How can and should schools use social media?

Currently, the only social media site I use in my classroom is Twitter, and I have to admit that I don’t use that very often.  I have tried to find some new ways of using it the last year or two though. One way I have incorporated Twitter was to post different handles onto my class webpage as widgets.  In this way, every time a student visits my webpage, they can see a live Twitter feed running at the top of the page. I have weather feeds for my weather unit, geology feeds for my geology unit, and so on.  I have tried to find some feeds that provide interesting posts and reliable information for my students to check out. So far, I have had a lot of positive feedback from the students. Many of them seem to enjoy looking through the feeds when they have some free time in class.  They like that they are able to explore on their own and check out what interests them without direction from me. Besides these widgets, I don’t really use Twitter in my class very often. I would like to start using it more, I just need to find the time to explore it more myself and figure out where it will fit into my class.

My school’s policy on inappropriate technology use generally covers the types of things you’d see in any acceptable use policy.  It basically boils down to students being responsible and respectful, not sharing private information, and not destroying any hardware.  Failure to follow these guidelines results in disciplinary action that ranges from technology privileges being revoked to expulsion and arrest.  I believe though, that in today’s society, my school needs to have a more detailed policy on cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is quickly becoming one of the biggest problems schools face today.  With all the technology students have access to both at school and at home, it is all too easy for them to abuse it and harm other students. I would like to see my school update their acceptable technology use contract to include more topics related to cyberbullying and abuse.  I believe having students involved in this process would be extremely beneficial to the students themselves, the school staff, and the community as a whole. When students are included in the decision making process, they feel invested and more likely to buy in to the idea of using technology appropriately.  When they are left out of the process, they are more likely to disregard rules and regulations.

As I’ve mentioned above, I believe that cyberbullying is a huge problem in today’s schools.  It is extremely important that school staff learn to recognize signs that cyberbullying is taking place.  One way that I believe is helpful for staff members to learn more about cyberbullying and how to deal with it is to undergo training on the subject.  The training can be done in various ways, but I think one of the more convenient ways is to use an online training program. My school currently uses the Global Compliance Network (GCN) for online training in many areas such as bloodborne pathogens and diabetes awareness.  It would be fairly simple to add cyberbullying to the list of trainings staff members must complete. Completing a program like this would go a long way towards helping teachers and staff learn to recognize signs of cyberbullying in the school and provide strategies to deal with it.

EEND 677 Artifact 2 – Video Book Trailer

I have chosen to include my video book trailer as my second artifact for this class.  I’ve included this because I’m extremely proud of what I have created using WeVideo.  This was probably the most challenging part of the class for me.  Before putting this project together, I had very little experience using WeVideo.  I had used it for recording myself, but never for a project like this where I had to use so many different effects and themes.  While it took me quite a while to complete, and it is far from perfect, I’m very happy with how it turned out.

The biggest challenge for me during this project was finding the animation I wanted to use.  I wanted something that would capture people’s attention and keep them interested in the video.  I thought about creating my own animation for the project, but I ended up using already available images.  It was also difficult getting the audio to sync up with the animations the way I wanted, but after some work I was able to figure it out well enough to make it work.  Again, the video is far from perfect, but I think it works well for my first try.

I’m always on the lookout for ways to get my students interested in science, and I want to “create a story in a way that entertains, evokes emotion, and connects them with a wider audience” (Wylie, 2017).  I think making book trailers accomplishes this and is something I could definitely use now that I have some experience with it.  I have a wide variety of science books and stories I’m always trying to get my students to pick up and read, but it is hard to get them interested just by talking about it.  I think making a few video book trailers could really do the trick with some of my students. If they can see what I see when I’m talking about a book, I know some of them will buy in.  I can make the videos and easily post them to my school website. If I can get some of my students to read the books related to topics we’re learning about, I would be thrilled.

Before I took this class, I had never heard of a video book trailer.  I am very happy that I was able to learn something that can be very useful in my classroom.  I’m also very happy that I was forced out of my comfort zone and was exposed to trying something new and different.  I feel like it has really been helping me grow as a teacher. This project in particular has given me the confidence to try to make more videos like this for my students.  Hopefully, it will get my students more interested in the topics I teach. I can’t wait to create another one very soon.

