Showing posts from 2012

Quick Tutorial: ARIS Dialog

Context: ARIS is a user-friendly, open-source platform for creating and playing mobile games, tours and interactive stories. Using GPS and QR Codes, ARIS players experience a hybrid world of virtual interactive characters, items, and media placed in physical space. ( ARIS homepage ) Some of my students are making ARIS games, and they wanted to be able to create character interactions within the game. Here's a quick video tut I made... I'll roll out a more polished version later. Enjoy.

Design Matters Part 3: Typography

It's taken me a long time to get to this post for two reasons. Number one, The first half of the school year was insane, and as you know were all busy. I'm also teaching an online class and am the adviser of the yearbook, which makes it doubly insane. Enough of the excuses. The other reason is because this is a tough topic to talk about, and it seems rather picky and somewhat overly particular, maybe excessive on my part... It's just something that I believe in, and I want to share with you. Why? I think that it could really help the overall look of your classroom and how seriously your students take your classroom. So, this design matters is first of all directed at you, the teacher. I'll of course eventually show how it also has applications to your students as well... Typography is one of those big $.50 words in graphic design. It deals with all aspects of how designers deal with type and text. For the purposes of this post and to simplify it, we'll narrowly fo

Approaching the start of a new year...

Okay peeps and tweeps, it's time for this year's round-up of inspiration and wholesome challenging goodness for the start of the school year. This is when I share who / what is challenging me right now with you... kind of an annotated bibli blog raphy of awesome. Are your students totally Psyched? Okay, maybe they're not, but they should be. If you're a teacher, and you're not a Vlog Brothers fan (or a Nerdfighter like me), you may have missed this. I'm posting it here for you to share with your friends, colleagues, administrators, and, most importantly, your students. DFTBA An Open Letter to Students Returning to School John Green Room Readiness Ahhh... Room readiness. No matter what your district calls it, you probably have to go set up your junk this week or next week. What are you going to do differently? What will you keep the same? What is your core message? ...WHAT? I thought we were talking about room setup, not an essay or lecture. This yea

Design Matters Part 2: You don't have to be an Art teacher...

This is part 2 of my Design Matters series. If you missed part 1, you can check it out here . In this post, I'll focus on little ways you can encourage better overall visual literacy in your classroom. We'll talk about why you should and how you can. I'll include the first set of three simple tricks to improve design in your classroom. I'll add three more in the next post in this series and so on. On to glory...   Visual literacy beyond the Art room First, I am not an art teacher. For the most part, the fine arts are a bit lost on me. I wish that weren't true, but it is. I may not appreciate a Picasso, nor can I tell it from a Rembrandt. I can, however, appreciate the design around me. I can instantly tell a Mac from any PC. We're surrounded by great design daily. A quick visit to the mall or The Dieline , will quickly cement that idea. Most of us know great design when we see it. We don't have to know fine art to be visually literate. Also, it'

Games Based Learning Course (online)

Hey peeps & tweeps! I'll be facilitating a course in games, games based learning, and gamification this Fall, called, "Simulations and Gaming Technologies for the Classroom™ Online". Head on over to PLS to sign up! We'll talk about current beliefs & assumptions about using video and computer games in the classroom. We'll look at some serious games. We'll even look at the mysterious art of game design. I hope to see some of you there!

Mobile & BYOD in the Computer Lab

First, Design Matters Part 2 is on the way in one week! For now, some other stuff I've been thinking about: Mobile and BYOD... To remain consistent, I'll focus on the visual design unit I do with my students to show how it can apply on the mobile environment. I’ve been devoting serious thought this summer to the ways in which I will include mobile in my classroom this coming school year. We have a new BYOD policy, a few sets of iTouch Devices and a set of iPads (with more ordered). I started by asking myself why I would want to integrate mobile in my class. After all, I teach in a computer lab and have a wealth of technology. The thing is, I can’t ignore this quote from Michael Soskil :  If we are preparing our students for life after school, we should allow them to use the tools they will be using when they get there.  How many jobs can you think of right now where a smart phone is not beneficial?  Mechanics order parts on their phone, engineers view blueprin

Design Matters 1: Visual Literacy & the 21st Century

It's the big day. Your students have been working on these projects for weeks. Some groups, going the traditional route have prepared a Power Point presentation. Some have made a VoiceThread or Animoto . A few brave groups have used Weebly , Blogger , or Wix to create a whole web site. Rubrics in hand, the day begins. Your hard work has paid off... mostly. Your students are proud of their work. The content has unusual depth. The students have met the expectations outlined on your rubric. Still... something is wrong. The projects are... well... they're ugly. You have this sick feeling knowing that they're out there on the web, pointing back at your class. This feeling makes you feel a little guilty. After all, "ugly" is very subjective, and they're only kids, kids who have worked very hard. What a shallow and superficial person you must be! Maybe you're just out of touch. Maybe cobalt blue text (in Jokerman font) on a black background with red and neon

Comic Sans & Papyrus: Finally an intelligent and succinct explanation

Thank you Karen Kavett ! Finally I have a generally non-abrasive and intelligent way to share this with colleagues and students! I've had to re-post these vids from Youtube to Schooltube so they can be viewed in my building. I'll leave the rest up to Karen... Comic Sans   Papyrus  

Projects, Paradigms, Preconceptions & Survival??

A brief survey of the stuff that is coloring my decisions this 9 weeks in class & another plea for online community for my students... Paradigms, Context, & Survival... Now it's video clip time. I just want to share with you a bit of the context in which my thinking has been framed lately, before I talk about why I'm blowing up my curriculum and pursuing things that are driving me crazy. Many of you have seen this stuff before. If you haven't, watch these. They're good for you, like fiber & anti-oxidants all rolled into one delicious sweet roll: Sir Ken Robinson. Diane Ravitch - This video reminded me of  this article , which came across my Flipboard the other day, thanks to my awesome PLN... ( supplemental reading )   Jane McGonigal Projects, PBL, and Online Community One of the awesome things about being Middle School BCIT instructor is the freedom I have to teach a skills based cu

New Videos on Tracing Floorplans in Sketchup

One of the projects students may choose in my CIT 7 & 8 classes is Sustainable Design. The Goal: Design and advertise a home for a 4-person family living in the US using (around 3,000 sq. feet max) at least one Sustainable Architecture principle or Green Energy Source. As a part of the project, students will demonstrate a variety of technology fluency skills in the context of completing the following components: Research (tagged to your student Diigo account and our class Diigo group). Scale Floor Plan drawings (rendered in Google Sketchup or MS Visio) Student Choice 1: Promotional Materials Interior design Moodboards Landscape Design Plan Elevation Renderings in Sketchup Pecha-Kucha presentation of project as endcap (last week of class). In addition, students will regularly participate on an online community on Edmodo that includes multiple schools across & outside of the country. One of the challenges of providing a choice of complex projects in which stud