I created a Google Site to house my newly created infographic resume. You can access the site here. Below is the infographic I created using Vennagage, a website that offers free and paid infographic templates. Wanting to try something different besides Canva and Piktochart, I gave Vennagage chance. After looking through the different templates I decided to make mine from scratch. It was a bit of a learning curve but after some trial and error, I came away with a hyperlinked, interactive, “About Me infographic CV” that I’m quite pleased with. Have a look below!
Cools & Warms of Venngage
Here is a site that makes the comparison between Venngage and Canva. It shows that Canva is cheaper at 12 dollars compared Venngage 49. In addition, Venngage is rated higher with a score of 8.9 to Canva’s 9.4. The cost was a certainly a cool for me. In order to download my CV as a PDF or JPG, I must pay a minimum of 19 dollars for the first month. I thought about this for awhile but at the moment I’ve just decided to have it embedded on to my Google Site.
I also found that Vennagage was limited in the number of text styles, and images. The number of templates was not as large as Canva but there were some really interesting ones which looked different and more appealing. It was the CV and infographic templates that originally drew me into using their site. The only warms were also the slim features in their free plan and I’ve included them below.
I’m happy I tried something different but overall I think that Canva or Piktochart are much better websites for designs and infographics.
Google Sites = “An About Me Ecosystem”
By using Google Sites, I’m able to provide and house so much depth showcasing my professional career. The ability to embed various docs and slides and make my “About Me” more responsive and interactive is why I believe Google Sites is a perfect platform for job seekers. The G-Suite offers a Learning Center that teaches you how to create a Google Site from scratch. Check it out if you’re new to Google Sites and thinking about trying it out. My next step with this site is to create a page specifically for my upload my Youtube Channel. Stay Tuned!
Although I’m certainly not looking for work now, I’ll continue to maintain and improve my “About Me Ecosystem” for next time I enter the recruting season.
“Your message is only as good as your ability to share it.” These powerful words sum up a great video explaining the importance of infographics.
These days there are many ways to grab someone’s attention through infographics. Canva,vizualize.me & Piktochart, to name a few, are in my opinion some of the best ones out there. I’ve used them all in the past for various projects and presentations. Just three days ago, fellow Coetail’er Pana Asavavatana used Canva to quickly add some aesthetic appeal to the Twitter questions I created in preparation for our upcoming Digital Citizenship Twitter Chat on February 28th. Here’s a sneak peek & a shameless plug 🙂
Speaking of infographics and Coetail’ers I couldn’t help but think about the recently redesigned Coetail website which prominently features an awesome infographic documenting the Coetail Learning journey. I find the new website to be fun, engaging, and informative.
Sketching, Doodling & Synthesising Data
With all the sites, apps and tools out there now to help you collect and organize information. I’ve recently been made aware of the beauty of sketchnotes. Being a visual learner, I’ve found myself being drawn to sketch notes more and more. (no pun intended) The ones I’ve come across on Twitter lately have been quite engaging and I’m seriously considering giving it a go. Craighton Berman’s website, Sktechnotes 101, was a great jumping off point and inspired me to dig a little deeper. After a while down the rabbit hole, I found out there’s actually a World Sktechnote Day (Jan 11) & that sketchnoting is a creative, relaxing, AND efficient way to synthesize information. What I once thought was silly or a bit out of place, now seems like the perfect way to personally conceptualize data.
In the following TED Talk Doodlers, unite!, Sunni Brown discusses some other misconceptions about sketching and doodling as well as our inherited cultural bias towards them. Check out the video from Sunni or alternatively the Sketchnotes from @andymcnally, below.
Discuss Sktech Notes and TED using Sketch Notes….
Sketching notes helps us understand concepts.
When we make our thinking into images we synthesize our ideas
Visual Notetaking enhances memory and improves understanding.
Visual Notetaking and sketching exercises your brain by connecting verbal material to visual material
Infographics in Kindergarten
As I alluded to in my previous blog post, Unpacking Visual Literacy in Kindergarten, visual material plays a massive role in the development of my Kindergarten student’s vocabulary, conceptual thought, and imagination. It is the cornerstone of their comprehension.
Aside from picture books, the most popular items in my classroom are our “Learner Profile Badges”.
