In the final class of the semester, we talked about coding, augmented reality, and QR codes.
QR codes are specialized barcodes that can be printed onto documents or posters. When scanned by a smartphone, provide the viewer with additional information. These can be used in the classroom in a variety of ways. They can be used by students to attach additional information onto posterboards/graphics. Alternatively, they can be used by teachers to attach video or audio tutorial links to assignments or homework sheets.
Augmented reality takes QR codes to the next level. We learned about an app called HP reveal that allows teachers to create hot spots on homework sheets (or any paper) that students can scan. When these hot spots are scanned, they bring students to different web pages containing videos, pictures, or audio files that can help teach them certain concepts. Virtual reality is a different form of augmented reality. This can be useful for older students as it allows them to be immersed in different places without actually having to be there physically. There are a couple downsides to VR, one of which is that some people experience nausea when using it. Another downside is that it has been shown to have some adverse effects on some parts of the brain, which is why experts say that children under 13 should not use it and adults should limit use to 30 mins per day.
We were also given the chance to explore coding briefly. Coding was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. To be honest, I am so lost that I don’t even know how to describe it in this post. There are several games available to help kids learn how to code including Move the Turtle. Although coding isn’t specifically mentioned in the curriculum, it could be added in to address a more broad competency.
By now, if you have been following our posts, you will be an expert in graphic design (or at least very close)! As educators, we must ask the question- how can we use graphic design in the classroom?
Broadly, graphic design can be used to teach students how to visually express themselves so that others can understand their ideas. Graphic design can be found anywhere in the classroom- from posters to power-point presentations to info-graphics. It also can be used to set up our students for the future by helping them create resumes and cover letters for employers. If students are able to present themselves in a visually appealing manner, they are more likely to get jobs in the future. If an employer is deciding between giving an interview to someone with a poorly designed/unorganized resume or someone who is demonstrating organizational and design skills, who do you think they would give it to?
Graphic design can also be used by teachers to create concept maps and info-graphics to help enhance student learning. Teachers can also use it to create flyers for school events to send home to parents/guardians. Parents/guardians receive so many flyers from schools that they rarely read all of them. If you want your idea/event to stand out above others you need to design a flyer that does that.
Distributed learning: an instructional model that allows for students and teachers to be in different places and take part in learning regardless of place or time.
My experiences with distributed learning: I have never taken an online course. However, I know people who have and they have all said the same thing: that the online courses were much easier than the in class courses. Many people at my high school who took online courses did so in order to take the “easy way out”. I think that it was considered the easy way out because the system, SIDES, was not as sophisticated as I think it could be. Often, using this system, content was not focused on in as much depth as in the classroom. With all of the new technology there is today, we have the tools to make distributed learning more meaningful and accessible to all students. New technology coming out recently can help educators enhance their students learning experience regardless of where and when it takes place.
I fell off the wagon. I haven’t been on Duolingo for a couple of weeks now. After I lost my streak, I lost the habit of doing it every day. My experience has shown me that consistency is absolutely vital when learning a new skill, including language acquisition. Today I am going to start my Duolingo again and hopefully keep going until my trip in May. I am sure that I will learn a lot while I am there, but I would like to come armed with a few useful phrases.
Day 1 of my Duolingo comeback went really well! I expected to be a little rusty, but I actually caught on again right away. I think that my prolonged break actually caused me to be more focused on the lesson. When I was in the routine of doing it every day, sometimes I would find myself on “autopilot”–not even paying attention to what I was supposed to be learning.
Today in EDCI 336 we had the opportunity to explore Sketchnoting. Sketchnoting is the practice of taking notes that include words and visuals. It has been proven to improve memory and help concentration. Verbal to Visual posted a helpful graphic about sketchnoting:
Rich McCue took the class through a helpful workshop on how to effectively sketchnote. This workshop included practicing drawing shapes, different types of lettering, and common doodles. Sketchnoting is quite similiar to the trend of bullet journalling. Here is a picture of two pages in my colleague Maeve‘s bullet journal:
We also explored Twine in our class today. Twine allows users to creative interactive adventure stories (like the Black Mirror Episode “Bandersnatch”). I would love to use this tool in the classroom. First, I would ask my students to write stories. Then, I would ask them to put their stories into twine. I think that this activity would be exciting, exploratory, and engaging for a middle school class. Twine also allows students to explore coding if they are interested in that. Personally, I do not know anything about coding. However, I know that my future students will likely be knowledgeable about it. I am sure that they will be able to teach me more than I could ever imagine!
This week to further our learning of how we can use graphic design, we watched and learned from this video on Youtube all about branding and design. We found that this video summarized the other videos we have been learning from and brought all the various elements of graphic design together.
Essentially, branding is how others perceive you and your company and your product.
Your visual identity is how your branding looks with your colour, typography, etc. Visual identity can be very persuasive for the consumer. Visual identity sets the tone for your product or brand.
