Fireworks in Student Learning

from Educators' eZine

The best education is self-motivated self-education. That occurs when a student is motivated to the point that she works to learn all she can on a particular subject. Technology can be the catalyst in motivating just that type of student learning. Adobe Fireworks CS3, for example, can be the spark that motivates students to better learning. If you are not familiar with the program, Fireworks is a program that allows users to create or edit images and optimize them for the Internet. It contains features that allow the user to create interactive images. To teach students how to use this program, I ask them to pick a topic from their core content area and create an interactive image based on the topic.

One particular student chose the life cycle of a frog. From that point, she used the Internet to research the subject. She used Notepad to gather her information and saved images of frogs that represented the various stages of a frog's development. With her information gathered, she set out to bring the images into Fireworks. She arranged the images in a circle to represent the cycle and create frames for text that would describe each stage. With her frames set, she created slices to separate the image pieces of the image and prepare them for interactivity. She then applied behaviors to the slices to make the image interactive. Fireworks generated the code necessary for her idea to become a reality.

Does it sound complicated? Maybe so. You might think this student is a junior in college, but she is still in high school. Once students understand they can become creators, they begin the learning process on their own. They seek out information to make their project shine. When asking this particular student what she thought about the project just completed, she said, "I think it has helped me learn more about frogs. I enjoyed working through the process [of creating an interactive image using Fireworks. It kinda helps me explore what a computer can do and what I can do with it."

When students are introduced to technology and they learn how they can become empowered by it, it just might begin a life-long interest in self-learning.

Email:Michael J. Canino