Showing posts from April, 2014

The 10 Commandments of Typography

The 10 Commandments of Typography
A great graphic found on
The original can be found here from DesignMantic.

Analysing Design Applications

I took the second day today of the 8 Manaiakalani research days that I can have this year.
I decided to use it to try and assess and analyse some online design apps and I decided to get a small group of students to help me to do this.

I sent them all this document with a selection on online programmes and chrome apps for them to test and try out. They had to try and design something with these tools and see how easy they were to use.
Link to document

Between them they had Asus netbooks, Samsung chrome books, and we used PC desktops and Apple desktops.
They had to see if the apps we were looking at could be used on a variety of devices to make sure they were useable for lots of different situations.
Here is a link to the students' analysis sheets that they filled in as they went.

Here is Fiu, being comfortable on a beanbag set up on 3 chairs, testing out the same app on a desktop and a netbook.

In the afternoon, we decided to try out some iPad apps. Here are the ones that were tested…

Quality Feedback to Aid Planning...

While designing the online course trial module, it was definitely a different planning experience. I tried hard to think of all possibilities so that I could make resources to cover every thing.
The trial module went live today and one of my students has made a start on it.
I have been getting some quality feedback from him already, via Google Plus, which has helped me to improve the experience for the others when they start.

Saia had uploaded his architect photos to a Google Plus album and I gave him some feedback that a wider range was needed and to make the album public, as he had shared it privately. I need all of this online work to be public so it can be moderated.

When Saia  acted on this feedback, I noticed that he had made a new folder rather than change the one that he had already made.

When he started his new folder, I asked if more help videos on the online task were needed.
So I made a couple more to cover  changing the sharing settings of an album you already have and ho…

Planning to be Not There......

I took the first of my 8 support days today and I focussed my time on planning the online Level 1 module.
It was a very productive day, with making screencasts and instruction sets for all the tasks that make up the project.
It is definitely a different thought process to plan a course where the students do not get me to show and tell them what to do in person. I have tried to break it down into the chunks that I think make it clear to understand and I will see how effective that is when my trial set of Year 10 students work their way through it. Nine members of my Year 10 tutor class have agreed to trial it for me when it is ready. The payoff for them is that they will get 4 Level 1 credits out of it while they are still in year 10.
I went into work today even though I was off timetable to do this as I knew that I would get more work done there than at home, but the tricky part was finding somewhere quiet enough to make my screencasts. I made the decision not to make each screen cast…

My Own Learning and Planning by Doing......

When I plan a project for DVC, I have always  drawn and made all the things that I am expecting the students to do. This serves multiple purposes for me. It helps me see the steps that need to be taken to complete the process, it lets me see where the bumps in the road might be, it helps me plan materials and equipment needs at different steps in the process and it gives me examples to show the students at the start of the project. I find that it always helps the students to see me actually do the tasks in front of them too. It lets them see the skills and processes in action, and it lets them see that I can do it and not just talk about it.
As an aside, I tend to do my drawings etc, in the staff room where I can join in chat while I work rather than sit by myself in my own classroom (I really don't like quiet while I work). I am always surprised by the number of staff members who walk past what I am doing and say things like "it must be nice to have the time to sit and do th…

Design Words

My students have to use the correct design language when they are talking about, and analysing their work. They have to know about the main design principles and elements that they have used. It is always the weakest point of the process, so I have made a collection of the words we need to use the most and tried to illustrate them and explain them as simply as I can.
Maybe in between projects, or as a break mid way through a longer project, they could make their own design words pages with their own definitions on them. I have made these on PicMonkey, and the students all know how to use that programme. I have to be able to get them to start using these words in a more natural and less forced way, then when they get to the notes and analysis part of their work, it flows more than it does at the moment. Maybe they could have a ongoing slide show of their own embedded into their DVC portfolio sites and keep adding to it as they learn more words and meanings.

I'm a Monkey Lover I am !!!

I am becoming an increasingly bigger and bigger fan of Pic Monkey. I subscribe to their emails, blog and follow them on Google Plus. The blog is an endless source of tips and tricks, and yes I know it is trying to sell me something too, but the graphic design information, tutorials and tips are great.
So I had a plan to try and use PicMonkey to design the pages of a book. I started out small and I am making pages about design terms, then I can use it with all of my classes.

Adding textured backgrounds, my own images in overlays, choice of fonts ... I am really enjoying this. I decided on a square format for my book, as this is less formal than a rectangular set up. The design option on the top of the PicMonkey front page gives you plenty of options.

When I am happy with my pages, I am saving them as image files which I am then putting into Adobe Acrobat Pro to create a single PDF with the individual files. An example of an online app that does this is linked here... Convert JPG to PDF…