August 31, 2011

Visual Advocacy: Readings

Graphic Agitation

The thing that I thought was most interesting, and almost disturbing, about this essay was how successful design was as a propaganda tool. At first it seems like, yes, this is a great tool! We can use to the inform and share our opinions with the people around us. But its benefit of being a succinct way of delivering a message also seems like a scary downfall. I know that I sometimes fall prey to making a huge assumption on a broad topic base on very little information. I love the idea that something so powerful can be so simply conveyed. I just hope that I'm never on the opposing end of that message.

Visualizing a Revolution

Just because there are people in need doesn't mean that you make them look needy. Douglas did an amazing job of empowering the civil rights movement through his visual imagery in the Black Panther. He showed the strength of the victims of racism, so that they would feel supported and strong, instead of pitied and weak. Wonderful!

Design of Dissent

Powerful political design evokes action from its viewers. It's a gift to be able to "rally the troops" through the method of design, and apparently dissent saves democracy, and helps everything be equal. Same as the Graphic Agitation reading, I got the a similar message of "this can deliver both good and bad" from this article/interview.

August 29, 2011

MX: Concise Sentence


Class crossover is a predominantly after-school online community through which students of a single school, ages 11-14, can discuss the knowledge they gained with other classmates learning other subjects—breaking the boundaries of traditional education through integrating curriculum adds context and breadth to their education, while promoting participation, analytical thinking, and discussion.

August 28, 2011

MX: Class Crossover

Class Crossover
Students in this class crossover education model have school split into the in-class work and then after-school work. After school is where the online community aspect comes into play. Instead of homework, students would use something similar to a message board to connect the topics they discussed in class. They would participate in both synchronous and asynchronous sharing with other students(of all grades, but within their school) to connect the subjects. This way there is added insight, perspective and analytical thinking. Newly learned information can be called up in-class for more discussion. This subject-sharing would also give teachers a way to see where there might be some weak links in the curriculum.

In one school, and at each students home

Middle/Junior high students

home computers
(perhaps) video sharing/camera function
(perhaps) scanner (for sharing notes and documents)
printed media and textbooks
digital-format textbooks?

able to afford OR check out computer/laptop (or tablet?)
all genders and races

want to be social
willing to discuss
critical thoughts
draw connections
desire for in-context subjects
need for relatability
need to make links
long-term retention

message board icons/conventions:
speech bubbles
plus signs
online identity
media references
instant feed?
links (IMG, URL, VIDEO)

part of grade
better retention of knowledge
confidence/empowerment through sharing
ability to discuss, rather than introverted learning
casual setting, comfortable
practical, well-rounded education
keeps kids connected, even outside of school (NO isolation!)

Now, here are some REALLY REALLY great links from which there is SO MUCH information, it makes more sense to add the whole page than copy and paste it into the blog post.
Benefits of Using Discussion Boards in Classes
Extending the Classroom into Cyber Space

Message Board FAQ's (This one is about someone's MB, but it seems like some nice guidelines to go by. Will come in handy when designing our classroom community tool)
How to Use a Computer for Homework (talks about rules a parent should consider when their child uses the computer, and so we should be aware of this all too)
Integrating Curriculum
Combining Math and Music (a good example of the crossover that happens, and proof that it is successful)
Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad (Weighing the benefits of different tablets, in relation to e-books)

August 23, 2011

Brand Choice

Half-Price Books!
The inside of their store is..thrifty?

An enthusiastic customer:

Good Citizenship

Katherine McCoy, you make me aware and uncomfortable.

From this reading, I gathered that apathetic designers are the professional equivalent of a prostitute. Steady, reliable service with an objective, removed point of view. This was an interesting read as it was an eye-opening article about the importance of creating design with a bias. Instead of being universal, it creates a more meaningful message because of its passion.
If this class it based on this article, I am both excited and apprehensive about what we will be doing. I, of course, have things that I have very opinionated about. But expressing those opinions publicly, and even worse, loudly, is something that I have been taught from an early age to not do. That's not to say that I'm stubbornly against being active and concerned, but rather that it might not come naturally to someone inclined to feigning apathy.

