5 Top Tips to Being a Good Digital Citizen

5 Reasons Why Digital Citizenship Matters in the Age of the Metaverse

We are living in a digital era, and with the rising discussions of the Metaverse in popular culture, it’s become more commonplace than ever before. The way we learn, interact, socialize, and more is increasingly becoming technology-reliant.

Digital citizenship explores the ethical dilemmas present through our interactions within the digital world, and how we navigate the space effectively for the benefit of ourselves and others. Here are our top five tips for becoming a good digital citizen.Read More

5 Types of Media Bias I Wish I Had Learned at School

5 Types of Media Bias I Wish I Had Learned at School

Media Bias in sources blurs the line to effective writing and referencing for us all. In this blog, we will go through the main types of Media Bias that you should look out for when analyzing sources to place in your next piece of content. All it takes is one dubious source to call into question your content.Read More

3 Reasons Why Digital Media Literacy Can Change Lives

3 Reasons Why Digital Media Literacy Can Change Lives

Developing your skills in Digital Media Literacy might sound like a boring task, but what if I told you, there can be real-life consequences by not taking it more seriously? Here are three reasons you should continue to strive to become even more literate in digital media today.Read More

Digital Media Literacy How to Spot Fake News

Digital Media Literacy: How to Spot Fake News

Fake News is more than just a meme. It’s an ever-present, substantially growing quantity of misleading news articles, illustrations, videos, and more – available to you on your digital devices. From simply exaggerating the truth to full-blown lies or propaganda. It’s up to us all, to analyze and fact-check what we read and we’ll be providing our top tips and tricks so you’ll be able to decipher all the credible sources from the misleading ones.Read More

Illustration of two people looking down on their smartphone device

Coming To A Device Near You Soon

This year we’ve all had to learn to do lots of things in different ways.  Central to my business life are conferences and exhibitions, an opportunity to get together with those who are like-minded, share our knowledge, learn from each other, show our best and get to know one and other better face-to-face.

This month I’ve attended two – Edutech Middle East and Frankfurt Book Fair.  Although covering different subject areas, the themes were similar.  In the case of Edutech, how are schools and learning systems changing because of the global pandemic and in the case of the Frankfurt Book Fair, how is the publishing industry changing in a brand new online world?  

In both instances, the switch in demand to digital services for education and content has been sudden and considerable.  This was backed up by major education publishers – on 5th October The Bookseller published an article where Pearson, Scholastic and Hodder all reported that digital sales were sky-rocketing as a result of the global pandemic.  In the Middle East, where oil-rich states spend lavish amounts on technology, content and infrastructure, AI has been the saviour helping to manage the massive amounts of data which are being generated by a full switch to a digital learning world.

It hasn’t been a case of having to start from scratch either.  There has been massive investment in the education sector in the creation of digital learning resources, the technology to deliver these and the infrastructure needed for learners to effectively learn in a purely digital world for around 20 years.  It wasn’t though until these had to be relied on 100%, that they were relied on 100%.  The pandemic has accelerated everything.  Those publishers whose digital infrastructure and content were strong, structured and ready to deliver has benefitted tremendously whereas those whose wasn’t have had a tough time.  

In the world of education in the Middle East, a parallel and similar story has played out to the same conclusion.  The technology has been in place for some time, but it was the pandemic which was the catalyst to make a full transition to the widespread use of that technology by teachers and students in their day-to-day lives.

The biggest changes I’ve had to face in my daily life this year is the huge increase in screen time and the complete lack of human interaction other than by a screen that I’m having right now.  I’m pretty larger than life and over the years have enjoyed participating in hundreds of physical conferences and exhibitions.  I enjoy getting together en masse with like-minded people from my industry or area of specific interest and discussing all the ins and outs of these, meeting new people and learning new facts and points of view.  Since March I’ve been out of my house for business on two occasions and now with everyone glued to their screens because conferences are back in full swing, I’ve learned that watching short video precis of conference presentations which some are producing, or having the video and sound on whilst sitting in the digital networking area, or whilst making comments/asking questions in the chat field to the panel, is allowing a different and unique sort of involvement.  

At both online conferences, I’ve been able to make new contacts and ask questions which were answered.  Whilst I’ve missed seeing people that I’ve known for many years, and I’ve missed the physical interaction which is lost in the 2D world of a presentational live stream or video, I’m finding different and interesting ways to manoeuvre my way through the proceedings of an online conference.  

All around us things have changed this year.  The feedback from learners I hear both from my own children and those presenting as case studies at conferences is that the educational world they’re in now is one that they recognize more than before.  I have noticed the considerable uptick in digital learning that my son’s school have offered this year – a full online learning platform with interactive video, games and puzzles helping him through the maze of really getting to grips with reading, writing arithmetic in year one at school.  We had our first year one parent/teacher meeting on Zoom!

My hope is that we will return soon a more normal way of living.  I hope to be able to visit in person conferences and exhibitions again that are relevant to my work and business sector.  