References:

Tell your story. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.wevideo.com/

Wylie, J. (2017, April 29). Getting Creative With Video in the Classroom. Retrieved from https://jonathanwylie.com/2017/02/26/getting-creative-with-video-in-the-classroom/

EEND 677 Artifact 1 – Parent Newsletter

I’ve chosen to include the parent newsletter I developed during the 677 class.  “Everyone knows that maintaining effective communication between parents and teachers is the key to student success” (Effective Communication, n.d.).  I took this opportunity to learn to use an online newsletter creator, Smore, in order to try a new way of communicating with my parents.  I was very pleased with how easy the program was to use and I was very happy with my final product.  I think it does a great job of updating my parents about what is going on in my classroom, and what they should be expecting their child to be working on.

Creating a Smore newsletter was actually much easier and faster than I expected.  They have many different templates that you can choose from and then it’s just a matter of putting in your own content.  One of the challenging parts of creating this newsletter for me was making something that parents would actually want to look at and read.  I didn’t want my newsletter to be disregarded right away as just more junk. It was difficult to chose something that was catchy and informative all at the same time.  I think that by the end though, my final newsletter hit the mark pretty well.

Now that I’m familiar with making and using online newsletters, it is something I will definitely use more in my classroom.  I can create them and then share them with parents through social media or email very easily. Because Smore offers me the ability to look at who has viewed my newsletter, I can check to see how many people are reading my updates.  I can judge the effectiveness of my newsletters and adjust if needed.

While working through this class, I’ve learned quite a bit about effective parent-teacher communication.  Learning to create my own online newsletter is something that I would never have done on my own. It is such a powerful tool to use for communication with parents that I am extremely grateful that I was exposed to it, and had an opportunity to try it out.   Now, I’m looking forward to figuring out what to include in my next newsletter.

References:

Beautiful and easy to use newsletters. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.smore.com/app

Effective Communication via a Classroom Newsletter. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.teachhub.com/effective-communication-classroom-newsletter

 

EEND 677 Class Reflection

This was really an interesting class for me.  Much of what we worked on in this class are things I have not really done before.  Sure, I use videos and graphics, but I’ve never thought about just using audio, or creating my own videos.  It was fun for me to do some of these things and figure out how I can use them in my class. I would say that the topic that will stick with me the most is screencasting.  It is something that I thought very little about before, but now that I have learned more about it and have tried it out, it is definitely something I’m going to pursue in my classroom.  I think it is such a great way to get students learning in a different way, and it gives me an opportunity to redesign how I do things in my classroom. I really can’t say enough about the benefits of using screencasting in the classroom, and without enrolling in this program I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

Throughout this entire learning experience, the one thing that I appreciated the most was being able to connect with and learn from my peers.  It was truly an invaluable tool being able to discuss topics and get ideas from other teachers just like me. Many of them were in similar situations as I am, but they still have new and different experiences as well.  I felt that everyone was able to bring something new and different to the discussions, and all of them were able to teach me and help me at some point along the way. I will be using many of the new ideas and techniques that I’ve learned from them, and I’m really grateful to have made these meaningful connections in this class.

I think that I have grown quite a bit as a teacher throughout this experience.  I have tried and done things in this class that I don’t think I would have attempted otherwise.  I’ve already mentioned screencasting. That was quite the experience for me. I’m not too keen on videotaping myself, but it was something I can see the benefits of doing for my students.  If I wasn’t forced to try it in this class, I’m not sure I would have attempted it on my own. Another project that stands out to me was the video book trailer.  I’ve never done anything like this before and it is another topic I probably wouldn’t have given much thought to without being in this class.  Now I can see the benefits of implementing things like this in my class, and I have much more confidence in trying it now than I did when we first started discussing it.  

I will continue to use much of what I’ve learned in this class as I move forward in the program.   I want to develop more multimedia activities for my students to help capture their attention and get them interested in learning.  Overall, I’m very pleased with my experience in this class. I have learned a great deal about many different topics that I will take with me as I progress through the program here at St. Francis.  I hope to build on the foundation I have received in this class, and look forward to incorporating many of the new ideas and strategies in my own classroom.

