Nope. It’s not.
Of course, you can create slides with Keynote. In fact, I would argue that it is one of the most user-friendly and satisfying tools for doing so, particularly on an iPad.
But it can do so much more, as my 9th-grade students recently discovered in our Technology Foundations class, a required first-semester 9th-grade course at St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, Oregon.
In an effort to break students of ingrained habits, I started our unit with a quick “Create Your Logo” assignment designed to help students explore Keynote shapes. By layering, recoloring, shading, and shadowing various shapes, students created their own personal logos that they are using in other assignments during the term.
Then we moved to our “Six-Word Keynote Story” assignment. The activity was inspired by Apple Distinguished Educator Don Goble’s multi-touch book, Six-Word-Story, Six Unique Shots, in which he describes a video project where students told a visual story in six scenes.
My instructions to my students were simple:
- Write a six-word story.
- Tell the story using three Keynote slides.
- Each slide must include a transition and at least one animation. Bonus points to those who use Magic Move transitions to create added meaning.
- All visuals on the slides must either be your own creations or combinations of shapes from Keynote.
- Set the slides to auto-advance.
- The completed project must feel like a complete, uninterrupted narrative.
Over the next two class periods, I interspersed work time with “mini-lessons” about layering and editing shapes, Instant Alpha, and Magic Move.
The resulting Keynote stories were inspiring, funny, creative, intelligent, and thoughtful. Many of my students went far beyond my minimal instructions, creating rich tapestries that they were excited to share with each other on our lesson showcase day. And through their story choices, I learned about what my students enjoy, think about, and worry over.
Not only did this assignment open students’ eyes to unexpected possibilities within the Keynote tool and enrich their work on later assignments for me, it helped students learn about creating visual narratives in a way that also immediately influenced their work in other classes.
Don’t let Keynote’s simple interface fool you. It’s simply a masterpiece waiting to happen in your hands.
Instructional Tech Coach
St. Mary’s Academy
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