Throughout Course 3, we have focused on visual literacy and how to teach visual literacy to our students utilizing various technologies and activities. Unfortunately, quite a bit of Course 3 was done over the course of some of Thailand’s worst flooding in history. The results of these floods was devastating to the country both socially and economically. Hundreds of people were killed, and thousands of people are displaced. The flood waters have receded in many areas, but there are still many communities currently under water. Most of Bangkok schools were closed on orders from the Thailand Ministry of Education for weeks on end. While we were away from our classrooms, the expectation was that online learning continue. Even though assignments were given, the majority of students were unable to complete them due to unforseen circumstances such as lack of reliable internet connection.
I am a firm believer in the importance of visual literacy in the classroom. This is partly because I am a Learning Support teacher and know how critical it is to support learning using multiple modalities (such as infographics), but also because of my interest in art. Even though I was a Studio Art minor in college, and I have taken various art classes since, I have noticed that I rarely look at the world anymore through the critical eye of an artist. This course has rejuvenated this sense of wonder for me, and has not only recaptured my awe and appreciation to those that create aesthetic pieces, but has given me practical technologies to utilize with students. It has also pushed by technological boundaries by spurring me to make my first video. Although it is no masterpiece and somewhat embarrassing, it does give one concrete and practical advice on how to make a Sandbag dyke in a similar style to that of a Commoncraft video. Unfortunately, after uploading it to Youtube, I am still waiting for approval. I did even take out the intro music from Led Zepplin’s hit “When the Levee Breaks” because of Copyright law. As soon as it is accepted to Youtube, I will share it here.
I also played around with the Voicethread program, and made an informal presentation of what it was like volunteering with the Thai Red Cross in a flood affected area. The Voicethread literally walks you through me and my husband’s experience going into a community under water and delivering flood relief bags filled with food.
During the time we had off school due to the floods, I assigned some online learning to my students. One of the projects was a “Flood testimonial” where I asked my students to create a presentation using only 20 slides. Every 5 slides was supposed to answer a specific question. I encouraged them that less is more, and not to use too many words on the slides. I directed them to a couple of websites to get helpful hints on what makes a nice presentation. Unfortunately, the majority of my students did not have access to the internet, or claimed such, and weren’t able to complete the assignments. They now have until Monday, November 28th to complete the project. I had wanted them to have completed the project so that I could have included some of the better ones. They were asked to put them on Slideshare.