I have always been drawn to the visual arts. I love designing, creating, and performing. Fortunately, being a teacher I get to do all of those things on a fairly regular basis. After taking CoETaIL course 3, I realized, however, that I could do all of them to such a greater extent. I realized that there were principles of design and visual literacy that I had been overlooking as I created presentations for my students and guided them to create their own.
With media being as prolific as it is in our lives, we all have some experience with visual literacy, whether consciously or unconsciously. This course led me to see that there is a relationship that exists with how an audience interacts with the media, and the relationship is the basis for the message that is conveyed through that media. Even paying attention to how the human eye moves across a web page is a nuanced piece of the author’s attention to his or her audience. The principles of design have the potential to make or break the message you are trying to send.
One of the most challenging but most fun projects in this course was creating the infographic. At Robert’s suggestion I downloaded the Column Five infographics app for the iPad and was instantly hooked. The way they seamlessly blended information and relevant visuals left me spellbound. How on earth was I going to create something of this magnitude? I had a comparative government idea in mind for my topic, I just needed the right application or program to help me. A quick hashtag search on Twitter brought me numerous resources, and from that I chose create.ly. It was clunky, but got the job done. I used some of the Column Five infographics for ideas on how to organize my information, and got to work. I had so much fun designing it, and I am quite pleased with how it turned out. It was also a useful tool for my students to consult as they compared different forms of government. Visual literacy rocks!
Presentations were a place where I was in need of a “refocus.” In my own instruction, I tended to use presentations as a “catch-all” of instructions, information and visuals. Being introduced to Presentation Zen changed that for me. By paying attention to the rule of thirds and taking a minimalist approach, the presentation I created to support my geometric solids introduction in math was one of the best yet. It inspired so much interaction, dialogue and curiosity in my students. I was so pleased with how removing or replacing my text changed how my audience (the students) reacted. It was quite intriguing to see.
Overall, course 3 was by far my favorite of the CoETaIL courses so far. The creativity and practicality of the course kept me engaged and feeling personally accomplished. Principles of design and visual literacy definitely have a permanent place in my classroom.