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.
The main idea behind this weeks EDTECH506 graphic is using emphasis to draw out meaning. The terms used in the chapter are figure for the thing that you want to emphasize and ground for what is in the background. The readings for the week showed different examples of calling attention to content using many basic design principles such as manipulating positive and negative space. As I browsed through the examples, I got a better understanding of applying these principles to creating instructional materials. For my project this week, I chose to create a poster for the classroom showing the Google Slides toolbar.
The instructional purpose is to provide students this toolbar cheat sheet for quick reference. I tried to make the toolbar and labels pop out of the page by subduing the background image. I feel like this worked ok but after showing it to my test team (my family) I felt that there wasn’t enough “pop.” I solved this problem by adding some drop shadows which I feel does a good job of separating the foreground and background.
For this weeks EDTECH 506 assignment, we are tasked with creating an instructional graphic using CARP (Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, and Proximity). Personally, I feel that CARP is a key guideline when doing anything in graphic design. That said, I also feel like much of these concepts can happen unconsciously.
The graphic I choose to create for my Google Slides unit is an infographic on basic guidelines and suggestions for creating a slideshow. The intended use is to be printed in poster format and hung in the classroom.
Contrast: Contrast is being used with colors in the heading swoosh as well as typefaces. The contrast in this piece is there but minimal. Probably my least favorite part of the image is the lack of contrast in background colors vs foreground colors.. but at the same time this lack of contrast is intentional in an effort to create consistency without drawing attention to any one specific thing.
Alignment: The two main sections of this image show slightly different alignment schemes. All text and images are aligned consistently throughout and negative space is effectively used to lead the eye to the areas I’ve intended.
Repetition: The two main sections of the image show sub-sections with the same format repeated across the image. The slideshow tips use a snapshot format and the presenter tips use a simple center aligned list. Throughout the piece, the images are presented on top of a lighter circle background. This ties all the imagery together. Font typefaces and weights are also consistent to show headings and content text.
Proximity: You can very clearly identify, at a glance, that there are two main sections of the image. You can tell this by the proximity of the sub-sections and how they are laid out in a similar fashion.
What I would do differently
When updating this image for final use, I would try to re-work the ‘snapshot’ section. I feel like there is too much negative spacing here and overall makes the piece feel a little weak in the middle.
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 creating instructional materials focusing on the use of shapes. Here is my project:
The students using this “at a glance” guide are high school technology students. They have already learned about Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets and are familiar with the Google layout. This handout is meant to provide a quick snapshot of the concept of Themes and Masters. Many students have used Google Slides often but do not know about Master pages and the ones who do know, don’t seem to take advantage of the tool. I feel this handout (poster?) provides a quick reminder.
The use of shapes in this handout is throughout the document. The header uses simple shapes to define a heading and title area. These shapes provide for a clean look (Lohr, 2008, p. 250) and tie together with the overall theme of the unit. The arrows bring attention to the main point of each image. I chose the overall display shape based on how many points I wanted to make. (Lohr, 2008, p. 255) In this case, I kept it simple with 4 squares as I didn’t want it to get too busy and move away from an “at a glance” tool.
The person I had test my design gave feedback on the graphic aspect vs the instructional one. Based on this person’s feedback, I can see areas where the spacing could be tightened up, for example between the header and first squares as well as the very bottom of the page. It was also suggested to add a footer similar to the header, I agree that would be a nice touch.
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy(2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.