The main elements of Visual Identity are:
A logo can include a small image or icon and/ or some text. A good logo is a simple logo. All of the elements of your logo contribute to your brand’s identity and visual identity. Main colours used in the brand should be reflected in the logo. Like with all graphic design, use complementary colours to avoid vibrating and to ensure you don’t go too crazy with colours. Be sure to include a neutral colour in your logo and brand as well. When choosing fonts for the text, choose about three and be sure that they compliment each other and depict your brand well. Avoid overused and ugly fonts like comic sans ms and papyrus. When in doubt, use a timeless font that does not distract from your message. When choosing images for your brand, aim to tie them all together with a common thread such as colour, theme, or graphics. Avoid images that are generic or unauthentic.
Here is a little logo made with Adobe Spark that I use for my own blog:
I kept it very simple as I am drawn to a more simplistic design. I chose to use white as my background colour and a darker green on the white for my text. I used a classic font and then as a graphic I used some leafy plants that go in a circle as a border.
Today in EDCI 336 we had the amazing opportunity to work with Heidi James and her grade 6, 7, and 8 students today. Heidi and her students taught us how to use Minecraft in the classroom. Heidi has used Minecraft as a tool to teach science, social studies, and math. In social studies, Heidi had her class create various components of ancient civilizations. In teams, the students created entire civilizations as a final project. Heidi assessed the students on whether or not they had all necessary components in their civilization and also how well they worked as a team. She had access to all of their work and could check up on their progress along the way. In math, they used Minecraft to learn about coordinates in 3 dimensions (coordinates x, y, and z). All of the students who came to talk to us seemed passionate about Minecraft and excited about using it in the classroom. They were also confident in their abilities enough to teach us, a group of adults, how to use it. As a student, I think it would be empowering to be able to teach others, especially adults, how to do something. Minecraft also promotes collaboration in the classroom. It challenges students to problem solve in order to reach one goal.
I would love to use Minecraft Edu in my classroom one day. There are so many possibilities to incorporate Minecraft into the classroom. There are also countless opportunities for cross curricular connections. Minecraft allows students to explore and inquire about the possibilities of the world that they are in. It gives students endless opportunities to create and be leaders in their own world. I am a little intimidated about the prospect of using Minecraft in my own classroom because my knowledge is limited. There are lots of tutorials and resources for teachers available, so I would not be alone in the learning process. I also keep reminding myself that my learners will be able to help me because they will likely have a wealth of knowledge to share.
During Tuesday’s class we had the pleasure of listening to Jesse Miller talk to us about social media, internet safety, and using technology as educators. I have listened to many talks about internet safety that focused on “scaring everyone straight”. It was refreshing to listen to a presenter talk about social media in a positive way, without using scare tactics. Jesse highlighted the fact that lots of kids do amazing things with technology and, as educators, we should encourage this. He also talked about the fact that adults often point fingers at kids and say that they do not use social media appropriately. Jesse countered this by asking, “do adults really use social media appropriately?”. The answer to this, for the most part, is no. Jesse spoke about the importance of using social media appropriately as a teacher. There are many concerns as a teacher using social media: remaining professional, adhering to school rules, and keeping student information private. Another issue that I am glad Jesse made me aware of is the fact that your principal can track your use of the internet when you use the school network. He also talked about the necessary steps to make a class Instagram account. Personally, I am not interested in doing something like that. However, it is good to know in case a colleague ever asks me for help when they are creating one.
For week six of our graphic design inquiry project we focused on the importance of layout & composition in a project. We watched this video on how to properly organize the different components of graphic design projects & here are the 5 points we learned!
Proximity- using visual space to show relationship
make sure related items are grouped together to make work easier to read/understand
White space- helps define & separate different sections
don’t be afraid to use it!
makes sure your work remains uncluttered
Alignment- how each item in your design lines up
inconsistent alignment makes your work look messy
Contrast- difference in text, colour, proximity, size…
helps catch the readers eye & emphasizes important items (& make these stand out)
Repetition- every part of a project should have a consistent look & feel
Makes your work easier to read because the viewer knows what to expect
Paying attention to details like these is what will make your graphic designs stand out among others! For more videos on graphic design, click here!
Today, we decided to experiment with PicMonkey. PicMonkey is a photo editing and graphic design tool. It is easy to use and offers users tutorials to help them achieve their specific design needs. PicMonkey gives users the option to being with either a template or blank canvas. It also allows you make specific searches based on your needs.
PicMonkey is easy to use and all of us could definitely see using it in the classroom. However, PicMonkey has a massive downside: it costs money. We took advantage of the 7 day free trial in order to test it out. However, it is not realistic to pay $7.99/month for a graphic design tool as a teacher. It is much more reasonable to use a free tool like Canva or Adobe Spark for any graphic design opportunities in the classroom.