References:

Penn, J., Harper, M. I., Pray, C., Pearl, A., Sousa, I., Nazzal, S., . . . Simpson-Urrutia, J. (2016, July 26). Book Trailers and Using Video for Book Marketing. Retrieved from https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2015/03/02/book-trailers/

Screencasting to Engage Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2012/11/screencasting-to-engage-learning

EEND 675 Artifact 2 – Digital Tool Assessment

I’ve chosen to include the digital tool assessment project for my second artifact in this class.  I chose this project because it is something I’m am very interested in using in my class.  Benjamin Herold says that digital assessment tools have the ability to provide “real-time feedback on what children know, combined with fingertip access to a dizzying array of tailored instructional materials, resulting in more customized instruction from teachers and a more personalized learning experience for each student” (Herold, 2018).  This is why I am very interested in trying out new tools for creating assessments and why I have decided to include this project.  This project fits most closely with ISTE educator standard 7: analyst; where educators understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals. (ISTE, n.d.).

I currently use the digital assessments that are provided through my school’s PowerSchool Learning LMS.  While I am am happy with these assessments for the most part, I’m always looking for new and better ways of doing things.  During this project I created a new assessment using Google Forms.  I am somewhat familiar with using Google Forms, but mostly for completing forms given to me by others.  I had never created my own form to be filled out by my students. I really enjoyed learning a new tool, especially this one, because it was so incredibly easy to use.  I will enjoy finding ways to use it more often in my class now that I have a better understanding of how it works and what I can do with it.

The most challenging part of a project like this is finding something that works well for different assessments.  While I have learned that Google Forms is great for informal assessments like student polling, collecting class data, and gaging background knowledge; it may not be so great for more formal assessments like chapter tests or unit quizzes.  I’ve come to learn as I’ve been exposed to more tools in this class, that you have to pick the right tool for the job. I will probably stick with using my PowerSchool assessments for more formal questioning, but I will now use Google Forms more often for informal questioning.

Having had a really great experience trying this new assessment tool makes me want to try others as well.  I think that if I give a fews others a try I can find something that really works well in my classroom. I may end up with several that I can use in combination for different types of assessments.  I can use Google Forms for polling students at the beginning of my astronomy unit to see what they already know, and what they might like to learn about. I can use another tool like EdPuzzle, to gage student understand while watching astronomy videos.  For my unit quizzes and tests I can stick with my current tool, PowerSchool.

The potential of technology for assessment in the classroom is truly unlimited.  Its the job of the teacher to discover what works best in their own classrooms, but trying new tools and experimenting is key.  You have to be willing to move out of your comfort zone, and not become too set in your ways. I think I’ve gotten off to a good start so far and hope to continue to find new and interesting tools that help my students in the classroom.

References:

Edpuzzle. (n.d.). Retrieved April 08, 2018, from https://edpuzzle.com/

Google Forms – create and analyze surveys, for free. (n.d.). Retrieved April 08, 2018, from https://www.google.com/forms/about/

Herold, B. (2018, March 01). Testing Digital Tools to Improve Formative Assessments. Retrieved April 08, 2018, from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03/13/25personalized.h33.html

ISTE Standards FOR EDUCATORS. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2018, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators

PowerSchool Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved April 08, 2018, from https://www.powerschool.com/

EEND 675 Artifact 1 – Digital Lesson

For my first artifact in the 675 class I chose my digital lesson project.  I chose this project because I was very please with how it turned out and I think it will be something I can use in my Earth Science class.  This project fits most closely with ISTE educator standard 5: designer; where educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability (ISTE, n.d.).  This project was created using Blendspace, a free online program that can be used to create interactive lessons, projects, presentations, and more (Create & Find, n.d.).  This was something I had not tried before, and to be honest, was not something I had even thought about before. It was something that was completely new to me and I’m pleased that I was able to move out of my comfort zone and try something new.

One reason I enjoyed creating this project, is because it was very new to me.  I like learning about new tools and seeing what they can do. I like to find new ways to teach topics in my classes, rather than using the same old ideas and methods every year.  I also really liked that this lesson was all created in one place. Normally, the students have to visit 3 or 4 different websites to get all the information I want them to have. With the digital lesson on Blendspace, everything was in one place.  They only had to worry about one website, one login screen. I also really liked the way all the information flows together and makes it very easy for the students to follow along and complete the assignment. Probably my favorite part of this project though, was that it is something that can easily be differentiated.  I can add or remove certain pieces of information and make it unique to different students in my classes. According to the institutes on academic diversity, “learning activities may be differentiated on the basis of students’ readiness for learning the specific content or skill, their interests or their preferred ways of learning” (Differentiated Instruction, 2016).  With digital lessons, I can create many different versions of the same lesson for all the various needs of my students.

