“Teachers are the story starters, motivated by their students who then build upon these with their own imagination to craft the full scene.”
This idea of tapping into our students ideas and imagination has been a cornerstone of education, it fuels our passion as educators to come up with creative ideas and tell stories, and inspires the growth of countless young minds. As an educator, I firmly believe in the magic of storytelling, and I am always on the lookout for innovative tools that can bring this magic to life in my classroom.
In today’s educational landscape, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing our teaching methods and engaging our students. Many teachers use videos and prompts such as the ones shared by the Literacy Shed to engage their students, other spend countless hours crafting and creating artwork to show and share with their learners.
In this post, I share my experience and insights into harnessing the power of technology for education, focusing on two remarkable tools, Padlet‘s AI image generator and Canva, which will let you redefine the art of storytelling through images.
Harnessing the Power of Padlet’s AI Image Generator
As a teacher, I’ve witnessed the transformative power of visual storytelling in the classroom. When students are captivated by images that ignite their imagination, they become active participants in the learning process. That’s where Padlet‘s AI image generator, “I Can’t Draw,” enters the scene. With this Generative image AI tool, we can effortlessly create captivating images to motivate and inspire our students.
To start our creative journey, we open Padlet on the computer and create a new board. This digital canvas is where we can brainstorm ideas, add images, videos, and anything else that sparks our creativity. The board is versatile and can be used for various purposes, such as planning morning starters or creative writing prompts. It’s like having a limitless canvas for imagination.
To create our first Padlet, we click on “Make a Padlet” and select the default wall format. While the board itself is wonderful, what truly fascinates me is the AI image generator, “I Can’t Draw.” This feature is a game-changer, as it allows us to enter a prompt and watch in amazement as the AI generates six unique images based on our words. These images are not just random either; they are designed to match our vision.
These AI-generated images serve as perfect story starters. They are also a treasure trove for creating videos and motion graphics. The variety and creativity in these images are astounding. As an educator, I’ve found that this feature is particularly useful for stimulating the creative expression of my students. Whether it’s a descriptive writing exercise or a visual interpretation of a historical event, these AI-generated images breathe life into our lessons.
For example: Here I’ve given it the following prompt:
Generate a realistic, photographic, representation of the Great Fire of London, capturing the dramatic and chaotic scene of the burning city in the 17th century. Your image should showcase the towering flames, billowing smoke, and the iconic structures like the old St. Paul's Cathedral and the timber-framed houses engulfed in fire. The image should evoke a sense of the intense historical moment and the destruction that occurred during the event, while infusing it with a unique stylized visual quality that makes the viewer feel transported back in time to witness this significant event in London's history.
The results are breathtaking, as you can see here:
Once we’ve found the perfect image that resonates with our storytelling vision, we simply click on “Publish” to finalize our creation. The ease of use is remarkable. With just a few clicks, we have a powerful visual tool to convey complex ideas and spark our students’ imagination.
You can keep these images on your Padlet boards, or if you choose so, export them to get the .png files as a download.
Inspiration in Action: Canva and Visual Composition
But the magic doesn’t stop with Padlet’s AI image generator. To truly elevate our storytelling, we can seamlessly integrate these images into Canva, a versatile design tool. Canva empowers us to create visual compositions that emphasize the storytelling aspect, turning static images into dynamic narratives. All whilst integrating with the ease of many design tools built-into Canva.
To begin, we download the AI-generated images as PNG files. One handy feature I’ve come to appreciate is the ability to remove the background from one of the images.
This, albeit a premium Canva feature, is also available in the Canva for Education version. However, as premium features come, the upgrade is well worth it! This allows us to focus on the main subject, creating a clear and compelling visual story. Then, in Canva, we arrange the images to craft a composition that serves as an engaging story starter.
As educators, our goal is to prompt critical thinking and stimulate imagination. As we look at our composition, we encourage viewers, our students, to think about what the characters in the images might be thinking, feeling, and what might happen next. It’s a powerful opportunity for creativity and imagination to thrive in the classroom. Our students become active participants in the narrative, connecting with the characters, interpreting their expressions, and crafting their own stories. This approach not only enhances their comprehension but also nurtures empathy and emotional intelligence.
As a teacher, I find the transformative potential of these tools truly inspiring. They enable us to share the magic of storytelling with our students in a visually captivating way. By combining the strengths of Padlet’s AI image generator and Canva, we create a dynamic learning environment that fosters curiosity and inspires students to explore their narratives. These tools are our companions on the journey of education, helping us weave tales that resonate with our students.
I then further experimented with the AI generation and took my students input as the main prompts. They wanted to see what the characters from the Oxford Owl Reading Tree books would look like in real life and so we had a play around with this.
For reference here are the original cast:
And here is how AI sees them!
Two things to consider:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”– Albert Einstein
In the realm of education, we often emphasize the acquisition of knowledge. However, we must remember that knowledge is but a tool. It’s imagination that fuels the human spirit and drives progress. With Padlet’s AI image generator and Canva, we tap into the wellspring of imagination, sparking creativity in our students and motivating them to explore the vast world of ideas.
“The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.”– B.B. King
When my father was still alive, I’d often find him dancing and singing along to the numerous B.B. King vinyl he would have on. This was an important element of his Creative expression! As an artist and painter, he would use the music as a means to stay in the ‘Creative’ zone. Just by listening to the tracks and songs, I could tell if he was working on landscape paintings with pallet knives, or if he was delving into his latest aquarelle. B.B. King, one of his favourite artists, once said that nobody can take what you’ve learned away from you.
Growing up in a house surrounded by artwork, brushes, the smell of paint, and music, created a sense of appreciation for the arts. I’ve always enjoyed exploring my own creativity whether through music, painting, or drawing. As a result I find myself thoroughly enjoying the creation side of things. This can be the creation of a text, video for my channel, or indeed storystarters.
I do not personally see AI as an enemy of creativity as some might want you to see it. I am fully embracing the partnership with it and see it as an extension to the already present innate creativity we all have. In my humble opinion, every human, every person, is a creator, an artist, an innovator.
Education is a lifelong journey, and the skills and creativity our students develop along the way are their treasures. With the innovative use of technology in education, we equip our students with skills that will last a lifetime. The ability to create, imagine, and communicate through visual storytelling is a gift that will remain with them, enriching their lives and careers.
The Power of Visual Storytelling in Education
In conclusion, educators have the incredible opportunity to harness the power of technology to create engaging and visually captivating lessons. With tools like Padlet’s AI image generator and Canva, we unlock our creativity and encourage our students to think critically and imaginatively. By seamlessly combining the art of storytelling with visual elements, we create a dynamic learning environment that fosters curiosity and inspires students to explore their own narratives. As Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” and these tools provide the means to nurture and ignite that imagination.
It’s essential to embrace these tools and embark on a journey of storytelling through images, not just for our students’ benefit but also for our own growth as educators. The beauty of learning is that it enriches both the giver and the receiver. These tools are not just educational instruments; they are catalysts for transformation, fostering a deeper connection between teachers and students. As B.B. King wisely noted, “The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.” The knowledge and creativity we impart through visual storytelling are gifts that last a lifetime.
In this age of digital learning, we have the power to create lessons that resonate, inspire, and leave a lasting impact on our students. So, let’s embrace these innovative tools and embark on an educational journey that celebrates the art of visual storytelling. It’s a journey filled with creativity, imagination, and the limitless possibilities of learning.
You can watch my Full YouTube walkthrough of these techniques here: