Supporting the “4 Cs” of Instruction with Creativity and Video

Delia DeCourcy

Books have always been an essential part of education. From picture books that help kindergarteners learn their ABCs to five-pound trigonometry textbooks, students read books to reinforce the lessons their teachers are presenting and help that knowledge soak deeper into their brains.

But seventh and eighth graders in Shady Hanna’s classes in the Ottawa Catholic School Board have flipped that traditional educational model on its head: They’re using digital books to show Mr. Hanna how deeply they understand topics.

For his science, English, and French classes, Mr. Hanna created a digital book using Book Creator, a Chromebook creativity app, that covered the topics they would be learning in class. He left blank spaces for students to put in their work after they researched the topic and found the answer. For one example, he asked students to find an image for the different types of physical systems and then place the images in blank boxes.

Bringing elements into the digital books is easy because Book Creator integrates music, YouTube, PDFs, spreadsheets, code creation, and more, and students just need to work two buttons throughout the process. Students would add pages to show their expanded knowledge on the subject, delete pages they found redundant, or modify pages as they saw fit. 

For the students, this was a lot more engaging than writing longhand in a notebook off a smartboard or even typing on a computer. Students were able to work on their books from home or in-person with the same experience, which is essential for ensuring educational continuity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. And book building taps into the four Cs approach to teaching that Mr. Hanna (like many other teachers) uses, which emphasizes communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.

Tap into Students’ Natural Storytelling Habits

When their peers are interested in a project they created, students are more motivated to do well. We know from experience that peer interest and interactions drive improved engagement, quality of work, and interest in school.

Book Creator provides a blank canvasor rather, a blank “page”—for that. Drawing on a vast library of teacher-approved media resources, students can add a mix of text, video, audio, and images to create a unique digital book that demonstrates their knowledge and critical thinking on any topic. If the blank page is overwhelming, Book Creator provides templates—including the fun and popular “comic” template that creates a comic-book look—to kickstart the process.

Students can even record their own audio and video directly in the program or import it from social media platforms. (It’s called “app smashing” when you use two or more apps together to create a project or complete a task.) Book Creator integrates with all kinds of content, such as embedded music, PDFs, spreadsheets, code creation, and more.

Teachers can turn on collaboration on individual Book Creator projects to allow teamwork on the same digital book at the same time across different devices. This facilitates classroom-wide engagement, small groups, or one-and-one collaboration.

Creating the digital book requires just two buttons, keeping the process simple. Publishing is effortless and immediate, with completed work easily shared with teachers, classmates, and parents.

Simplicity for Teachers and Administrators, As Well

The software’s flexibility and capability to enable educational continuity is why Lenovo is partnering with Book Creator. Lenovo is dedicated to helping you maintain the same learning experiences remotely as in-person, and Book Creator facilitates that. Because of this partnership, Lenovo users can make a single purchase of Book Creator licenses with Chrome device purchase or post-purchase.

Book Creator offers simplicity for IT teams, as well. It integrates with Google Classroom and other school tools, and a Google Cloud partnership enables control via Google Admin Console. Buying and rolling out new licenses—and ensuring you’re only paying for what students and teachers are using—is super easy. Administrators can install them with the click of a button in the Google App Hub, activate and assign licenses to different users, and track usage throughout the school year—all from the Google Admin Console.

Easy to deploy and manage on your best-in-class Lenovo Chromebooks, Book Creator provides crucial support for the four Cs of learning—empowering students like those in Mr. Hanna’s classes to unlock their potential while learning through creative exploration.

Creating Educational Videos—Problematic and Limited?

Well, maybe not. Using WeVideo’s cloud-based app, combined with downloadable mobile apps, teachers can deploy a common digital foundation for creating, editing, and viewing videos. WeVideo is an easy-to-use, online, cloud-based video editing platform that works in Web browsers and mobile devices. Because it’s a cloud-based solution, your students just need a license, not the physical software, to get all the video capability of a PC on a Chromebook. And their projects are stored securely in the cloud, which—besides protecting the project from a hardware failure—also facilitates real-time collaboration.

A Little More About WeVideo

WeVideo offers teachers a way to consistently maintain engagement with students while at the same time honing students’ skills in critical competencies like communication, innovation, collaboration, critical thinking, and community building.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers are striving to maintain continuity in education, but many aren’t accepting hard copy assignments. Instead, they’re giving students more freedom to choose how to structure their projects. Along with creating their own digital books, one of the favorites for today’s students is video projects. And when teachers give students that freedom, the results can blow you away.

WeVideo offers the same experience in an in-person classroom setting as in a remote setting, which makes it a great solution for creating a seamless learning experience, regardless of where students are learning and what instruction model you’re using. Lenovo is committed to helping schools ensure educational continuity, which is why they partnered with WeVideo.

WeVideo includes project templates, collaboration tools, secure storage in the cloud, and a built-in media library with licensed and royalty-free images, video, and music clips. Students can drag and drop video elements; arrange, trim, and splice clips together; add text and audio; stylize their video using a WeVideo theme; then export and sync it through the cloud. With the click of a button, they can share the final product on, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

There’s a simplified version with just one timeline to edit for younger students. Older students can have an unlimited number of video and audio layers, allowing them to create elaborate videos with tight editing for concise storytelling.

WeVideo is easy to learn, but if students get stuck while building their videos, they can turn to the one- to three-minute online videos and on-demand webinars on the WeVideo website that give users more details about using advanced features.

Easy to Use and Compliant with Privacy Requirements

WeVideo promotes deeper learning while making it fun and easy for students to safely express their ideas with creativity and authenticity. It’s easy to learn, it works with Google Classroom, and provisioning and managing WeVideo is easy for administrators through the Google Admin Console.

Because it’s compliant with privacy regulations, WeVideo ensures a safe cloud environment for student content and collaboration. To ensure student privacy, no data about them is collected, stored, or shared. School account administrators can control student memberships, how they can share projects and their media, and what other activities they interact with among each other. Now, your students are just as engaged in learning about the Green Revolution as they are in crafting a dance to the latest trending song. That’s a pretty good story.

Delia DeCourcy is an education leader with over 25 years of experience in leading transformation, developing dynamic programs, and effectively managing projects to achieve desired outcomes.