Monthly Archives: October 2016

Course 3 Final Project

I began the final week without a clear idea of what I wanted to do.  I had started by creating a basic infographic based on Seth Godin’s  “Here, I made this” post, as promised last week:

here-i-made-thi_17051997_1b4de737762b742848e2c8000cde4249d1c5add2

*not quite happy with the unbalanced white space, but it was an “icongraphic” created from scratch (no template) so I’ll let that go.

I didn’t think this was enough and it was more for fun than anything, so I continued to think.

I’d already revamped a variety of presentations for earlier posts this course, and I’ve had my fill of relatively recent film projects (I took on the rather ambitious task of creating a Goodbye Video for 9 leaving staff members, enlisting the help of remaining staff on two campuses to combine and edit footage of staff and students), so I decided to choose the 3rd option, Create an About Me Page.  I had a look at Sonya terBorg’s example and loved the revamp of her resume, and wanted to do something similar…but less “resume-ish.”

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I am mostly an infographic newbie and wanted to further explore and play about with visually representing My data, ideas, interests.  

I had earlier mucked about with the All About Me Template on Piktochart, and noticed with each draft, the visuals improved considerably and the information was more tailored to what I wanted to share and highlight.  

I’ll start with my thinking behind the Design Elements:

I started with my most recent New and Improved All About Me as a template:

My second version of the infographic

Infographic I shared with students in My Design Club

but in the end, little remained of the original.  I loved the warmth of the rustic wood background–although somehow a juxtaposition to my “tech-y” role, I still wanted to keep it, feeling it complemented my focus on incorporating Tech in the Outdoors and my school’s Reggio Inspired approach to Early Learning.

I played about with the colour scheme some, initially wanting a gender neutral, but funky melon/orange and blue/green mix…I pulled the melon colour from the dress I am wearing in the photograph and peppered it around the page.  (The colour of the ‘Likes and Skills’ icon is fixed, so that colour is a bit off, unfortunately.)

The page is divided into threes, a design feature in homage to the rule of thirds. I also paid close attention to the CARP design principles:  I made sure to add features that would provide enough Contrast (colour blocks behind text to make it easier to read) which at the same time helped with Proximity–by grouping like information (Job History; Current Job Focuses; Interests & Skills.)  I used icons representing my interests in the bottom right and a head shot in the top right for compositional balance.  

Many of the icons had a cacophony of default fonts, which I had to change and resize in order to Repeat the basic two I had chosen (Copse and Deconeue). The Data Charts’ title and legend default font could not be altered, unfortunately, resulting in a 3rd font that doesn’t quite fit with my typography attempt at “a palette with wit” combining tough (Deconeue) and sweet (Copse).

Finally, much fine tuning went into making sure the Alignment was as good as I had the patience to make it.  Sometimes simple movements of .1mm would cause all the text boxes that had been “moved to the front” to disappear, resulting in my near loss of sanity.  

Deciding what ‘hard data’ to share in my infographs and how to share it was also a stickler.  I started off with the traditional resume summary of where I had worked and in what roles, but with a twist by using this data to create a “timeline/percentage bar graph of places worked.” I didn’t give it a title and hope this is evident without explanation.  

The other ‘infograph’ within an infograph (chart where data is entered) was the breakdown of my current focuses/time spent/head space allocated within a typical work week.  Of course this varies, and some weeks Coetail’s % is considerably higher…

new-and-improve_16953691_7a43fa9cd17016e258156fe774565942e1eba88d

The first part of my Revamped All About Me Page.

The second part of my All About Me Page is a live Google Map of my Resume, or my “Learning Journey.”  I loved this idea from the last week’s readings and decided to try it out myself.  I also like that it is a live document, so I can continually add or edit items without having to re-save/download and upload to the blog (as required by the free version of Piktochart…I wonder at the paid version’s sharing options).

I added traditional elements like my schooling &  places worked, and hope to add more “places” and descriptions as they strike me and photos as I stumble upon them. I also added a few key personal and exotic experiences that helped shape where and who I am today (meeting my future husband the day after a sketchy late night stranding on the side of the road in Zambia…)  

I did have an All About Me Page previously, with a headshot and a wordy paragraph about my new role and focus. Unfortunately I forgot to take a screenshot before all the changes, but needless to say, it is much improved. I am not planning on using it for recruitment purposes anytime soon, and am not entirely sure of the immediate applications with either students or teachers I work with. Does this make the process of doing it any less valuable? Absolutely not. As I write this, I am flipping back and forth between my Infographic and Map and reflecting and changing and improving things (and my thinking) ever so slightly. I am experiencing a renewed appreciation of the fact that documenting learning and reflecting on learning is learning.

