My journey through this course had me re-imagining how a course can work. Instead of the ‘normal’ ho-hum way of doing things with grades and deadlines, we focus more on accomplishments and outcomes. Ok, maybe this is a bit of an exaggeration but the intent is true enough. Students participating in a gamified course earn XP (experience points) that correlate directly with their accomplishments. In other words, they earn for what they do instead of lose for what they don’t. If you’ve been following along with me through my journey, this isn’t the first time you’ve seen gamification. I’ve been at this for a while and was very excited to take this Quest-based learning course. I really felt that it was the final piece that my course was missing. Throughout the semester, we used a program called Rezzly to build an online platform for our quest based courses. You can check out the video I created to showcase my course here:
This week in EDTECH 564 we created augmented overlays using the Aurasma app. The app itself has a bit of a clunky user interface but the overall experience was pretty easy. I ended up creating a bunch of triggers and overlays around my school and showing anyone who would look. It made me think about applying this tech to an existing scavenger hunt another teacher in my school hosts. I can’t wait to give it a try.
My favorite bit of playing with the app came with setting up my globe at home to have a bunch of movies trigger depending on where on the globe you are focused. The only drawback, and it’s a HUGE drawback, is that you would have to use my very unique globe in order to view all the work I put in to it. The trigger basically matches a picture to the environment so if distributing your experience beyond a limited location is your goal, it is best if you use a widely available trigger or image. Overall, I see a huge potential to create engaging activities using tech students are already comfortable with.
This week in EDTECH564 Gamified Augmented Reality and Mobile we looked at VR headsets and available apps. Back in the spring I cleared a bunch of generic headsets on clearance from a local store’s shelf so I had a headset available. I have found that since the headset is generic, it didn’t have any selection mechanism in it. After tinkering unsuccessfully for a bit I ended up caving and buying a separate hand controller which went a LONG way in enhancing the experience. The apps I chose to review for the weeks assignment covered games as well as educational content. I was most impressed with Discovery VR in experience quality. I think that there are lots of ways an app like this can be incorporated into existing lessons. After looking at the educational stuff, I really wanted to see what the games are like. I ended up spending a bit of time playing Pac Man VR and found it quite entertaining. Since looking at the PacMan app, I have shown it to students, friends, & family and they all have loved it. In fact, at a picnic, I gave a viewer away to an enamored friend who ended up spending the night downloading games himself.
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!
For our EDTECH506 wk10 assignment we are tasked with creating an image that represents strategies in organization. I chose to use Pictochart for this assignment because I really wanted to demonstrate order and organization in a clear way and that is something Pictochart does well.
I used consistent coloring and shapes as with the rest of the unit. The only thing I varied was the background pattern. I’m not sure I like it, I tend to like white backgrounds but wanted to try something new (for me). As far as organization, I used a solid path with numbering to indicate order. The eye is led down the page and presented with content at each section.
For this week, I began to really dig into the “meat” of my project by working on a draft for my tutorials. I have re-used elements from past assignments to create consistency throughout the unit. Elements such as the header, font choice, and colors are all part of the overall style. While the content of this image will change and become more involved, the basic “style guide” is developed.
Color is being used to create consistency with the headings and text. I have found with tutorials that students respond better when the instructions are simple and the verbs are highlighted. This is what I have done with the highlighted words. Every time there is an expected action, the word is bolded and blued. I have also purposely distributed each section paying close attention to the white-space of the page, making sure everything has a place and nothing is crowded.
Reflecting on this image has me wondering if the left/right format of the tutorial is how I really want to proceed. I really like this format as it allows for several steps to be described in a single image. What I wonder is if a more vertical format will allow for screenshots with more information showing. Or perhaps I need to consider a mix of both formats. I will know better as I build it out.
This week we were tasked with using a design cycle to solve our graphic problems. Interesting enough I seem to be in a ‘design cycle’ cycle as I’ve just finished covering it in two of my classes that I teach and we’ve just done cycles in my other EDTECH class. Generally speaking a design cycle first figures out what a problem is, then brainstorms possible solutions, followed by putting those solutions into action and finally evaluating what worked or didn’t. Chapter 4 in our textbook uses a 3 step cycle called ACE; Analyze, Create, and Evaluate. The introduction image I chose to work on this week had many design challenges and I worked through this cycle a few times, completely switching directions at one point.
The image I created is an introduction image to the unit. My class (HS GenTech students) has an established procedure where we analyze any materials we have in the upcoming unit and we come up with the unit’s vocabulary words as a class. For this assignment, I created a graphic organizer for students to use during the process. They will use this handout during other vocab assignments (assuming they do not lose it) as their word bank.
For the design, I am using the same header as last week to keep consistency in my design and create flow throughout the unit. Since this is a worksheet that will get collected, graded, and returned, there is a section for student info in the upper right corner. I am also using a similar layout format with the rounded rectangles to chunk info. Based on class feedback, this time I’ve included numbers to indicate order. The trickiest part for me was laying out the two input sections. The final vocab table needed 10 cells for words which make it an awkward size and the brainstorm table needed a bit of instruction making that arrangement awkward. I’m mostly happy with how the pieces settled into place. While I would prefer the sections to be flipped do to order of use but I feel like the students will be ok with it since they are already familiar with the procedure. The awkward spacing of these sections provided a funny gap that I filled with a superfluous clipart image. While I don’t feel that the image is needed, the worksheet does seem to lack something without it.