Inspired by the Olympics, I turned the LP images into medals (or badges as my students know them) as a way to introduce the language and visually represent the Learner Profile attributes. When a student sees another student embodying these attributes they will take the badge off the wall and hang it around the next of that student. Since it’s inception, they’ve really taken to it. The way they proudly wear the “Risk Taker badge” or “Thinker badge” around on the playground, you would think it’s actually a gold medal – to them, it is. Because of these images and the idea of passing them off as badges, my students have developed an understanding of the vocabulary and continue to make a strong commitment towards living out the learner profile.
Another Infographic that I use in my Kindergarten class is for self-management and it’s known in class as the Kelso’s Choice Wheel. Have a look!
Teaching children to reflect on their actions is an important yet challenging aspect of Kindergarten. Our Kelso Wheel acts as an intervention infographic that provides students with multiple choices allowing them to feel empowered to take their own action. A self-governing classroom of five-year-old students will certainly take time but as seen in the image below, my students often revisit the image throughout the year to work on working out their conflicts.
For more information on Kelso’s Choices, including other images, videos, and songs check out TES Teach here.
In this case, the two ways in which I use images to convey meaning help my Kindergarten students make informed choices to solve conflict and model positive behavior and attitudes inspired by the Learner Profile. Both the Learner Profile badges and Kelso’s Choice Wheel act as aids to connect the verbal to the visual. From foreign vocabulary to understandable concepts, both visual aids have allowed them to responsibility for their own actions.
Knowing that the Kelso Wheel and Learning Profile images are not your typical or classic infographics, I’m wondering what other types of infographics could you introduce to Kindergarten students?
What other ways could I incorporate infographics into a Kindergarten classroom?
Do you have a favorite website or app for creating infographics?
The following six words have been attributed to Ernest Hemingway and his concept of flash fiction by telling a story with the minimum amount of words possible.
Hemmingway may have changed the game with his six-word novel, showcasing his art of storytelling but, Hemmingway never had access to emojis. Could you imagine the vividness? What if we remix Hemmingway’s initial challenge and state the question “Can you tell a story using only 6 emojis?” Let’s think about that one…. could you? I bet you can. I bet you’ve semi-accidentally accomplished this in the past without thinking much about it. Similar to how video killed the radio star, the emoji along with memes, vlogs, vines, and video uploads have nearly obliterated text and completely remixed the art of storytelling.
I proposed this emoji questions to my Kindergarten students when they were tasked with explaining their holiday adventures using only emojis. Can you tell a story using only emojis??
What resulted were very detailed and thorough recounts that were not only fun for others to decipher but engaging and exciting for my students to create. From the perspective of a Kindergartner, visuals allow for more depth and enhance their stories sevenfold. The act of choosing their emojis also made for a fun and level playing field where both ESL students and native English speakers could fully express themselves. It was here when I realized how much of the world is moving in the same direction, towards embracing visuals. From hieroglyphics to emojis; we’ve circumvented all the way back around. 🙂
If you’ve needed more proof that the world is moving towards visuals just look at Facebook’s 1 billion dollar purchase of Instagram. They know that this generation is becoming increasingly interested in producing its own visual content. With the likes of social media, mobile devices, photos, and videos the entire landscape has changed and we have completely remixed the way we consume (and produce stories.) And it’s not just a trend, there is a biological factor that lies deep within our love for visuals. We’re are much more wired for visuals than we are oral storytelling or print on a page. David Jakes touches on this a bit in his opening paragraph of this blog post titled “Towards a Framework for Visual Literacy Learning.” when he makes the internet analogy of “a dial-up connection from the ear to the brain and broadband from the eye to the brain.” David also came up with awesome ideas of using other mediums such as Google Earth, DNATube and or StartYourTube.com and to incorporate visual literacy.
The ability to navigate and create on more than one platform is exactly what our students are now doing in this new remix culture. The meme is a great example of this as is video blogging. Nobody wants to be a Hollywood movie star anyone. Ask anyone under the age of 15 and they’ll tell you. They all want to be a Youtuber. Many of them already are. Video Blogging has been so successful that Youtube has installed a Creators Academy which teaches the basics of editing, sharing and thumbnailing.
