Digital Graphics


Week One
Discussion:
My carnival poster. I created it using MSPublisher. This poster took a few days for me to create. The original design was created by a class officer, the corresponsing secretary for the senior class, for our fall carnival. He did not incorporate any design elements, just a plain, boring poster stating that the we were hosting a carnival. I added the background which I found by doing a google search (I do not remember the site). The other images are clipart found in the MS Clipart Organizer. I arranged the elements with balance in mind. The bottom image of a candy bag with the Titans log was a gif item that I could not edit to remove the white background. I tried to use images that would blend well without showing their background. I also tried to use WordArt to add interest to carnival elements. For instance, I inflated the word inflatables. I also tried to be consistent with the font.
Contrast using colors, shapes and sizes, images, and WordArt.
Repetition using the same font and color WordArt, same pictures at top of page, same font throughout the work.
Alignment: each element is connected to the theme, fall carnival. I aligned everything on top of the fall carnival background and balanced all elements around that theme.
Proximity: I tried to place things that related to each other together. For instance, I placed a picture of a clown close to the word clowns on the poster.
I can use this poster to show students how to add interest to their work. The student who created the poster is now adding images and color to other things he creates.



Week 2
Discussion:
With the increasing popularity of social networking, students might be branding themselves without even knowing it. Just by using the same username on different websites you can start a brand. Please respond to the following questions on the weekly discussion board:
When do we start teaching students about self branding? Self-branding starts as soon as students learn that they need individual log-ins for games or on the Internet. My 4 and 5 year old grandchildren are very aware of how to log-on to accounts created for them. Furthermore, I feel that my students are already self-branding. They use unique user names for their log-in on our student social sites. Some of the names are rather catchy. Some of my students also use quirky ways to write their names using upper and lower case letters and different fonts. I have to remind them not to save files like this. I think we need to let students know that they are creating a brand for themselves. I would help them to understand what they want to project as their 'brand' for the world to see. At the high school level this is extremely important.

What concepts about branding are important to teach? Students do not want to create a persona for themselves that is negative or derogatory. They need to know that potential employers and some universities may frown upon some of the names they choose for themselves.

What strategies would you use to teach students about the concept of branding? I agree with Alcantara that you must: "Start by making a list of companies, slogans, comic books, TV shows, movies — anything that has a message to say that’s primarily through visual means — that you are fond of or feel that reflects your own personality. Then, make a list of every possible animal you think reminds you of yourself. Same thing with inanimate objects, and things in nature. Write down some adjectives you feel that describes things in those list. Forget “sillyness” — anything and everything is game. (Alcantara, L., 2009)." I know my students will love doing this! They would also enjoy having friends and acquaintances create a list of 3 adjectives to describe them (Alcantara, L., 2009). I think that would be a great way for students to learn things about themselves. They also have to be ready for honest opinions and not be offended by the adjectives.

How can branding be used in an educational environment? Schools can be a safe haven for discovery. Students, especially at the high school level, need the experience of experimenting with all levels of learning, especially about themselves . They need to understand that the world will create a name for you if you do not define yourself. They need to have positive engagement with their peers in the safe cocoon of the school. Then they will be able to better understand and express themselves when they enter the world of work or college. Self-branding can be an excellent tool for self-discovery.
Alcantara, L. (2009). The art of self-branding. Retrieved from http://www.lealea.net/blog/comments/the-art-of-self-branding-part-one/

Week Three
Discussion:
What are the implications for using animation in the K-12 classroom? Our students are digital natives, plain and simply. Animation holds everyone's attention, even older people. My grandson had to be shooed away from me so that I could concentrate on the animation I was creating. I think that, if used properly, animation can be used to teach many disciplines. Case in point, Compass Learning Odyssey. We use this at the high school to help students with math and English last school year, it has yet to be implemented this school year. The program uses animation and live action to teach students important concepts. Just think, when our students create their own animation, they can use it to teach others while learning themselves.

How can animation bring the “real world” to the classroom? Online programs, like Compass Learning Odyssey and Study Island, are examples of real world learning being brought into the classroom. Our high school students felt that the programs helped them understand concepts that they did not grasp with just paper and pencil. Again, I feel that students can create animation to explain and teach. Older students can create lessons for younger grades or even for students who need a little help with subject matter.

How can you use Bloom’s Digital taxonomy with your co-workers? Bloom's has been a mainstay in classrooms for many years. Teachers may need to understand how to apply it to technology. I like the revised taxonomy. I also like the phrase "LOTS" for lower order thinking skills. Technology classes must operate at the "HOTS" or project driven level. I think that all disciplines can have students create. When it comes to animation, students can create lesson to review what they learned. I can imagine a high school student creating an animation of Beowulf or the Robert Frost poem, "The Road Less Traveled," or of math, science, and social studies concepts. If teachers are introduced to the revised Bloom's, there is no limit to what they can have students create. Plus, as instructors, we can use Bloom's at the creating level to create wikis or to blog about things that are being covered in our classes. Teachers can also create wikis for their students.