I am reminded of George Couros’s archived post from my Feedly this week with a brilliant quote from John Dewey:

 

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”

 

Confessions of an Infographic Newbie

 

I am an infographic newbie.  (Mostly.)

I first tried one out last week in my Digital Design Club. In the spirit of getting to know one another better, while simultaneously teaching safe online sharing, I  asked the students to create an All About Me Infographic using a template from Piktochart. I played around with it a little before giving them this task, of course, but my playing around was more along the lines of how to… 

The template from Piktograph

The template from Piktochart

 

  • edit text boxes
  • insert a head shot
  • change graphics/colours/fonts
  • share and export

 

In other words, this Tech Integrator focussed on the Tech side of things…or the graphic in infographic.  

 

My first rushed job of basic manipulations of the template

I didn’t spend too long thinking about the information side of the equation (not to mention design) And that, I quickly realised, is at least half of the battle:

“What should I put down?”  “What do you want to know?”  “But I only know one language.” (in reference to the template’s graphic representation of language spoken) was heard throughout the room.

Later, giving it a second go myself,  I scratched my head wondering what to share and how to best to show that graphically.

My second version of the infographic

My second version of the infographic, more carefully thought out

I have spent a good deal of time thinking about design elements when creating presentations or possible infographics…And this visual does it very nicely…but it’s the what to share aspect of creating an infographic that is challenging, and needs just as much time as the how.

As fellow Coetailer Christopher Panna describes in his post :

They were initially excited at the opportunity to use this format, until they realised it would be just as much work as a writing project. Sketching a concept for their graphic, using the right kinds of charts, visuals, and colours, PLUS doing the research was no small task. “

He offers a book recommendation- Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures  where the first line of the promotional tag gave me a #ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmm kind of thought.

“There is no more powerful way to prove that we know something well than to draw a simple picture of it.”

People often describe the ability to teach (well) in the same terms.

So…I realised I sometimes get lost in the tech side of things and focus more on teaching the tool than on how to best use it to teach something arguably more important.

20 Minute Teaching Time Limit Dilemma…this is an After School Club, after all:

Teaching technical skills involved in manipulating an infographic template  vs presenting safe and interesting information worth sharing about oneself visually...all while incorporating design principles?

The more I think about it, being able to present key information graphically/visually can be paramount to others’ actually understanding that information.  

Just today I kept re- reading Google Support to check sharing settings when sharing things with colleagues vs students vs blog. But it wasn’t until I saw this visual grid comparing each sharing setting that it suddenly became clear:

screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-11-40-01

Thank you, Saikat Basu, from 10 tips for managing files in google drive. I love my top 10 lists!

Finally, this is a bit random, but here are some more #ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmm moments I had while perusing this week’s readings:

  • This infographic showing How Productivity Works.  It  visually compartmentalises different areas of life (mindset-habit-body-”life hacks”) and how all work together to aid or impede one’s productivity…(and I wonder, happiness?)
  • This post from Seth Godin and the power of the words, “Here, I made this.” 
  • Here, I made this. Photo, Pixabay.

    Here, I made this. Photo, Pixabay.

“These four words carry generosity, intent, risk and intimacy with them.”

*If I had all the time in the world for this post, I would try to make an infographic or visual representation of Seth’s currently-all-words-concept.  Perhaps that’s my final project.

 

Digital Stories Revisited

In 7 essential skills that aren’t taught in school, there is an Andy Warholesque 15 minutes of fame kind of quote:

“Your goal is not immortality,

but a momentary piercing

of the ever-shifting zeitgeist.”

I would argue that one of these of these essential skills is being able to tell a story and spread your message not only digitally, but in a way as to engage and influence people.  

Pixabay attribution free image +google drawings

Pixabay attribution free image +google drawings

Last year, I began to explore this idea with my small group of Early Years students with a vengeance.

With only 7 children, and a relatively open curriculum, I had the luxury of working individually with each of them (or in small groups) on different digital storytelling projects throughout the year.  Using Book Creator, we began by creating class ebooks based on books read in class.

*Note: I am a huge Book Creator fan.  I have been introducing it to all the first grade students (and their teachers) this past week using this short presentation. Feel free to make a copy/download.

