For this weeks whitespace assignment, I wanted to start to really dig into some of the more difficult design challenges I am having in the unit. One assignment I have success with during the Google Slides unit is creating a Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) story. During this assignment, students are to brainstorm their stories on paper first. I’ve used this assignment only twice so far and both times I’ve given students their choice of a wide selection of outline organizers I found on the internet to use. I’ve found that the nature of the organizer, lots and lots of information, makes the outline templates tough to use. For this reason, I’ve been kicking around some ideas of how to not only make what I have been using better graphically, but to also custom make the organizer to better match the objectives of my course.
My biggest challenge is creating usable white space while organizing large amounts of data in a fairly compact space. I really wanted to keep the organizer to 2 pages for convenience and I needed to include at least 2 levels of the story. Sylvia Duckworth has created some really good flow chart templates but the general inspiration to my approach came from this presentation. I chose to use Google Slides to create the document and the page dimensions are letter sized. The image here is a composite of both pages. (open in Google Slides)
As you can see, and what you would expect, there is quite a bit of whitespace in the document. Since I have very limited space to work with, I tried to optimize the usable space by left-aligning the headings minimized as much of the provided text as possible. The coloring of the boxes is to help students identify at a glance each individual slide. Since many students tend to get lost in the mapping of the slides, I felt that in addition to the colors, the flow of the document should follow a logical order. The symmetry of the layout helps create order to something that can be quite overwhelming (Lohr 275). With other organizers, I’ve found that space for students to actually fill with their ideas is so limited in the final slides, that they often need to use additional paper. I wanted to avoid this and spent a bit of time figuring out how to maximize the space for these slides. I feel like I was successful as I was able to fit a full sentence or two in each box during my testing.
This weeks assignment is a bit different for me than the others in that I’ve been thinking about tackling this problem for a while now. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work on my ideas. That said, for this assignment, I also have ample testing subjects. Since we’ve already done our CYOA lesson last quarter, I was able to show this outline to students and get informal feedback on if they felt it would enhance the storytelling process. I had a couple students give valuable proofreading feedback as typos seemed to multiply on their own (they love finding my errors). Overall the feedback I received was positive but I could tell they were so over it and even my excited enthusiasm wasn’t enough to keep their interest. So.. I look forward to your feedback.. and most of all, I look forward to actually using this next year!