One challenge creating the project, was that I sometimes had a hard time getting certain pieces of information into the program.  There is a menu that lets you select options of how to incorporate your information, but it was a little tricky to use and not everything could be added easily.  It took me much longer than I would have liked to get some items added to the project. That is time I don’t always have to waste, but I think that with some more practice using Blendspace, I can probably make the process go much smoother and faster.

This particular lesson I created covered plate tectonics, a lesson I spend quite a bit of time on in my Earth Science classes.  I can very easily add this lesson into my curriculum and make the topic much more interesting for my students. I would post the link for the project onto my class website, and the students could access it from there.   Because Blendspace allows students to log in with their google information, my students don’t have to remember any separate user names or passwords. I also created two separate lessons, one for students who are on target and one for students who are struggling.  This will allow me to determine which students should complete which lesson. It allows me to differentiate the lesson much more efficiently this way, and the students should get more out of the lesson.

As I mentioned above, I am very pleased with how this project turned out.  It forced me as an educator to learn a new tool and to create something completely different than anything I have used before.  I’m looking forward to trying it out with my students and really putting it to the test.

References:

Create & Find Free Multimedia Lessons. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2018, from https://www.tes.com/lessons

ISTE Standards FOR EDUCATORS. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2018, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators

What is Differentiated Instruction? (2016, October 07). Retrieved April 07, 2018, from http://differentiationcentral.com/what-is-differentiated-instruction/

 

EEND 678 Artifact 2 – Grant Writing

I have chosen to include my grant writing proposal as my second artifact for this class.  I’ve included this because I’m extremely proud of what my colleague and I came up with and how we have presented it.  This was probably the most challenging part of the class for me. Before putting this proposal together, I literally had zero experience with writing a grant.  I knew next to nothing about how they work or how to apply for one. I confess that when I first looked at the resources that were provided, I was completely lost.  I didn’t even know where to begin. I’m thankful that I had a colleague also in the class with me who I could work with. Together we learned a lot about the process and I think we came up with an outstanding proposal.  

One of the hardest parts of writing a grant is to find one that applies to what you need in your classroom.  There are literally thousands of grants available if you know where to look. I’ve learned that to get started you should “search for grants that are specifically aligned to your subject area, grade-level, type of need, or community to maximize your chance of being selected” (Classroom funding, 2017).  It is not enough just to find a particular grant you want, but you have to make your proposal stand out and separate yourself from all the others also applying for it (3 Tips, 2018).  I’ve learned several tips and tricks throughout the process for making my grant one that will stand out.  I think that we did a pretty good job of that as we put our proposal together.

The particular grant that we put together involves purchasing virtual reality goggles for our students to use in the classroom.  Many times in Earth Science, the only way to truly experience a topic is to be there and see it for yourself. Unfortunately, this is not an option for most of our students.  Instead, we tried to think of ways to bring those ideas, places, and experiences to them in the classroom through the use of virtual reality. We would design units in our class where students are expected to “visit” a location that is significant to the topics we are discussing.  We really think that by doing these types of activities we can get the students engaged in the topics and much more involved in their own learning.

As I’ve mentioned above, by taking this class I have learned a great deal about grants and the grant writing process.  This is a topic I have shied away from in the past because I was so unfamiliar with it and because it was such a confusing process for me.  I won’t lie and say that I am now an expert, but I do feel much more confident in my ability to look for and apply for grants. I truly feel like we have put together a great proposal and I look forward to using in the near future.  I’m excited to put it to the test for real and see what happens.

