I have spent the last few weeks focusing on Visual literacy, looking at everything from where people look most often when they view computer screens (top, and a bit to the left – don’t make pages where casual viewers need to scroll) to principles of effective images (Presentation Zen revisited) and finally a swathe of new cool programs, including (but not limited to – excuse my legalese (LOL)) Screenr, Slideshare, Camtasia, re.vu (personal, for my new CV – a work in progress) and Prezi (still working on this one). Also, as part of my focus on visual literacy, I have lead an ASA (after school activity) called “Photoshop for beginners”. We have not just focused on using Photoshop, but also on effective images and visual citations as well. Unfortunately, our school protocol suggests we should have all student resources on our school Portal, which is locked to outsiders, so I can’t share this. I did however create this Wiki, where I have asked my Photoshop kids to upload and share their work each week. There has not been such a high uptake rate, but you get the idea… I also find it ironic that on a topic related to visual literacy, this is presented so badly (I guess that is the limitations of a free Wikispaces account). I have two proposals in place to fix this.
- For the first, in our final week of the 9-week course, the kids will each design a banner for this webspace, and the best (as voted by them) will become our banner. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
- My second proposal is to migrate the whole site over to the WordPress platform, having a seperate blog for each week of the course (all linked togther by the blog acting as a homepage). The kids can post their work as seperate blog posts. This would mean we can both make the website way way more visually appealing, and allow comments on each students work… I would love to hear peoples thoughts on this idea!!!
A must read: Some rights reserved by mlhshino
(Back to the purpose of this blog post). It is now time to try and pull all these ideas together to create a student activity. As with previous ideas from the CoeTAIL course, I don’t want to just be doing the stuff in class, I want the kids doing them as well. The idea I described here, is based on a comment Linc Jackson left to my blog post on Redesigning the Pentadactyl limb. To conclude this blog post, I had stated that it took me 4-5 hours to make (this) presentation that lasts 3 minutes & 42 seconds. Linc asked “can’t we get our kids to produce part of this work?”. After thinking about this a bit, I think I will give it a try, and here is my plan…
I teach in a 1:1 tablet school. My Grade 11 IB Diploma Bio kids have mostly had tablets for 3 years (excluding “new” kids) and are pretty proficient with them. In class, we are focusing on Practical assessed work (that means science investigations) while developing the topic of Protein synthesis at home each night. We generally spend a bit under the first 10 minutes each lesson; processing and developing the content from the previous lesson’s homework (I guess this is some type of flipped classroom then) then the rest of the lesson working on their individual investigations. I have created the YouTube Video below as a starter, searched and found a range of great videos of the content such as this, and suggested a few websites (and sections of our two digital textbooks) for the content. Already I can see, from this video, that next time I need a bigger canvas, so the final quality is better (research suggests 1280 pixels wide)…
At the end of the Protein synthesis topic, each student will be asked to produce a presentation on Protein synthesis. This can be an introduction, an overview, or details of one part – students’ choice. The kids will be asked to focus on:
- Clean clear visuals.
- Clear information (think about it – do you need all the detail, to get the big idea(s) across).
- Create a set of notes (with the omitted details) to go with the presentation.
The kids will post their presentations on Voicethread (with their notes as the first comment). Each student will be expected to view and comment on a certain number of other presentations, and then, via class discussions, we will select the best few presentations. With the author’s permission, these will be uploaded to my YouTube channel.
My suggested student outline:
(1) Choose a topic
(2) Map out the key ideas / content / concepts
(3) Choose clean clear images to back up (2) – CC search, or create your own…
(4) Create your presentation
(5) Read the IB curriculum again, and the write notes to go with your presentation (these can (or maybe should) contain visual elements as well).
(6) Post your presentation on our class Voicethread account, with your notes as the first comment.
(7) View other (not sure yet how many) presentations and comment
. (a) Why it was good
. (b) Why it was not so good
. (c) How it could be improved.
(8) Read the comments left on your presentation and improve it
(9) Class vote on the “best” presentations, which (with student permission, will be uploaded to Youtube).
My hope is that with steps (8) and (9) above, we will ends up with a few student presentations of a quality high enough that they become useful in the future. Even if no presentations are this good, the very process of creating them, then peer reviewing them should benefit the kids a lot.
As a postscript, I spent some time on YouTube looking for useful videos on Protein synthesis. I had not done this for 3-4 years and was hugely surprised by the explosion of videos on this topic, and by the quality of these. I did find a gap for the introductory video (hence creating mine) but there is quality material available now on both the main process and then on the specific parts, with appropriate details. Hey Linc, maybe we don’t need to create all the material ourselves – just plug the holes – and that we can do…