Creative ways to present work digitally

By Matt Cornock

A few weeks ago now I asked the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) community for their suggestions for how students (and lecturers too) could present work digitally in a creative medium. In essence, I wanted to know what approaches had been used to present work beyond simply endless paragraphs of text. I harvested these case studies using a Google Form (suggest your examples here). With a slight irony, I’ll present here the submissions to my call for ideas… in a long text-based post. Do check out the links that have been provided by contributors.

Whilst this post looks at presentation, for those looking to enable students to create digital resources (or indeed lecturers who want to try out creative online media) I have also explored the pedagogy [ELDT blog] and put my recommendations forward. These are shown in my video series demonstrating various tools with accompanying guides: digital presentation tools and digital presentation approaches.

I would also like to flag up that I am not endorsing any specific product. Please choose your use of learning technology as appropriate to the learning objective and learning experience you are designing. Note also that where third-party platforms are used, you should be aware of their Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. This is particularly important when sensitive content or student work is being sent to a third-party service. You’ll need to consider accessibility for disabled staff and students, data protection, ownership of content created, retention of created content, and whether students will be required to set up accounts. See the University of York’s guidance for use of third-party tools for further considerations.

ALT Contributions


Context: Further Education

Storify (my Storify profile) is a way to curate social media content such as Twitter posts, Facebook content, Instagram images, YouTube videos, SoundCloud audio or simply weblinks. This can be done via a Storify button added to your web browser or on the Storify website.

“If a class in say a practical workshop upload exemplars of ongoing stages of their work, the tutor can pull disparate strands together and add comments for formative assessment.”

Suggested by Steve Clifton, Chesterfield College

Explain Everything

Context: Further Education

Explain Everything allow you to record using tablet devices, in effect like recording hand-drawn content like an interactive whiteboard.

“Allows teachers to make video demonstrations and annotate students work. Taking the inverse, students can also create video demos of presentations or portfolios of work, with accompanying voice-overs explaining process or instructions in step-by-step reflections, which would enable educators to assess process and product.”

Suggested by Howard Scott, West Lancs College


Context: Undergraduate HE

This case study is excellently documented via the project blog (definitely take a look, in particular at the structure of the project over time and lessons learnt). Animation is used in this case to help convey ‘stories’ rather than ‘facts’ that relate to real life situations. GoAnimate was used as a tool to create these animations, utilising characters to play out particular scenarios. One of the effects is to relate to the target audience and also to convey ideas that perhaps are emotive or personal.

“For a level 5 undergraduate unit ‘engaging communities’ student group work is assessed using animation against the learning outcomes ‘Demonstrate and apply knowledge of the use of digital media in representing and engaging with communities’ and ‘Analyse how social care is delivered and used in communities’.”

Suggested by Hayley Atkinson, Manchester Metropolitan University

YouTube videos

Context: Higher Education

Students who are not ‘media’ students have been tasked with creating videos and publishing them on YouTube across many disciplines and in many institutions. From my own practice I developed a ‘Social Media for Social Policy’ project back in 2011, which was novel at the time for equipping students with digital media and communication skills to improve their employability in third-sector organisations. Whatever context, the principles of identifying an aim, audience and message remain the same. Video is utilised to address each according to the strengths of visual media, whether that’s explaining a topic, how to conduct a lab experiment, trying to persuade an audience or eliciting an emotive response. YouTube is a good platform for this (though it is plagued with adverts), as you can use subscription and commenting to build up a community, whilst also making sure videos are accessible to disabled users with YouTube’s captioning tool (the automated captions have improved, but you can always add your own).

Suggested by Graham McElearney, University of Sheffield


Context: Further Education

Padlet is a virtual pin board. It can be loosely structured, either by use of text notes or grid layouts, and allows text, PDF, image and video posts to be presented. Posts can be placed, resized and moved around making it a good tool for collating ideas before forming a coherent flow or narrative. They work either as private, individual spaces or collaborative (even public) editable boards. Exporting isn’t great however as links to resources aren’t included.

“Padlet as a way to mindmap ideas or present a collection resources of information, either independently or collaboratively.”

Suggested by Howard Scott, West Lancs College and Alice Bingham, Weston College (quoted)


Context: Undergraduate HE

Using Mahara (an open source portfolio platform) for language learning portfolios. This example builds students digital skills in collating and presenting work, whilst also from a pedagogic perspective, through reflective activities developing their learning approaches.

Suggested by Teresa MacKinnon, University of Warwick is an online portfolio tool that allows users to collect key artefacts online then select them to be presented in different showcases. This tool has a lot of promise in terms of allowing students to pull evidence together before curating different collections for different audiences. There are some clean and simple templates to make sure the content stands out.

Suggested by Rob Arntsen, Myknowledgemap


Context: Undergraduate HE

If you are looking to create an exploratory learning resource, Thinglink offers a way to link to things off a piece of content. Usually this works by providing an image then placing markers on this image that link to other resources or text descriptions. I’ve yet to check the accessibility of the resources created using this platform thoroughly, but my instinct suggests that due to the ‘click’ or ‘hover’ nature of interaction, you will probably need to create an accessible alternative. It looks like a quick way for students to create engaging resources.

“I find Thinglink a simple free piece of software to allow students to create interactive images.”

Suggested by James Fawcett


Context: Undergraduate HE

As a more general exploration of the way that students build their personal and professional identity, online profiles require a level of skill and attention to develop. More fluidly, use of social networks for profiles, posts that are made publicly and privately and how these link to curated spaces (such as eportfolios and others above), can represent how a person portrays themselves (either consciously or subconsciously). The example shown below from London Met shows how creative presentation blends both the online and physical environments to help students form an understanding of who they are.

“We do not stop at digital creativity though – but also encourage creative methods in their first year research projects – and encourage creative ‘performances’ at the end of the year – and alternative ways of presenting a project portfolio… I am urging that we bring creativity to the whole curriculum – not just the digital.”

Suggested by Sandra Sinfield, London Metropolitan University

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