Technology and Education Readings

The Machine is Us/ing Us

In a quickly changing digital society, this video gave great insight into the leaps and bounds that the web has made in such a short amount of time. Separating form and content, even the most techno-phobic individuals can have their own custom space and identity on the internet, no coding required (on their part, at least). What interested me most about this video was not the technological wonder of all of this mass exchange of data (even though that's crazy cool), but how from a cultural perspective, this relatively new "language" of the internet (coding, I guess) is like a Rosetta stone for connecting people of all ages, opinions, and areas into one huge online community.

Henry Jenkins on Transmedia

Changes in technology have led to a huge change in how we send, receive, and perceive information. Everyone who is connected to the web can collect and contribute their own stories, and this is changing everything we have to deal with. We now have limitless sources to draw from, spanning over multiple channels, which are not redundant but rather complementary. Exploiting multiple channels helps to insure that the largest audience can receive (and potentially share) the information that you delivered.

Interest-Driven Learning

Technology is allowing us the opportunity to branch out into new social possibilities. The open communication that is available is really leading way to more opportunities for creative expression and exchange between individuals. Mimi Ito hopes that this new media will continue to seep deeper into our lives, particularly finding its way into the learning process in schools. Some teachers are already beginning to adopt this social media as tools in their teaching toolbox. Now the challenge is to adapt their curriculum past the basics of subjects.

Changing Education Paradigms

This was one of the most stimulating videos, in such a way that I'm not even sure what to say about it. While it was all very informative and relevant, it seems like one of the most pressing issues is the cyclical dilemma of the anaesthetic state that many of today's youth are in. Some of my feelings about all this are pulled more from my personal experience at my past schools than the video, but it all rolls together.
At the schools I went to, saying that the arts were neglected would be an understatement. I feel that this might be true in most schools. In elementary, we are taught to color and draw and explore and grow, but by about 4th or 5th grade, that interactive, creative form of learning was replaced and discouraged in favor of reading from a hefty stack of textbooks. While I might have been getting a heavy dose of dense information, what I wasn't getting was stimulation. Cutting children off from the media around them is meant to be in their best interest, I understand, but it is obviously taking a toll on the quality of their learning. Instead of removing them from the technology-rich environment of today, the real solution seems to be to adapt the technology to help them learn, and emerse them in it. The stimulation and inspiration of new ideas can only lead to more new ideas. Sir Ken Robinson touches on the concept of divergent thinking, or the creative ability to be able to come up with many non-linear answers to one question. Learning in the classroom needs to be more collaborative, more open, and more diversified to suit individuals learning styles.

Kids Learn How to Navigate the Multimedia World

Film as a second language. Media as a new language/viable source of education.
Being media literate is something that should be crucial to today's kids, since they are completely surrounded by this new form of education that, unfortunately, is not widely recognized in most schools. This video show several schools where technology is an integral part of the classroom, and where children not only learn about their subjects, but analyze it to better understand why it is important. Rather than just regurgitating information, they help to create it. Sounds like a cool system.

Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years On

The web is smart. Really really smart. From what this article is saying, it seems like the need for keyboards and mice are beginning to fade away in favor it mobile devices and textless (like speech and location recognition) interfaces.
Some of this article seemed to be a bit over my head, but the general idea that I got from it is that the web is growing in wealth of knowledge through algorithms and applications that continue to allow it to cross-connect information and sort it in the most useful way for us. It can remember your interests, your searches, your location, many things about you to help set you in the right direction for whatever you're on the internet looking for. Even though it is intuitive though, it's not "learning," but "being taught." In other words, we are still the ones that have to feed it the information that it uses to grow with, it can't form this information on its own.

The Seven Types of Intelligence

Every child falls into one of seven different intelligence types. Instead of teaching the child to learn in the format that works for you, it is most to the child's benefit if you learn the method of learning that best suits them. While this seems really cool, it also seems like it would be very difficult for this system to for in the traditional sort of school that kids are a part of currently.