Modern Versatility & Shareability with Filmora
Before becoming a teacher, my original university major was in Mass Media and Telecommunications, so it goes without saying that I have found feeling for creating and editing video content. Although I started my video editing venture with the traditional analog AB roll, that has long been ruled obsolete. Looking back now it seems like such an archaic way to create a piece of work. Once you’ve spent hours creating it, don’t even think about sharing it with others unless you bring your VHS tape to their house and politely ask to use their VCR.
Flash forward some 15 years later and now it’s easier than ever to produce a film. So much so that some have even been shot and edited solely on their smartphones. These days loads of people gravitate towards iMovie, however, for the past three years, I’ve been using a software called Wondershare Filmora. Far from the AB roll I began on, this iMovie alternative is inexpensive, open sourced, and extremely easy to use. The fact that it works on Windows, Mac, & mobile devices make it already more versatile than iMovie. Filmora has many other advantages over iMovie. So much so that about a year back, I presented this Google Slide during a Speed Geeking session at my previous school. Have a look!
I’ve have used videos in which I’ve created from Filmora in the classroom on multiple occasions. Whether it is for reflection, assessments, or simply to celebrate and document learning, the use of videos have always been a cornerstone of my teaching practice. This one, which has already been shared on Youtube, was a way for me to document our EY inquiry into making paper.
The other video below was shown at a Primary School assembly. Its purpose was to emphasize the concept of perspective by showcasing what it “a day in the life” of an early years student looks like.
The Timelapse video below showcases an example of some of the large ongoing projects that my preschoolers took on during our inquiry into outdoor learning spaces.
My most recent video was created earlier this week. Its purpose was to celebrate Multi-cultural Day and the diversity of my Kindergarten students at UWC Thailand.
I plan to upload this video onto SeeSaw to show parents and use it as a reflection piece to show students once they return from mid-term break.
No matter the purpose, images, and videos to me have always felt like the most authentic mediums for showcasing and representing student learning. It’s great for assessments, reflections, and provocations. When the controls are handed over to the students, creativity, student voice, and a plethora of digital skills ensue.
With all of the excellent and innovating ways teachers are using videos in the classroom, with the likes of Flipgrid, SeeSaw, Bookcreator & Youtube, I’m curious to know what ways you embed and promote the use videos to enhance learning in your classroom?
Also, are you on team iMovie or do you have another personal favorite when it comes to video editing software?
Having just come off the heels of delivering a presentation last Wednesday to the entire Primary school staff at UWC Thailand, this week’s focus on understanding presentation design was really helpful albeit, a tad too late.
Last week, I presented on SAMR and how we can use this model to reshape the way we can embed technology and teach Digital Citizenship throughout the primary school. The use of the SAMR visual really allowed us to dive deeperinto its framework. Knowing that some of the content would be unfamiliar for some members of the staff, I attempted to keep the acronyms and buzz words to a minimum using them only when necessary. When they were rolled out, I made sure to accompany them with visuals. You’ll notice this on slides 4 & 6 below.
In addition to images, I decided to ensure that my presentation was enhanced by multimedia. Interestingly enough, however, after embedding it here, I noticed that the video no longer appears as it did on slide 5. Having said that, I inserted the clip below so that you can witness what my audience viewed and see how I’ve tried to keep them engage with a short video.
The 5 Design Principles of PowerPoint
I decided to run my recent presentation through the 5 design principles proposed by David Phillips, partly as a form of self-deprecating self-reflection. I thoroughly enjoyed David’s TED Talk Death by PowerPoint. and jotted down his 5 design principles, all while critically looking at my own recent work. Embarrassingly enough, my use of animations was my first noticeable faux pas. Before providing you with the whole critique, here are my biggest takeaways from his TED Talk.
One Message per Slide – Make it simple
Working Memory – Text + Speaking at the same time, is not only annoying but nothing will be remembered. It’s not practical – short & sweet bits of text & an image is
Size – The most important part of your slide should also be the largest
Contrast – Contrast controls your focus
Objects – The magic number of objects is 6
Overall, I discovered quite a few blind spots, such as not controlling the contrast with my white background, not adjusting my text size to keep the focus on the main ideas, and not limiting my objects to six or below per slide. As much as I had consciously thought about the delivery of this content, David’s design principles helped me refine my thinking and enhance my perspective. Not only was his TED Talk entertaining, it was also informative and highly practical. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to also sharpen up their presentation skills.