One of these ebooks was our own version of Todd Parr’s, “It’s Okay to be Different.”  Students thought long and hard about what made them different from other students in the class.  One said, “It’s okay to speak Spanish.” Another declared, “It’s okay to call your dad  Mausi.”

IT”S OKAY TO BE DIFFERENT:

Once downloaded as an epub to our ibooks library, and shared to our class blog, the students could view the digital book at any time, just as they might a real book.  They could then view and revisit the ebooks they had created on the ipads, on the desktop and projected onto the wall.

When revisiting their digital stories, I noticed that different digital viewing formats offered different possibilities and extensions of the learning experience. 

Projecting an ebook onto the wall initiated a re-arrangement of chairs for ideal viewing (theatre style.) This sudden re-arrangement of the room provided a provocation for different feelings and connections. The children suddenly felt the seating reflected a train journey, leading to a mini inquiry into riding trains.

img_1128

The viewing experience of projecting eBooks onto the wall prompted a completely new inquiry: riding trains!

img_1787

Students became focussed on creating their own tickets–those with little interest in print now had an authentic reason to practice their SBB’s. (Swiss Rail System.)

We projected clips of moving trains onto the wall and the children rehearsed packing bags , catching trains, and punching tickets…eventually making their own tickets, using the local Swiss SBB logo as our guide.

Of course this spin off was unrelated to our ebook…but the process of revisiting our work and the way in which we viewed the book prompted an entirely new and unexpected learning inquiry.

We also re-visited our Books as epubs in the iBooks library. (Books created on different iPads were eventually Airdropped onto all other iPads so the students could access all books on any iPad, acting as a traveling library.) The portability of the iPads allowed us to bring them to our Buddy classes.  We shared the stories with a wide range of ages—all of them impressed by our school’s littlest learners.  It also prompted discussion: “Wow, how did you do that?” and provided an opportunity for the students to develop their oral skills.  Other class teachers—viewing over the students’ shoulders, learned something, too and were motivated to create their own ebooks.

We also uploaded all creations to our class blog so they could be shared at home with family members, or at school assemblies.  All comments made by others were revisited in class, helping to build the confidence and perseverance to make more ebooks.

Finally, viewing the ebooks on the desktop helped build other skills—the understanding that different devices provide different views of the same thing, but perhaps more importantly– the patience and fine motor skills required for small hands to maneuver and click with an aging mouse!

With each new ebook we tried to blend a different app or or learn a new process.  

With our next ebook, we focussed on another element of our “All about me Unit”–our favourite things. The children explored the instant alpha tool in a separate photo editing app, Juxtaposer.  We developed our fine motor skills and attention to detail further as students carefully traced around a photo of their bodies to erase the background, before adding it to their favourite page in the book about favourite things. 

ALL ABOUT ME:

Next, we blended video, pictures and sound and tried out the (then new) comic book feature in Book Creator when we made a Quiet and Loud book.  The students needed to think of two juxtaposing ideas for the book–(doors are quiet, but slamming doors are loud…very challenging for 4 year olds–they needed help with this. )  Now familiar with the book making process, the students slowly began taking more ownership of the design elements of making a book—selecting the colours of their page, their font and basic layout:

QUIET AND LOUD:

It was around Thanksgiving when my fabulous Ed Tech Coach, Jocelyn Sutherland brought us an iPad stand.  We immediately jumped into playing around with Stop Motion.  She initially tried a simple claymation technique using playdough…

…which we eventually modified to create the word ‘Happy’ as the “intro” to our class Thanksgiving ebook.  The students developed many literacy and digital skills while making the “title page” alone–

  • letter recognition/formation–we created the letters we used to make the stop motion video in Letter School and learned to take a screen shot
  • importing screen shots into Pic Collage for easy printing
  • more letter formation using playdough
  • intro to spelling–that the letters that make up Thanksgiving must go in certain order
Early Years students learning Stop Motion movie making techniques from 5th Grade Buddies. Photo, my own

Early Years students learning Stop Motion movie making techniques from 5th Grade Buddies. Photo, my own

Interested students learned the process of making stop motion videos using Stop Motion Studio App with the help of our fifth grade buddies.  I documented the entire process in our class blog here.

This began our lengthy exploration into stop motion as a digital story telling tool and prompted the evolution of moving from ebooks to pure movie making magic.  I plan to continue to document and reflect on the learning process in future posts.