A few weeks ago, I published a post about Cardboard Box Tools on Edutopia. The premise behind the article was the idea that children love to play with cardboard boxes because they are empty. A box could become anything, only limited by the child’s imagination. Therefore, when teachers start looking for apps or tools to use with students, one approach would be to seek out the digital equivalent: tools that are open ended, empty, and only limited by how the student chooses to use them. This morning, Simcha Schaum (@SimchaSchaum) tweeted the following:
I don’t disagree and thank Simcha for taking the time to raise the question. Actual cardboard could absolutely be used – and probably should be. Where the digital versions have value is in how the extend the audience and context of the physical boxes.
Cardboard Box + Explain Everything (iOS and Android)
One of my favorite things about Explain Everything is that it can be used to record and annotate on top of images as well as video. Students could create with cardboard, take pictures or video, and then annotate on top of that new media. This would allow them to offer reflections, explain their creative process, or archive their physical project – at some point, these projects will probably end up in a recycling bin… Additionally, incorporating Explain Everything can further extend the context of the literal cardboard box as students post their images or video online to share with others.
Cardboard Box + ThingLink (iOS and Web)
With ThingLink, students can create touchable images. Why not incorporate technology as a way to document the process or explain the design thinking behind the physical cardboard box creation. Students could take pictures of their cardboard projects and then add tags to explain design elements, offer up reflections, link to other images or videos to offer additional information, and share their creations with the world.
Cardboard Box + Padlet (any device)
One of my favorite uses of Padlet is to create a digital gallery. Imagine a digital museum exhibit of all of the students’ cardboard creations! Students could display their work, and even have an opportunity to offer comments, suggestions, or feedback on the work of their peers.
The Role of the Real World in a Digital Classroom
Last spring, Greg Kulowiec (@gregkulowiec) and I co-authored this post to explore the relationship between the physical and the digital. We realized that when talking with teachers about bringing mobile devices into their classrooms, they often express concerns that connections to the physical world are being sacrificed by over-emphasizing the digital. We didn’t disagree. While I realize that my Edutopia post described ways in which to incorporate digital tools into the curriculum, that is not to say that there isn’t immense value in having students create in the physical world. Where the digital comes into play may be in how it allows for editing, remixing, improving and publishing. However, that is not to say that the physical world plays any less of a significant role.