This week in EDTECH 564, we continued working on an instructional unit proposal. I chose to do my proposal on the initial unit in my Video Game Design course. In this unit, students begin by playing a series of games. Then they complete an Aurasma scavenger hunt throughout the school, finding and figuring clues as they go. There is a quick quiz app that students can review what they are learning about game components (character, setting, control, etc.) Finally, students create posters defining/describing the components they have learned about.
For some reason, I was thinking this was our final project for the class and I was thinking I would have time to actually build out some of the materials for this unit as I really would like to use it in the classroom. Turns out, I was wrong and we are moving on next week. I feel like if I had caught this earlier, I might have spent more time building up my proposal document.
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.
This week we are tasked with exploring universal design and visual literacy. Universal design is defined as “a usable design of products and environment, accessible to all people” (Lohr, 2008, p. 5). The concept of universal design is broad and covers all design. For the scope of this assignment, I am discussing universal design in relation to visual literacy; or the ability to interpret a message or task based on its visual design elements.
As I reviewed the materials this week, I spent a bit of time thinking about what type of imagery I would use. My intention was to find what I thought was the most obvious imagery that tells a story. My mind always circled back to the bathroom people.
This representative visual tells the user quickly what privacy room to use. While the feminist in me cringes at the dress definition for my gender, I cannot argue the ease people have in reading these signs. The uses of these gender figures is what could be considered a standard, like the international no symbol, to visually represent gender. The example below is the most common use, a restroom sign. I chose this sign to represent the use of these symbols because of the layout used. I feel like the layout itself is another standard followed. Designing using already defined standards and practices makes it easier for the viewer to comprehend the message and therefore increases a persons visual literacy.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: lessons in visual literacy (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.
This project was about using GameSalad’s table functions to create a quiz app. There was A LOT of prep content to cover which made it a bit overwhelming. Thankfully things are at a simple logic level as my non-programmer brain tends to fry a bit after “does it match or not”. I was able to use a simple table loaded with quiz questions to populate actors in a scene dynamically. After that, the tutorials guided me through the process of creating a drag and drop question. At this point, I got stuck with what appears to be a bug (although human error isn’t out of the question) where I had 3 tests in a rule that all needed to be true in order for the continue button to show. I could NOT get it to work and spent WAY too much time trying since it should have been very simple. I combed the “code” for errors, repeatedly. I created display blocks to show my variable values (variables are “attributes” in GameSalad) and everything worked but the dang button! Grrrr. For the drag and drop question, you automatically get points, even if your wrong. Hmph.
The graphics in this game are simple and a bit silly. While I would use something similar to this to test my HTML students, I’m not sure this would be my exact approach or tool.
View our presentation here.
In this project, our group explored the factors that are responsible for the digital divide and inequality in New Mexico. You can view the Prezi to get the whole scoop on what we learned. What I found most interesting is how different the perspective is in New Mexico than it is in my own state of Connecticut. For example, there are bigger ELL factors to consider in New Mexico than CT. I feel like this point should have been more obvious seeing as the state borders Mexico.. But it wasn’t something that occurred to me. I also did not realize that there was such an issue with families who have access. More than a quarter of New Mexico residents do not have connectivity at home and are forced to rely on public offerings.
This was my first time working with Prezi. I’ve heard of it before and have seen some presentations but never worked in it. I found it fairly intuitive and enjoyed working with the medium. There was some things, like working with the flow, that took me a while to figure out (and I’m not sure I’m 100% there). The best part of this tool is the ability to work collaboratively and concurrently with my other team members.
The knowledge I gained from this digital divide and inequality in New Mexico project will help me as an educator in understanding all the factors that go into being successful with our schools technology plan. During this process, I kept reflecting back to my own classrooms and the small digital divide that happens whenever I use technology in the classroom. My district is a middle-income area with more tendency towards lower incomes than high. The majority of our students have some form of connectivity (phone/ internet) at home and all of them have the skills to use it. This makes delivering technology based projects something that is fairly free of issues. I imagine being a teacher trying to incorporate technology into lessons in New Mexico can be frustrating.
If I had more time, I would spent more time learning Prezi. I found myself doing what I need to do more than playing around and seeing what could be done. Like I mentioned, I’ve seen Prezi presentations before so I know it can do more than what I’ve found. I really enjoy working with visual tools so there is so much that excites me about this tool. I WILL have more time eventually…
Welcome to my Boise State EDTECH Learning Log! This space will be used as a place to document my journey I will take while earning my M.E.T. with Boise State. Content such as artifacts, reflections, and documentations will live here.