Week Four
Discussion:
There is skepticism in the educational community regarding the applicability of gaming to education. Games have been shown, in numerous studies and in homes across America, to both excite and motivate students. What impact does this have on the education community?
The education community seems to be asleep at the wheel when it comes to gaming. I do not think that teachers like the idea of allowing students to play "games" in class. Many of the old-school principals are not tech-savvy; their younger counter-parts are. One of our assistant principals, who is not a school principal, was very aware of the learning and engaging power of games in school. She spearheaded the use of Compass Learning Odyssey in the classroom, especially for extended day classes (http://compasslearningodyssey.com). The only downfall was follow-up by core teachers. The product was there, very few teachers used it to its full potential. We were also a Study Island campus; again, core teachers did not use this tool to help re-teach. I know the core teachers will protest this allegation stating that they barely have time to cover all the TEKS students need to master to pass TAKS. I am saying that educational games could be used as a means to that end.

As with any technology integration, the integration of games and simulations affects how curriculum is delivered in the classroom. How would you assist your co-workers unpack the potential of educational gaming?
First, educators need to be reminded that our student body is made up of kids (and their parents) who are digital learners. Everything in our households are digital, from the clock to the vacuum cleaner, to television, to you name it, it is digital. Our students know how to program phones and cameras. They can write programs for the computer. They create Web sites like MySpace and Facebook. They are immersed in technology. When they come to school they must dummy down! We need to tap into that potential that lies within our students. How can we do this? I am glad you asked. By allowing students to access the many educational games available to them. Since administrators like research-based facts, I would share these findings: "Research into games for educational purposes reveals some interesting trends. Early studies of consumer games helped to identify the aspects of games that make them especially engaging and appealing to players of various ages and of both genders: the feeling of working toward a goal; the possibility of attaining spectacular successes; the ability to problem-solve, collaborate with others, and socialize; an interesting story line; and other characteristics. These qualities are replicable, though they can be difficult to design well, and they can transfer to games featuring educational content. We are discovering that educational content can be embedded in games rather than tacked on, and that players readily engage with learning material when doing so will help them achieve personally meaningful goals. (Johnson, et.al., 2010)"

What questions would you ask when evaluating an educational game prior to using it in the classroom?
The first thing a principal would ask is: "How will this impact my scores?"
Next, "What will students learn that can be applied to life outside this classroom?
"Will educational games teach students to interact with each other and the world outside the classroom?"
"How will the game(s) help students learn how to handle problems that need to be solved?"

Johnson, L., Smith, R., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2010). 2010 Horizon Report: K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from courseware December 12, 2010.

Week Five
Discussion:
Today's classrooms are becoming more academically diverse in most regions of the United States (and elsewhere, for that matter). Many, if not most, classrooms contain students representing both genders and multiple cultures, frequently include students who do not speak English as a first language, and generally contain students with a range of exceptionalities and markedly different experiential backgrounds. These students almost certainly work at differing readiness levels, have varying interests, and learn in a variety of ways. Based on your readings for the week and the activities that you have completed in this course, describe 4 strategies you would use to assist teachers/co-workers with creating a personal plan for implementing technology-supported instruction for diverse learners.
Planning for implementation of technology is not for the faint of heart. Teachers, the most creative people in the world (most can take nothing and make something awe-inspiring), feel that they do not have time to learn anything that will take more than a few minutes to understand and implement. In other word, they want it yesterday!

Strategy 1: I would begin by showing teachers the value and usefulness of technology that is to be implemented. Most of the tools we have learned about are free. The only program which needs to be downloaded is Scratch. I know that teachers can find useful applications for all projects we created.

Strategy 2: Implementation must include in-depth instruction. This could include practical uses. We get new technology and a drive-by approach to training. I would share how to create the projects in their classroom. Instruction should be needs based; those who understand can move on, those needing more help would have one-on-one help.

Strategy 3: Next, teachers want to know how will this new technology help make my life easier? The next step would include practical implementation. After I share some of the projects, I need to show how they can be used in their classrooms. Teachers will then need time to practice and learn, instead of a sink or swim approach to new technology. For example, we had two lesson plan programs available on campus. Some teachers felt that they learned how to use the old program and did not want to learn the new program. Once they learned that the old program would no longer be available, they were forced to learn the new program. The good thing is that it took more than a year to phase-out the old before the implementation of the new program. That gave teachers time to really learn the new before the crutch of the old was removed. But, on the other hand, we have technology that is still in the box in many classrooms. Again, the drive-by approach to training did not stick, so teachers have not used the technology. The good thing about the programs and software we used is that it is readily available for free or is already installed on most computers.

Strategy 4: My final plan would be to have access to training, either in person or online, available at all times. Our tech support are teachers, so they can not stop whenever someone has a crisis. They could create videos showing teachers, step-by-step, how to use new technology. All of the projects we created for this class are very easy to teach and share. Only one required a download. The logo could be created in Paint or any free on-line photo editing software. The animation required download, and this may be a problem for district techs. The newsletter could be created with any document software, including Word, Publisher, or free programs like GoogleDocs.

I found the following quote not only true, but applicable to the need for technology integration on our campuses: "Because technology continues to play an important role in modern industrial society, integrating technology into the schools will help prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing world. 'Technology is transforming society, and schools do not have a choice as to whether they will incorporate technology but rather how well they use it to enhance learning' (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory & Illinois State Board of Education, 1995). Technology integration also is important because it supports the goals of education reform"(North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1998).

Critical Issue: Developing a School or District Technology Plan. Revised 1998. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Retrieved December 16, 2010 from http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/methods/technlgy/te300.htm.