References:

Classroom Funding: 4 Tips to Take the Stress Out of Grant Applications. (2017, March 21). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from http://blog.edmentum.com/classroom-funding-4-tips-take-stress-out-grant-applications

3 Tips to Write Winning Grant Applications. (2018, January 12). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from http://thebookingbiz.com/2016/10/3-tips-write-winning-grant-applications/

EEND 678 Artifact 1 – PBL

I’ve chosen to include my project-based learning outline on climate change that I developed during the 678 class.  Project-based learning is something I had not really thought much about before I enrolled in this class.  I was one of those teachers who would just assign a project to the class and I’d have guidelines and expectations for the students to follow blindly.  They basically just checked off boxes on a rubric I would give them and that was that. They’d get their grade and we’d move on. But what were my students really learning?  Were they learning the material, or just how to get a grade? This was always something I had a problem with as a teacher, but I wasn’t sure how to fix it. Since I’ve taken this class and we have learned so much about project-based learning, I have completely changed my view on how I should be teaching in my classroom.  I’ve realized that there is a better way to get the material across to my students and get them engaged with their own learning. The key is to give them more freedom with fewer guidelines, and to let them use their own creativity. Creativity is what draws them in and creates self-motivated learners. When children are interested in what they are doing and are able to use their areas of strength, they achieve at a higher level” (Edutopia 2007). My job is simply to facilitate and expose them to new ways of doing things, and to show them the new and different technology that is available for them to use.

Creating a PBL was certainly something I was not used to doing, but I worked with a colleague of mine who also teaches Earth Science and I believe that together we came up with a pretty good PBL outline that we can use in our classes as a first step.  As I’ve mentioned above, we developed a unit about climate change which I think lends itself toward a PBL very well. There is a lot of information out there for the students to work with, and with all the controversy surrounding the topic it certainly gives the students a lot of freedom in choosing what they want to focus on.  One of the challenges with developing this PBL was to find a way to get the students to present their projects to a wider audience. We decided to start with something we thought would have a bigger impact on our own school, and so we decided to show the student projects on the video screens in the cafeteria during lunch periods.  The idea was that students should feel a sense of pride in their work, and should work more carefully knowing that the entire school will see their projects.  We also decided to have the student share their work via social media, another way for them to show their work to a larger audience, and hopefully a way to get the students more engaged in the project.  “Effective PBL requires integrating student ownership in the project design and implementation processes” (PBL Blog, n.d.).

While working through this class, I’ve learned quite a bit about project-based learning.  Things I know I would never have seen or done if I had not taken this class. It is such a powerful tool to use in the classroom that I am extremely grateful that I was exposed to it, and had an opportunity to work through it with my peers in this class.  Without learning from my peers in the discussions, I’m not sure I would have been able to wrap my head around creating a PBL myself. I probably would have been scared off, and would not have taken a chance of doing one in my own classroom. Now, I’m looking forward to the opportunity of using my climate change PBL and I cannot wait to see how it goes.

References:

PBL Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://www.bie.org/blog/35_leaders_on_the_successes_and_challenges_of_project_based_learning

Why Is Project-Based Learning Important? (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning-guide-importance

EEND 678 Class Reflection

This was really an interesting class for me.  Before I began this program I really thought I had a pretty good handle on using technology in my class.  I thought I would pick up a few tips or tricks by enrolling in the program, but I really learned so much more than I expected. I would say that the topic that will stick with me the most is problem-based learning.  It is something that I thought very little about before, but now that we discussed it in class and we worked with some ideas, it is definitely something I’m going to pursue in my classroom.  I think it is such a great way to get students learning in a completely different way, and it gives them an opportunity to see how topics we learn about relate to the real world. I really can’t say enough about the benefits of using problem-based learning in the classroom, and without enrolling in this program I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

Throughout this entire learning experience, the one thing that I appreciated the most was being able to connect with and learn from my peers.  It was truly an invaluable tool being able to discuss topics and get ideas from other teachers just like me. Many of them were in similar situations as I am, but they still have new and different experiences as well.  I felt that everyone was able to bring something new and different to the discussion boards, and all of them were able to teach me and help me at some point along the way. I will be using many of the new ideas and techniques that I’ve learned from them, and I’m really grateful to have made these meaningful connections in this class.

