Seeing Time – Who are these kids?

Attribution Some rights reserved by SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

The assignment for this week as to find an infographic and think about how we would use it with our class.

I chose this image for a few reasons, the most significant in my mind would be the desire to work with these students.  As an EdTech coach, and someone deeply interested in the environment, I think it would be great to be working with more kids outside.

In grade 3 we are looking at design using the CRAP design principles.  Reid created this which I also shared with my class.

This is creative commons certified just hard to see

Our class looked at the first image and found that the colour theory was what made the first infographic difficult to process. We though that by using contrast between outdoor colours and indoor colours the graphic may have been more engaging. 
The students found the colour scheme really interesting.  They didn’t know how it was chosen.  While at Learning 2.0 with Heather Dowd I talked about Kuler  which lets you look at images and take a colour scheme from them. We found this tool really useful and I wondered about how we could use this to make the infographic more engaging. 
Screen shot taken from the app store

The big take aways for me this week are how important colour and design principles are when trying to engage learners.   We’ve been talking about the importance of images, but we really need to create or use powerful images as teachers.  Without powerful beautiful images (Heather suggested we keep a beautiful images catalogue in our google+, which I am going to start) we can’t really engage students the way we want, and there is no great example for students to shoot towards.

More than this, I’ve been chatting with my environmental education group about the importance of story telling.  I think images, infographics and stories can play a powerful role in creating connections between people and their world, but in order to do that, we need to have powerful images.

Digital Story Telling

This is from a group of grade 2 students I work with.

We’ve been talking in the second grade about different ways we can tell a story.  One of the things we’ve thought deeply about is how to make stories more visual.  Two classes joined together and used the story of Jack and the Beanstalk (did you guess that already?).  The wanted to share their findings to parents and classmates at an assembly.  Different groups (mixed groups by student choice and interest) chose different ways to tell the story. There were actors, claymation, documentary (of the process of creation, not the story itself) storybooks and retells.

As a tech coach I worked with the documentary team and the claymation team.

Both groups worked hard to share their story through images. In the documentary group, they all agreed that pictures were important to document the process and interviews would create a connection with people (mainly for the parents).

At the end of the four weeks (a total of eight lessons).  The students (not just the ones in the creation groups) were all very impressed with the documentary.  They were amazed at how far they had come and all of the students loved seeing their work of the process.

PARC Design Methods

Design Methods in Elementary

With grades two and three this year we’ve been looking at what makes something “good”.  We’ve focused on pictures, videos and blogs (a lot in a short time, but we are far from finished) and how we can make our current things better. 
Last year I did a similar unit on digital design where I’ve changed CRAP to PARC (lots of other COETAILers have used CARP, I don’t know, the francophile in my loves the the park). I made a quick slideshow (which thankfully I don’t have anymore, so I can’t show you) about what these methods are, and how to use them.  It was an ugly presentation created on powerpoint that was very functional, but not very beautiful. 
I’ve tried this year to focus on bringing a simpler version to the new school. Drawing from the Presentation Zen (I wonder why they didn’t do pre-Zen-tation, anyway) I looked at the less is more kind of idea.  Using a strong image and the concept of the slide I wanted to make connections between the word and the image. 
I used the same image twice. In my presentation I’m going to ask the students what makes the first image powerful, and then we move to the second slide with the word and talk about what the word might mean, and then we move on. 
The quotation took me forever to find, I wanted to find something interesting, but something elementary school students (from as young as 3) could understand. I wanted to get the idea that creation was important. Since it is important, we need to think about why and how we create.  By using principles (not rules, I wonder if I should change it to ideas) of PARC we can create more useful images. 
When I did this last year (with a substandard presentation) the students really got the idea and applied it to their google slide presentations, and power point presentations. 
Blogs are a big push this year at our school for the grade 3s.  We’ve been setting up the lessons and all the students have been playing around with colour (which is going to be my next presentation revision) and I’m trying to help them understand why purposeful creation to engage the audience is so important.  
I think images can focus young learners, and build on their understanding to use the new vocabulary more effectively.  This is going to be a reflective process throughout the year, and I am going to add a colour presentation (to hopefully get rid of all the random rainbows).  I think that by starting with what you make is important (and surrounded by white space) students will start to think more deeply about their digital design creations. 

Design thinking

I’ve really been looking forward to this course. Digital design is something I’ve been thinking a lot about, but really need a chance to apply it and get feedback.
I’m not the biggest fan of electronic music, but I recently bought the Daft Punk album Random Access Memory.  While listening to music, at times, I think about the design behind it.  This song in particular really flows well for me, I can follow the progression, and even though I don’t like every aspect of this song, I know why and how they all fit in.  The whole song seems very purposeful. It also tells a story, sometimes with words, sometimes with beat, sometimes with other tones. I understand (somewhat) the construction behind it. This course on digital design seemed to relate well to my thoughts on this blog. 
Part of the reason I created my personal blog, instead of my Coetail blog was I could change the actual layout of the blog. I had more options and more opportunities to create something more personal. I like how I can change the background, I have more influence over how wide my reading space is, I can change the labels easily and just totally customize it (if I want to).  I found the Coetail blog a little too limiting. 
Personal Blog
I chose clouds for both because it makes me feel at peace. I chose lots of white and blue and grey on both blogs for the calm feeling. I wanted to create a place for thought and relaxation. Something comforting. It also matches the background to my twitter page, which creates a sense of continuity. 
Coetail Blog
I realise there’s a lot more to do with the creation, and during this course I hope to make some more changes.  Right now I feel comfortable with the design of my blog, but I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it when I first started it. In the future, I think I’m going to change my header to make it a little more readable, and look more closely at the widgets to make sure that’s how I want everything organised. 
Last year I taught a lot about digital design with the young ones. Instead of CRAP design I changed it to PARC, just to solve a lot of laughing issues.  We talked extensively about the colour wheel, typography and the types of decisions designers made, and thankfully I noticed a huge difference in their slide presentations. 
So far this year I’ve talked about the importance of colour with my grade 3 students. We are using Google docs and i want them to think about how to engage their audience (or seriously disengage their audience) by choosing different colours.  It’s a slow start, but we are thinking about it. 
I thought the Visual Literacy blog could’ve used a design re-haul as well.  I’ve been thinking a lot about how Nicki needs more free reign in this course and how great it would be to understand “art” as much as she does (just slightly jealous).