The Information Age & The Conceptual Age
I’ve added Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind to my Kindle list. All it took for me to press the buy order on Amazon was this snippet showcased on the Presentation Zen article & taken from his book below
“…an age animated by a different form of thinking and a new approach to life — one that prizes aptitudes that I call ‘high concept’ and ‘high touch.’ High concept involves the capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative….High touch involves the ability to empathize with others, to understand the subtleties of human interaction…”
I love it! He has a sound vision of where we might be headed in the near future. With the help of Google, we’ve nearly conquered the information age. Soon, Artifical Intelligence will forever alter the landscape as we know it. The changing of the guard seems to be evident, now more than ever, as we move beyond the information age towards a more conceptual age of communicating and understanding one another. Perhaps once we adjust to living amongst the endless stream of information that is the internet, we’ll get back our roots through our human values and emphasize the need for empathy, creativity, & non-digital relationships.
Like David Phillip’s 5 Designs of PowerPoint, Dan Pink also supplies his audience with tips for visually improving ways to deliver information. Unlike the guidelines of David Phillips’ design principles, however, Dan Pink conveys six fundamental aptitudes that, when applied can be beneficial to one’s personal and professional life.
“The best presenters can illuminate the relationships that we may not have seen before.”
In a time, when we might be more “connected” than ever, it’s Dan’s emphasis on empathy, design, storytelling, as well as symphony, meaning, & play, bringing the focus back to the natural and authentic human to human connections so ingrained in our DNA. That type of relationship between the audience and the presenter is not only vital for a good presentation but also useful in life as we all begin to navigate the conceptual age together.
What’s your take on Dan Pink’s six fundamental aptitudes?
How has your views on presentations changed over the years?
Thinking back on some of the more memorable presentations you’ve endured, (good or bad) which ones stuck out to you the most & why?
Visuals play such an important role in nourishing the imagination of young learners. Dr. Michio Kaku understands this importance and how images can promote curiosity and inspiring learning. As a Kindergarten teacher, I wholeheartedly agree with what Dr. Kaku states in the video below. Do you?
Comprehension, Creativity, & Critical Thinking with Visuals
One way to help young learners begin to understand Visual Literacy is through the use of picture books. The use of picture books in Kindergarten is an important aspect in the development of student’s vocabulary, conceptual thought, and imagination. Susan Stephenson writes about this in her article, Visual Literacy Through Children’s Picture Books. Where she mentions how the use of visuals help students develop a conceptual understanding of the world around them.
” …visuals present information at-a-glance that would otherwise take a long time to get across in words.”
The following SlideShare provides a great summary of visual literacy and dives deep into symbolic imagery, design and colors schemes. The best part is that this SlideShare is accompanied by with many wonderful picture book titles. It’s a perfect resource for any teacher who wants to start implementing more picture books and/or visual literacy into their curriculum. It also lists one of my all-time favorites, The Rabbits by John Marsden
That slide share coupled with Susan’s wonderful list of questions works as the stellar combination to help provoke deep observations, conceptual thinking, and creativity with the use of picture books.
In my Kindergarten classroom visuals are constantly weaved into the curriculum as a way to help us communicate and understand concepts and ideas. For instances, around the beginning of the school-year, one student proposed the question, “What is Math?”. This question occurred on the carpet after we spent the first week unraveling our misconceptions about Play and how we learn. (only to find out that we learn a lot about Math in our Play, without knowing it i.e. Legos). Eventually, another student spoke up to answer the question. She confidently stated that “Math is something an artist does.” Many other Kindergarten students disagreed and a bit of a debate ensued. Later in the week after some collaborative planning with the other Kinder teacher, we agreed to bring both classes together to discuss this claim. We grouped the children into 4-5 students and provided each group with one A4 image of Piet Mondrian’s Line over Form.
Piet Mondrian – Line over Form
We asked them to think like a Mathematician and look closely to see if they can find any Math in this Art. The image captured the attention of our student’s thanks to its identifiable shapes, striking colors, & noticeable patterns. This one piece alone sparked so many different discussions about Art in Math and vice-versa. We touched on symmetry, angles, & patterns all while changing and challenging the student’s perspectives on “What is Math.” Having all started with a student-led inquiry, the addition of this visual aid took our learning to new heights and created opportunities for transdisciplinary connections. This to me, was the first time I think I really understood the power of visuals and how they can help connect authentic experiences to higher levels of thinking.
