tutors in each country. I found this particularly interesting Latvia was the most advanced with their city councils supporting education through the provision of laptops and digital equipment for E Classes. Portugal educational institutions provide 1 laptop per 5 learners. Teachers from Turkey were quite frustrated with the fact that they have Digital equipment and whiteboards etc but have not been trained to use them. In Romania teaching staff have 1 laptop between 6 teachers and the internet is dial up so slow speeds are a huge problem.


We then compiled individual lists of what digital equipment we use in our practise and how we use them, mine was as follows:

Cher Quinlan Digital Media, Photography & Communications


EQUIPMENT USE Provider of equipment
Camera – Canon EOS1300D Recording of still images for LOs in Communications Module

Photography and evaluation of projects and community education Programmes documentation of TETB events

Canon Camcorder Documentation of LOs in Communications and digital media & photography and documentation of TETB events. I use the camcorder in the background from week 1 in communications for discussions etc so learners are comfortable with it by the time they have to do 1-1s and role plays etc self
Dictaphone Voiceovers for Communications module for reflective journal reading (I have a more creative approach to this module) and voiceovers for still image slideshows. Recording of voiceovers for learners to share stories etc to introduce the concept of being recorded for evaluation before using camcorder to decrease nerves self
Laptop To create lesson plans and demonstrate software such as Picasa, Movie studio. Voice tech etc to learners and to edit my work self
MP3 Player To store recordings portably and for Learning outcomes in Digital media Module self


The core message of the first class was that Technology is changing we are now using web 2.0 and as I have observed and commented at a previous TETB CPD date we are teaching digital natives as well as digital immigrants now and need to be prepared for the same. Our Cervantes tutor agreed and stated that the net generation are highly motivated to learn any subject if learning is presented in a more interactive way. Engaging todays students means excellent interpersonal skills are required and an ability to observe and tap into what interests each student at the start of the course and using this information to make all subjects appealing and relevant, this is of particular importance to older learners who may be apprehensive of technology. The use of ICT and technology is also now seen as essential when working with those learners with poorer literary skills an approach I would have always found beneficial and more conducive to good LOs for learners. We looked at statistics as to what employers now consider important when hiring in the workforce they require creative divergent thinkers and we need to use technology to foster these skills


Work Ethic 80%
Ability to Collaborate on tasks and projects 75%
Good Communication Skills 75%
Ability to use and adapt to use of technology 70%
Social Media Reputation 69%
Critical thinking

Problem solving




Practical Workshops Day 2 and 3

In these workshops we focused on how the use of ICT could potentially replace the need for tutors in learning centres as we know them as people gain access to online learning and how we need to increase our skills to make our work more interactive. We discussed the importance of our process being documented and measurable through ICT and digital media not just on paper and in statistics as we are dealing with students familiar with Web 2.0 accessible information that they can contribute to at any time of day. We need to encourage students to share, collaborate, compare and publish results and lead by example placing samples of previous years activities on online forums or social media specifically for their age groups and courses which they can access and contribute to so that it is regularly updated. We need to show them how to create social media groups as platforms for collaboration using Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, Blogger and Edmodo. And to use these apps effectively and safely we need to teach personal responsibility when online in the creation of their digital footprint and to create social media values and in general build their digital citizenship skills.


As our learners start their day and turn on their phones they are bombarded with information from news to social media, texting, photos etc before they even come to our centres. They have access to information on anything, can find that information anytime, and can access and distribute it anywhere. We as tutors are no longer the main source of information so we need to ensure learners know how to use these platforms effectively to access information from reputable sites. Learners need to learn how to project their business and or products effectively using visual imagery etc. on Instagram, flickr etc. We were also encouraged to participate in courses ourselves that use Blackboard effectively and Screencaster to experience learning in a digital environment (I would have to add here that the TCCE CPD course I did last year through TETB at Carlow IT was invaluable for me as they used blackboard more effectively than most colleges).


Over these two days we were working with the programmes and apps listed below. I found these workshops excellent. They were delivered in a practical manner and we learned how to create simple websites and pages to use with learners.


The advantages of using Weebly are

    • Free (for up to 5 pages)
    • Open Source
    • Uses a simple drag and drop interface
    • Contains 70+ design templates
    • No advertisements
    • You can edit and update pages
    • It’s the fastest and easiest way to create a website
    • When you present your class work this way it takes the fear out for the learners and as they familiarise with the presentation of information and linking etc it becomes a good way for them to create work
  • I would see this as excellent for communications covering a lot of the LOs and could be used for assessment of uploaded digital media, written content or photography work condensed into a few pages




The advantages of using Edmodo

    • Free
    • Familiar interface similar to Facebook
    • Social learning platform
    • Encourages responsible online behaviour and etiquette
    • Shy withdrawn learners can speak to teachers privately
    • Excellent quiz builder, poll builder and role play activity
    • A useful platform for peer review of group and individual work
    • Class information and links to relevant material for research can be posted
    • Homework/Assignments can be posted and accepted online as a “sub-hub”
    • Can be used to create an online study group
    • Create digital student profiles and up to 40 user accounts
    • Uses badges which students can earn to encourage them to push their learning
  • Again could be used for assessment of uploaded work condensed into a few pages
  • Connect to other classrooms using Edmodo BLOGGER



