Clark’s journal, which helped them to
interactively build their knowledge of
the expedition. These learning activities also provided formative and summative assessment opportunities for
students’ content understanding.
Understanding her students’ learning needs and preferences, access to
technological resources, and experience in using different types of learning activities helped Bray select the
particular combination described
above. She noted that using the activity-types approach to instructional
planning helped ensure that knowledge-building and both convergent
and divergent knowledge-expression
activities were included and sequenced appropriately in the lesson.
Graphic Design Online
Invitation for Collaboration
Given continual changes in curricula
and available resources, the range of
social studies learning activity types
and the technologies that can support
them will change over time. We invite
you to help us expand, refine, and
revise the social studies learning activity-types taxonomy. To contribute,
please visit the Activity Types Wiki
Social+Studies) and share your ideas
via the online survey posted there.
exciting careers are waiting for creative students interested in computer-aided graphic design,
but the cost of Photoshop and Fireworks is too high for many teachers
to purchase these programs for their
classrooms. I discovered a solution:
a burgeoning number of Web applications for artists. Web apps—computer
programs delivered online—eliminate
the need to gain administrator privileges to use the program, and many
of them are free. With a connection
speed of at least 56K and the proper
plug-ins (Flash, Java, and Shock-wave), students can go online and get
started immediately. During a two-week enrichment class last summer,
I tested these apps with middle school
students and discovered that they
enhanced student creativity while
meeting national arts and technology
We offer special thanks to Julie Bray for her assistance in testing and vetting the social studies
activity types as well as for her willingness to
share her instructional practices.
Mark Hofer is an associate pro- fessor of educational technology at the College of William & Mary. He partners with class- room teachers in using technol- ogy to support curriculum-based teaching and learning.
Judi Harris is the Pavey Fam- ily Chair in educational tech- nology at the College of Wil- liam & Mary. Her teaching and research focus on K– 12 curriculum-based technology integration, telementoring,
and teacher professional development.
Apps for Artistic Types
The National Art Gallery’s NGA Kids
Art Zone is an online laboratory of
artistic exploration. We used the Art
Zone’s Brushster program to create
abstract art. Students used Brushster
to learn how to modify paintbrush size
and shape as well as paint opacity. The
ArtZone also offers exploration in collage design, 3D objects, and kinetic art.
The students loved HeroMachine,
which made them all cartoonists
despite their varied drawing skills.
HeroMachine allows students to
choose from a variety of clothing and
accessory options to create their own
superheros. Using HeroMachine, students learned to adjust the order of
various layers. We extended this activity into language arts by encouraging
students to write stories about their
heromachine allows students to choose from a variety of clothing and accessory options to create their own superheroes.
superheroes. (A warning about this
program: It contains weapons and
stereotyped female clothing options
and may not be appropriate for
Next we were on to photo editing.
Students used Fotoflexer to change
colors, sharpen lines, delete portions
of images, and apply filters. Students
can import the original photos from
Facebook and MySpace, and post
the finished creations on those sites
as well. Students were able to use
the Aniboom Shapeshifter to make
frame-by-frame animations, though
we had trouble with the save feature
at this site.
By Jill M. Olthouse