Cultivating Critical Engagement/Writing Through Creative Technologies ITW Conference | Justin Hodgson | Indiana University | justinhodgson.com | @postdigitalJH

A Road Map

  • Clarity, Visualization, and Integrating Technology into Pedagogy (5 min)
  • Think - Pair - Make - Share (a Spark Post activity) (15-20 min, includes discussion)
  • Building Digital Writing Assignments (a Spark Page activity) (15-20 min, includes discussion)

In writing, there is no substitution for clarity of thought.

The brain internally represents thoughts and experiences to itself in images. Thus, there is a correlation between imaging (i.e., visualizing our thinking and experiences) and our capacities for expression.

What does this mean?

In my own teaching, I try to leverage different tools and techniques to get students to think about their ideas, their writing, and course content in different modes. However, this is not a matter of technology hope -- sprinkle in some technology and hope it works. Rather, when bringing digital technologies into the classroom, I remain people oriented, pedagogy focused, and purpose driven. (For more on this and other considerations, visit my spark page Digital Literacy & the Myth of Expertise: Finding a Way In.)

Think - Pair - Make - Share

One of the low-stakes points of entry I use to get students to start thinking about how the visual works, is to do a T/P/M/S activity. I have them think about a reading or discussion, identify two key take-aways (and write them down), pair up to discuss their take aways, use Adobe Spark Post to create social media friendly images that convey their take-away, then they share them with the class. The image creations, then, serve as the catalyst for class discussions.

Today's T/P/M/S Challenge

You will need: computer (with internet access) or a phone (with Adobe Spark App downloaded). (Oh, and pen/paper could be useful, but not required).

  1. Thinking back on Jay Coles' Keynote this morning, write down two take-aways (i.e., two things that stuck with you, spoke to you, or stung you in some meaningful way.) (1-min activity)
  2. Partner up and share your take-aways (and thoughts on them) (2-min activity)
  3. Go to spark.adobe.com, log in, and wait for further instruction (i.e., I will guide you through a few basic Spark Post steps). (3-5 minutes)
  4. Create a Spark Post (starting from scratch) that communicates (in some meaningful capacity) your take-away. (5-7 minutes)
  5. Send a link to your creation to me at hodgson@indiana.edu
  6. Discussion and Strategies (5-7 minutes)

Onto Spark Page!

The remainder of our time will focus on working with Adobe Spark Page, which is a scrolling digital authoring platform. It operates similar to Spark Post, but it creates a living webpage that brings together image (moving and still) and text to produce dynamic forms of writing. These pages can be shared, edited, collaboratively worked on, and the like. For our purposes today, I'd like you all to use Spark Page to create an assignment handout (covering some basic assignment elements). Oh, and working from an existing assignment is encouraged.

Spark Page Creation: Digital Writing Assignment

Create a spark page (from scratch) that serves as an assignment handout for students.


  • Title, subtitle, opening image
  • Introduction (general overview)
  • Description & Outcomes
  • Purpose & Audience
  • Assignment Guidelines (requirements, due dates, etc.)
  • Deliverables (and/or instructions for turning things in)
  • Evaluation (value, process, etc.)

Sample Assignment Creation  (My first Spark Assignment Handout Creation for my Digital Monumentality Course)

Thank you for your time today. I know this is a lot to cover in a 45 minute session, so if you would like to talk further about Adobe Spark tools and ways to integrate them into your classrooms, feel free to reach out to me. Also, don't be shy about sharing your work: I'd love to see all the different ways your assignments take form (design, function, etc.). And if you do use this in a writing class, I'd love to see some of the student creations too!

Contact Information

Dr. Justin Hodgson | Associate Professor of English | IDAH Fellow | Indiana University

Founding Editor, JUMP+ | Adobe Digital Literacy Thought Leader | Adobe Education Leader

hodgson@indiana.edu | justinhodgson.com | @postdigitalJH | JH on LinkedIn

Created By
Justin Hodgson


Created with images by Adrienne Andersen - "untitled image" • rawpixel - "african asian caucasian" • Charles 🇵🇭 - "Globe"