    • The advantages of using Blogger
    • Free
    • Frequently updated and alerts followers that you have updated on events due dates for assignments and lesson breakdown
    • Publish assignments
    • Simple, students can create their own easily
    • A useful literacy tactic
    • Good blogs by tutors with relevant links that can be accessed at home can lead to discussion on topics
    • From maths, healthcare, English to arts blogging is a great way to distribute knowledge and have students comment on and share views online
    • Encourages positive online behaviour
    • Encourages digital networking
    • Relaxed form of writing suitable for using to create learners journal etc and easily accessed for assessment of same The advantages of using twitter
    • Twitter
    • Free
    • Tweet homework, deadlines and assignments
    • Helps to form a connected compact group
    • Increases responsiveness in learners
    • Can be used to advertise, inform, share, respond and invite
    • Learners can Subscribe to relevant hashtags to evoke discussion and encourage socialisation
    • Sharing links and information
    • Good for summarising, people tend to stay on point due to character limits
    • Link to polls and survey monkey
  • In communications modules learners could work collaboratively on a piece of writing such as a letter etc line by line
  • Uploading of imagery and media and general content for assessmentAt the end of these workshops we were told to work in groups using one of the above to create a page or profile with links etc and to present our work to our fellow learners and tutors on the final day of the course. We decided to work in weebly.





Day 4 Final Practical workshop Gamification in education


In this workshop we were introduced to the concept of gamification in education using specific apps and games which can be used to increase a groups energy, as an icebreaker and /or for revision.

My favourite was Plickers which lets you collect realtime formative assessment data using your smartphone and a set of numbered plicker cards which work like QR codes. Each learner gets a numbered card which when held in different positions serves as A, B, C or D answers in response to questions. Your phone is held with Plickers camera on and the app scans which cards are in the right position i.e. which students know the answers and identifies them by their number to scan the cards to see who has the right answers. This is a great way to assess if a topic is fully understood before moving on.


                                                           Advantages of Plickers

  • Free
  • Gives the students who are more self-conscious a chance to answer questions
  • Collects data quickly allowing you to move on when you know a topic is understood
  • Can be used for any subject
  • Game like so it lightens the mood and increases the energy when a group is flagging
  • Easy to use and implement


On the final day we presented our Weebly page Three Teachers from Tipperary


We worked together to create different aspects of the page I created the image and collage for the page and fonts etc. Sinead published and Michelle sourced links and set up digital presentation for whiteboard we each presented our own page to the other learners.


We each created a basic profile with a link to our hometowns on Youtube a digital image of ourselves in Madrid, a landmark from our own towns and a link to the TETB homepage. Our presentation was very well received and the feedback was good from peers and tutors. Following presentations by other learner groups we received our certificates.


On reflection

The week was very enjoyable and the course was very informative. The concepts and ideas are easy to use and implement and would benefit tutors and their learners in any subject. I really enjoyed meeting teachers from other countries and cultures and the opportunity to exchange ideas with them. Although a good working knowledge of English was stated as a prerequisite for the course one particular group of learners had little or no English and worked in a large group in their own language with one of them translating, this was very distracting and their lack of punctuality became quite disruptive at times.


Our practise – I feel the current Digital media module falls short as its based more on Web 1.0 and the LOs are outdated. Web 2.0 is user generated, interactive, open source. We have the potential with ICT as a community of tutors and learners to contribute, collaborate and elaborate on content more


In my own practise I would see Weebly and blogger as having huge potential with the communications and digital media modules for learning outcomes and also as a more condensed platform for assessment. Discussions could be based on relevant Ted Talks, pod casts and you tube clips to cover different topics.

I also had the chance to see examples of development of mosaics from Roman occupation of Alcala through to modern art use of mosaic at The archaeology museum and the Cervantes museum I worked on a large representative mosaic with a mental health group on my return. My confidence has improved using technology and apps and I can see huge potential for increase in engagement of learners when they have the opportunity to use them I am currently discussing an online collaboration with our community education facilitator for another project with community groups for mental health week using either Weebly or Edmodo


Moving Forward – We as educators need to provide meaningful and powerful content to encourage learners and our lessons need to be relevant, challenging and engaging.


We need to prepare learners for their future not our past


Cher Quinlan

Tipperary ETB

Digital media, Communications, Photography, Art & Crafts

Irish Teaching Council Registered No. 184046                                              

Cover for our Weebly page designed by Cher Quinlan
Cher’s Introduction to her part of presentation with Michelle setting up the links for the whiteboard
Cervantes Institute staff with students


Michelle, Sinead and Cher in class
Sinead’s introduction to our page and her presentation

Sinead, Cher and Michelle at Madrid Palace



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