But for the time being, my trusty laptop and smartphone are doing the hard yards and bringing the world to me.

Animated drawing of a video thumbnail of a woman

A Vision? Or Students Today?

The title of this blog is a play on the name very well-known video called A Vision Of Students Today.  It was produced by Professor Michael Wesch and 200 of his students at Kansas State University in 2007, and incredibly for the time, it garnered over a million views in its first month.  Professor Wesch let his students pick the subject for the video, and write the scripts and the storyboards, as well as doing all the shooting and editing.  He wanted the students to tell the world what they thought about their education. And they did!

Professor Wesch is an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University.  His work is focused on media ecology and the emerging new field of digital ethnography which looks at the effect of new media on human interaction. He had noticed many changes and a ‘disconnect’ beginning to occur between his very own students and the way in which they were being taught and the learning materials with which they interacted.  Technological advancement was in full throttle with smartphones and laptops at saturation levels in terms of market penetration in the USA.  Students were suddenly able to extend choice in the way that they studied, the time at which they studied, and the type of content they engaged with most efficiently on a “need-to-know” basis, with educational attainment very much goal-driven.  

But the education system, the educators who taught, and many of the materials used to teach, remained the same.  

Professor Wesch’s theories, start with an over-arching principle that human relationships are mediated by communication.  In the same way that the printing press transformed the way we consumed information and literature 500 years ago, the networked economy has changed forever the relationship that we now have with it.

I’ve written before about the VARK Modalities, (Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic sensory modalities that are used for learning information.) Fleming and Mills (1992) suggested that there were four learning modalities and that teachers by appealing to particular learning modalities with certain students, improved overall learning attainment.  And the students in Professor Michael Wesch’s video which was made way back in 2007 (making many of them now 30-something), pays homage to the natural selection that occurs when a bunch of human beings are left to study and communicate with multiple media channels at their disposal.

Fast-forwarding 13 years to 2020, without a doubt things have improved and excitingly, a student of anything at any age or level has more choice in terms of choosing study media which best suits their learning modality.  

The enabler in terms of moving pupils and students towards a richer multimedia learning experience are the broadband/4G/5G internet connections that most schools and universities globally now have.  Even in rural parts of developing countries, laptops, tablets and smartphones are available and elsewhere they are in abundance.  The massive growth of social networking sites, Tiktok, Facebook and others, has led to a surge in the amount of video content to which the world now has access.

I was going to try not to use the c-word as we are all fed up with it, but, the Covid-19 crisis has in all respects led to an increased need for digital content. As a father of young children, I know full well that all learning materials must now be delivered in an engaging way online.  Before our current situation, all the trend data was already pointing to a huge increase in digital content, with video content at the top of that list.  Cisco, based on current growth trends have predicted that by 2022, online video will make up 82% of all consumer traffic, whilst by 2020 they say that 1 million minutes of video content will be crossing the internet every second.  In general video usage across the globe is very very high and it’s one of the most popular informational resources.

We are seeing a surge in need for video content at Makematic.  It is having an increasing influence on content mix within educational publishing as well as more widely across the professional and academic sectors too. Academic publishing giant Wiley have reported the astounding figures of 447% higher Altmetric scores and 111% higher full text views for those articles with video abstracts.   

No one can have missed the video phenomena in recent years in the children’s sector of the brands Peppa Pig and Blippi, the latter, launching full fling on Youtube with a strategy which no doubt will penetrate the educational content sector very soon. Publishing giant Pearson, as long ago as 2006, witnessed the meteoric rise of Diary of a Wimpy Kid which started as a digital only story on what was then their Family Education Network, the print rights were sold off and the movies were made.

More widely tech giants, global brands and international non-profits alike have all seen the opportunity to engage learners with high production value, skilfully crafted and pedagogically sound video content.  Many of our customers which include Adobe, Crayola, Microsoft, Scholastic, Unity Technologies and The Woodrow Wilson Foundation bear witness to this.

Professor Michael Wesch and his students were living in a changing world where the internet, was fast-becoming the primary channel for everything.  The vision in the video they produced has become a Youtube classic in education circles, yet the change has been slow with only recent events enforcing our move to full online independence and it is now here to stay.  Learners are able to choose their study mode at a time they want to study and the chosen medium of video which so clearly defined the vision and spread the students’ message on Youtube in 2007, surrounds and permeates everything that we do.  

Video content itself has fast replaced the vision.  What vision will your video content realise for you?

Female Icon surrounded by Technology Icons

Adobe Design Principles Launches

We are pleased to announce that Makematic and Adobe have once again partnered to create a new series of videos in relation to Design Principles.

The video series consists of 25 videos that will provide in-depth knowledge of fundamental design tools and strategies suitable for both students and educators. Industry experts are utilised within the series including:

  • Anita-Mai Goulding – Adobe XD Strategic Development, EMEA
  • Karishma Kusurka – Founder & Designer at Karishma’s World
  • Bob Price – Art & Animator Director
  • Stephen Shaw – Director at Big Motive
  • Tyrone Williams – Visual Artist

Brian Johnsrud, Education Curriculum Strategy Lead of Adobe stated that….

