Posted by Mathurah Ravigulan

How to ace your high school assignments… with technology!

Mathurah has been a Ladies Learning Code Teen Club member since December 2016. She is a grade 10 high school student interested in pursuing a career in computer science and business.   Through Teen Club, she has learned about the importance of digital literacy, written code, mentored at workshops, made new friendships, and had amazing experiences at several tech conferences. Teen Club has also helped Mathurah gain access to numerous opportunities in the tech industry.  Mathurah is currently a Teen Club Ambassador.

In this blog post, she shares with us some tips on incorporating technology in school assignments!

We all know that during this time of the year, many high school students become drowned in piles of projects and assignments! Teachers tell you that in order to get an A, you have to go above and beyond to make your assignment unique and creative. Why not do this with technology?

Build a website instead of printing an essay on paper

For instance, instead of just typing up a simple book report, you could make a website using HTML, CSS, or WordPress.  Your teachers will be impressed, and you also get to try your hand at some code at the same time. You could create a website that has different sections for your book report – such as the author’s analysis, summary, character analysis, and more. I recently did this for an English assignment where I incorporated graphic design elements, took my own pictures, and included blog posts on different elements of the book.

Building a website is a great way to use different media types in your assignment. Unlike a traditional essay, a website allows you to include animations, videos, and pictures and can be accessed at any times! If you don’t know how to make a website, Teen Club has front end web development workshops on HTML and CSS that walk you through this process.

Tired of Powerpoint presentations? Build an interactive game!

In science class, you might have to do a project on chemical reactions. Instead of doing the classic Bristol board or Powerpoint presentation, a fun alternative could be making an interactive game in Scratch – a platform for creating animated, interactive stories and games with easy-to-use drag and drop building blocks. Use these tools to your advantage! For instance, you could make your school assignment website fun to look at by embedding a Scratch animation.  

Another option is making your own apps with MIT App Inventor. Like Scratch, it’s easy to use, but you can program apps that include anything from games, calculation software, and more! The coolest part is that you can connect the app you created to Android phones! It’s easy and quick to use, and it’s great for when you’re pitching an idea and need to make a prototype in a hurry.

Finally … get creative! Use graphic design to brighten up your projects.

For all these tech projects, you’re going to need some cool graphics and animations to make your assignment stand out. Embrace your inner graphic designer and make things creative! If you were creating a website for an assignment, you don’t need to go looking for specific images when you can easily create your own. Don’t fret if you’re a beginner: you don’t need to have Photoshop to create images, there are many free alternatives for creating graphics! These include Canva, Pixlr, and Made with Code by Google.

I’m interested! What are some resources to get me started?

Here are some websites you can go to kick-start your innovative assignments:

Mozilla Thimble: an easy-to-use online code editor for creating web pages

Scratch: website for creating interactive games using drag-and-drop building blocks

MIT App Inventor: a beginner-level app creator that uses simple visual, drag-and-drop building blocks

Made with Code by Google: make emojis, gifs, music and other cool stuff

Canva: an intuitive graphic design editor to create content for your projects, and promotional posters

Pixlr: similar to Canva and Photoshop where you can edit pictures and create artistic designs all from the browser

Ladies Learning Code Teen Club holds free coding and technology workshops for high school aged girls on a monthly basis! There’s also Code and Coffee every third Sunday of each month, where you can work on your projects with other teens, with the guidance from experienced mentors. You can learn more about Teen Club at: https://www.canadalearningcode.ca/teen-club

I hope you’ll come out to a workshop, or Code and Coffee. Start registering and start coding!

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