Now, our Maths inquiry has moved beyond the classroom as outdoors as we look for “Math in Nature.” Our latest Unit of Inquiry titled, How the World Works, has my Kindergarten students looking through the lens of a scientist. Becoming keen observers and practicing how to look closely have been at the forefront of our classroom inquiries. The following photos will be used to help create a buzzing discussion about whether or not there is Math in Nature.
I’m confident that these two photos will be able to provide the same sort of spark that Piet Mondrian’s image did. For one, we live on a tropical island with beaches and critters galore so both photos are already tapping into students’ prior knowledge and authentic experiences. It’s just about looking at them now with a different lens altogether. Now it’s about a new perspective for my students, one that teaches them to look for the meaning being communicated by and beyond the image.
I enjoyed using the https://search.creativecommons.org/ website to quickly find images that I can use in the classroom. This time around, I stuck to images from Flickr but, I hope to explore other sites offered on the CC.org site.
What’s your favorite site?
In what ways do you use images in the classroom to promote critical thinking?
Do you believe that Visual Literacy is transdisciplinary?
What types of discussions about Visual Literacy are going on in your class?
Go ahead and insert your favorite Star Wars & George Lucas reference here.
In all seriousness though, the master cinematographer George Lucas nailed it when discussing the importance of Visual Literacy in Education. This Edutopia article titled, “Life on the Screen” illustrates the importance of teaching the fundamentals of visual literacy and giving it equal weight to other aspects of the curriculum. Lucas even provides a transdisciplinary perspective as advice for implementation in today’s classrooms.
“We need to look at the whole world of communication in a more complete way. We need to take art and music out of “the arts class” and put it into the English class. ”
Emphasis on this type of implementation is huge for our critical thinking skills and understanding of how our minds operate. Teaching Visual Literacy helps us enhance our intellect by constructing meaning from images.
It should be evident to teachers that we learn best through symbolic imagery and it’s quite simple when you look at the macro historical side of it. Human beings have been equipped to make sense of symbols for far longer than they’ve had written text. Visuals are a universal language. They are also conceptually driven in a sense that they can help us chunk and categorize large amounts information changing the way we think and perceive the world.
“half of the human brain is devoted directly or indirectly to vision, understanding the process of vision provides clues to understanding fundamental operations in the brain,”
Visual Literacy in Early Childhood
As a Kindergarten teacher, I understand the importance of visuals.
Visual Literacy is everything for my students. It’s the first type of literacy they acquire. Therefore it’s not surprising to hear that Preschool students know all about brands. In the same way that our youngest students understand sign language before the printed word, images, specifically brand images, are designed to provoke and stimulate the senses.
McDonalds and Coca-Cola know this. It’s time for teachers to harness this power, not to make our students consumers but to develop a hyperawareness of the power of combing symbols and senses and connecting cognition to memory.
Less is More. Apple mastered this and now the rest of the world has caught on. The way of the web is now all about embracing sleek, simple, clean and responsive designs. Space & brevity = better. Remember this commercial?
The article, ” Lazy Eyes, How we read online” makes mention to how our brains are wired to filter information. This, like our appreciation of symbols, it’s something that has also been ingrained into our DNA. This Slate article helped me understand a few of the “brain hacks” that showcase how readers skim, decipher, and process information on the web.
As Informavores, a term coined by Jakob Nielsen, it’s important for us to learn to become aware of these brain hacks. There is simply too much data out there for us to consume daily. Learning the difference between what to leave in and what to leave out is not only beneficially to us as a species it’s also beneficial to us as a society.
Lately, I’ve been consciously thinking a lot about space, brevity, and simplifying, when I write emails and make presentations for my colleagues.
Here’s are some screenshots of a Google Site that I’ve created for our Primary School staff. The site is designed to be a digital ecosystem that houses all of our “tech-knowledge” at UWCT. It’s still a work in progress and has yet to go live, but I spent a lot of time thinking about the aesthetics, user-friendliness, and overall appeal.
Furthermore, my own personal blog, outside of my COETAIL one, is also very visual. Here is a snippet of that site.
Here you can see that I’m going for that same appeal, brand awareness with the logo (or symbol), and a simple not too stimulating layout with images that provoke. I’ve tried to do that as much as I can with this COETAIL blog by aligning it to the same philosophy of “less is more” and by remembering to embrace the space.