“We’re thrilled to partner with Makematic on this course. A key component to creativity and digital literacy is having a basic set of visual design principles in your back pocket: whether you’re creating a presentation slide, a handout, a flier, or an image for social media. Just as we learn the basics of spelling and grammar to be effective writers and written communicators, this course provides the basic “grammar” of visual communication for all students. And it’s short, fun, and engaging! And for teachers, there are great examples of how visual principles can be taught and incorporated into student work in the classroom.”


Brian Shaw, Senior Producer of Makematic said that….

Adobe Design Principles was a fantastic project to produce.  It’s an awesome introduction to the core design principles that any creative, in any industry, need to have an understanding of.  Bite-sized and beautifully crafted animated explainer videos, along with contributions from real-world creatives and their take on these crucial principles, complete this series nicely and comprehensively.  I always enjoy working with Adobe and I really hope the viewers enjoy this series as much as I did producing it.

You can access Adobe Design Principles:

  • Via Adobe’s Education Page on YouTube
  • Through the Makematic app, which is available to download from the App Store, Google Play, Fire Stick and Roku. You can also access our content anytime online through our website

Sign up to watch the videos for FREE right now.

Online Video within a Classroom

How Online Video Can Revitalise Your Classroom

Online video is needed more than ever within the classroom. By educating students through innovative methods, educators can continue to inspire.

The UK has an average world rank of 15 ⅓ across reading, mathematics and science according to the PISA 2018 summary, however, the USA is 29 ⅔! Some may regard these as respectable scores but surely, we can do better?

Educators are struggling to connect to this new ‘generation z’ of students. The curriculum needs a shake-up and I’ll hopefully explain some, potential ideas to help re-engage the modern-day student while having a look at what new tools we can utilise.

Learning styles have vastly changed

McCrindle Research summarises Generation Z’s disconnect with traditional classroom settings best stating “traditional classrooms were constructed to keep distractions out, keep the students in and keep them facing the teacher.” However, modern-day classrooms should be reconfigured and rewired to accommodate new students, new technologies and new learning styles.

“It is easy to be critical of a generation that focuses on screen time more than conversations; virtual social circles rather than real social circles. These individuals and many others are experiencing depression at ever-increasing rates and are as comfortable in the digital world as they are in the virtual world. However, to paint these students in a negative light would be greatly reducing the impact of their value, creativity, and ability to be thoughtfully-minded young scholars” elaborates WCET Frontiers.

According to UpFront Analytics, Gen Z shuns conformity and traditional however relate to storytelling and visual displays. Video is the perfect platform for delivering such content and most likely, the major influence for Gen Z to state this preference. This use of an iPad or Smartphone can aid all three of the VAK learning types for students:

  • Visuals
    • Linguistical = Kindle, Blog sites, Twitter
    • Spatial = Video-streaming sites (e.g. Makematic, YouTube, TikTok), Instagram and Pinterest
  • Auditory
    • Music/Audio = Audible, Voice recordings/note-taking, Podcasts
  • Kinesthetic
    • Movement – Adobe Sketch, Use of keyboard or tablet to transfer V/A information.
    • Tactile – Interactive quizzes and engaging, educational games.

Rise in ADHD culture?

Gen Z picks up information far-faster than any generation prior, they are natural multi-taskers after all. They strive to work in tech and influencers are their role models. According to SXSW, Gen Z’s attention span is roughly eight seconds compared to the 12-second span for millennials. Some may regard this as ADHD culture however such toxic categorising only continues to isolate the future generation away from educators and further into influencers – mutual trust needs to be re-established.

Shortform video and online sites are powerful tools that these internet-natives are drawn to. Combining them with education may seem like an arduous task that could disconnect them due to ‘pandering’. However, it can work as I will showcase below.

Bill Wurtz is an American singer-songwriter and online video creator who went viral back in 2016 for his interesting take on the ‘History of Japan‘. The video provides a highly-saturated, bursts of infographic-based information with auditory, music tracks.

The comments alone prove this video is working – it’s engaging and revolutionary educational content can learn from such methods of engagement.

Procrastination is the major stumbling block when incorporating these elements. Firstly, it needs to be redefined. I know from first-hand experience listening to music while working on a project doesn’t detract from the work produced, it can help focus the brain and quiet the dopamine-craving release from completing an online video.

Educators must open-mindedly allow input from this generation about content that works for them. I understand it will take a compromise from both sides to work practically in any nationwide curriculum but the standard exam-system just doesn’t work any longer.

Video can be engaging, educational and no longer should be seen as a ‘relief tool’ for educators to take a break from mundane learning. Incorporating them into a hybrid alongside student engagement and a better understanding of VAK learning styles and providing alternatives for each type of user is the way to a fairer, more engaged educationally society.

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