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1 Technologies for content creation

With online or blended education comes the potential to use a variety of content creation or editing tools, applications and technologies. These enable production and presentation of learning content in a variety of formats, including videos, audios, graphs, animations and digital stories. These make it possible to turn static documents featuring text and images into online exploration tools, linking to websites, animations, videos and other resources to enrich and enliven the learning experience.

So many technologies could be used for content creation that it is impossible to cover them all. New tools are produced frequently, and older ones disappear, so specific examples can become outdated very quickly. What follows is an overview of the kinds of tools available and some brief guidance about things to be aware of when using or selecting them.

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Figure 4.2 Visual elements can be used to make long passages of text more engaging.

Before moving on to the next section, consider the ways in which text can be used to create digital content. In classrooms, text is used for printed handouts or longer pieces for preparatory reading. In online contexts, using a lot of continuous text is not advisable because reading from a screen is tiring and can rapidly become boring. Therefore:

  • write in short sections, using subheadings;
  • vary your writing style to make the learning experience more enjoyable;
  • use visual elements such as photos, diagrams, images, bulleted lists, tables, boxes and quotations to break up the text;
  • include short questions that will make learners pause and think before they move on;
  • provide summaries or supporting material in text, especially if there are problems with intermittent or limited internet connection.