I think that I have grown quite a bit as a teacher throughout this experience.  I have tried things and done things in this class that I don’t think I would have attempted otherwise.  Flipping my classroom was quite the experience for me.  I’m not too keen on videotaping myself, but it was something I can see the benefits of doing for my students.  If I wasn’t forced to try it in this class, I’m not sure I would have attempted it on my own. I have already mentioned my thoughts on problem-based learning.  This is another topic I probably wouldn’t have given much thought to without being in this class. Now I can see the benefits of implementing this in my class, and I have much more confidence in trying it now than I did when we first started discussing it.  

I will continue to use much of what I’ve learned in this class as I move forward in the program.  I will especially focus on the SAMR model going forward.  This was something I learned a lot about, and it can act like a checklist for me as I develop new and different teaching strategies.  I want to focus on using more modification and redefinition in my teaching rather than just substitution.  I want to develop more problem-based learning activities for my students.  To that point, I want to work at developing better essential questions and find ways to get my students more engaged in their learning.  I also want to find new and better ways to manage devices in my classroom.  Using technology in class is great and has many benefits for the students, but it has to be managed effectively by the teacher in order for it to be an effective learning tool.  Finally, I want to continue to learn about new and different ways of using technology to differentiate in my classroom.  I can continue to try new things like flipping my classroom to promote differentiation. I was uncomfortable with the experience at first, but I got over my hesitation and I think I created something worthwhile for my students. For me, that’s what its all about.

Overall, I’m very pleased with my experience in this class.  I have learned a great deal about many different topics that I will take with me as I progress through the program here at St. Francis.  I hope to build on the foundation I have received in this class, and look forward to incorporating many of the new ideas and strategies in my own classroom.

References:

The Daily Riff – BE SMARTER. ABOUT EDUCATION. (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from http://www.thedailyriff.com/articles/how-the-flipped-classroom-is-radically-transforming-learning-536.php

McGraw-Hill. (2016, November 16). Understanding SAMR – Inspired Ideas – Medium. Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://medium.com/inspired-ideas-prek-12/understanding-samr-4898216474c0

What the Heck Is Project-Based Learning? (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2018, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/what-heck-project-based-learning-heather-wolpert-gawron

EEND 677 Graphic Design

Using graphic design in the classroom is a powerful tool because it allows students to visualize information rather than just reading it or hearing it.  Studies have shown that people tend to remember an impressive 80% of what they see and do compared to only 20% if they just read it and 10% if they just hear it (The Power of Visual, 2017).  Graphic design is also a great way to keep students engaged in the lesson and focused on the important information, not be distracted by all the extra information that often goes with it. Having students make the graphics themselves takes it even one step further and forces them to use their own creativity.  Student creativity fosters both self-motivation and flexible thinking which are very important to student learning (Inspire Student, n.d.).

In order to support more visual learners in the classroom, teachers should try to use a wide variety of graphic design ideas.  Simple ideas such as which type of font should be used, which pictures or graphics, which graphs or charts can all lead to students absorbing and remembering the information better.  Instead of simply talking about the different types of volcanoes, have the students create an infographic explaining the differences. This forces the students not only to learn the information, but makes them create something unique and show it off in a way that they understand.  Many of my IEP students have accommodations stating that they be allowed to use graphic organizers. These could be great for that as well. There really is no limit to what can be done in the classroom with graphic design for both regular ed and special ed students, as long as the teacher is willing to experiment and try new ideas and tools.

I have a unit coming up in my Earth Science class where we learn about star life-cycles and the classification of stars.  In the past I have had my students take notes and make outlines on paper and pencil to show the path different stars take during their lifetimes.  I have had students look at H-R diagrams and answer questions about them. Now that I have learned more about infographics, I’m thinking that this will be a perfect unit for my students to create their own infographics about this topic.  I can have them show me in their own infographics why different stars go through different stages, and how they end up where they do on the H-R diagrams. Instead of just regurgitating what they see in a textbook, this will make them condense the important information and create something that is unique.  This type of assignment also leaves them a lot of freedom to choose how they want to represent the information which should lead to self-motivation and engagement.

References:

Inspire Student Learning & Creativity (n.d.) [Digital lecture]. Retrieved from https://learn.stfrancis.edu/courses/1135000/pages/facilitating-creativity-and-innovation-in-a-digital-world-readings-and-resources?module_item_id=11209008

The Power of Visual Communication Infographic. (2017, August 31). Retrieved April 04, 2018, from https://blog.wyzowl.com/power-visual-communication-infographic/