According to Miriam-Webster, technology is the “application of knowledge to the practical aims of human life or to changing and manipulating the human environment…Whereas science is concerned with how and why things happen, technology focuses on making things happen.”

An instructional designer uses a variety of technological tools to create content that is the best fit for instructors, students, and the institution; they also must evaluate the use of current technology and seek out more efficient or more powerful forms.

In the area of technology, an instructional designer does well to stay curious, always on the lookout fo rnew, improved, or more practical tech, while not being pulled and swayed by each shiny new toy. Landing somewhere between experience and expertise with a wide range of applications, a designer’s toolbox must be filled with tech that suits the needs of each course, lesson, instructor, and student.


Animated Videos: A Powerful Teaching Technology

Using technology to tell stories, animated videos are a powerful tool for students of all ages. After reflecting on possible uses in my Adult Education classes, I created a trailer and an introduction video using both Powtoon and Doodly. In the future, I’d like to develop a set of characters to use throughout a course as real-life models for the students. Click each artifact below to watch, read, or learn more.

This infographic on animated videos as a tool in transformative learning gets to the heart of why I love technology. A compelling story elicits emotions, reactions, and deep thinking. Videos can be compelling to watch, can invite learners in, and can be a tool to say something a teacher may not be able to say in person. Animated videos don’t require actors and costumes and sets, so they are accessible to all designers. When you combine the storytelling and videos, you can draw your learners into transformative learning, where they are confronted with questions, perspectives, and ideas that have the ability to change their thinking.
Click the image to zoom in.

Tech Talk is an artificial intelligence, personalized learning course I created for my adult education students. This trailer was the first animated video I created, using the tool Powtoon. It is designed as a trailer that can run during the intake process, so it’s intentionally without speech.

After I used Powtoon for school, I knew I wanted an animated video program for the College and Career Readiness Center. Powtoon’s price was out of reach, but I discovered Doodly and we purchased it. This video – made with Doodly – introduces students to their Canvas courses for the College and Career Readiness center. It’s a vital piece for them because many will go on to start college once they earn their High School Equivalency Certificate, and they will need to know how to use Canvas.

Multimedia Design: General

So much more than a trend, Multimedia Design is the future of education, especially for generations that have technology at their fingertips and who desire to have a modern education that matches their daily lives. There are thousands of tools for designers – more than I can imagine. But each tool I use has a place and purpose and prepares me to use the next one.

Podcasts are a welcome change from text-heavy classes. They give students a feel for the personality of an online teacher, and are a more open-ended form of communication. When students use podcasts as the format for turning in an assignment, they get to express themselves without the confines of writing or page limits. This is a short, sample podcast episode created for a Multimedia Development course.

Adobe Express (formerly Adobe Spark) is one of a long list of excellent Adobe products. The stated goal is to enable creators to use beautiful templates for quick, visually-appealing content. While it’s not the right application for every project, Adobe Express is intuitive, with a short learning curse, and I came to love it.

The project displayed below is meaningful beyond technology – it’s the first installment in a life-long project of sharing my grandfather’s WWII journals with the world.

Day By Day

Creating face-recording or screencast videos can seem like an overwhelming task for educators. But not only are they effective in instruction and connection, they also speak the language of the younger generations who get their information from YouTube and TikTok videos.

Other Applications of Technology in Education

Beyond teacher-student interaction, technology connects students to their peers and instructors or designers to their colleagues. Click each artifact below to watch how videos can be used for a multitude of other applications.

In one of my graduate school classes, one of my classmates asked how I’ve used technology to build online relationships with students. In this video I give three methods: Instructor-Created Content, Video Feedback, and Video Responses to Student Questions. This video was not an assignment, but a response to a classmate’s question, and I hope it also serves as a model of the power a quick video, not edited to perfection, that addresses a specific question, which can be used by teachers but also by students to respond to each other.

In the same way, we can use videos to share information with other educators. I recorded this screenshare video to teach my fellow instructors how they could create a lesson in Google Classroom. They were thankful because they had a video they could go back to over and over and start and stop when they needed to.