Why the Humble Sandwich Should Be Your Next Graphic Design Project

Ask anyone what their favourite sandwich is, and I’m willing to bet they’ll have an answer for you. “What does this have to do with Graphic Design?” you may well ask. Stay with me, people!

While browsing my Instagram feed, I came across this beautiful post by the good folk at Dschwen Design Studio:

Those who know me, will know just how excited I got by the brilliant simplicity of their Typographic Sandwich project – especially when I thought about the huge potential it has for introducing students to some Graphic Design basics, while learning a little bit about them in the process.

On the surface, one might think there is nothing much to this: after all, change a few words and colours, and you’re done. But there is so much to explore within these restrictions. In the words of interface designer Aza Raskin,

“Design is the beauty of turning constraints into advantages.”

Let me share some advantages with you.

EASY ACCESS
Almost everyone can think of a sandwich combination, even if it’s not a favourite. The entry points are such that students won’t be blocked by coming up with ideas. For EAL learners, options include the use of visuals (a quick search for their favourite sandwich can be done in any language), and/or the use of the child’s home language to create the finished product.

ACHIEVABLE
The Typographic Sandwich is an activity in which all students can achieve success. The font (Helvetica Bold) remains the same throughout. The devil is in the details – and that’s where the CARP design principles come in.

COMPLETE INTRODUCTION to CARP DESIGN PRINCIPLES
Contrast, Alignment, Repetition and Proximity all come into play here. For more insight into each principle, please check out Design Secrets Revealed.

Contrast – All words need to be easily read, meaning they need to stand out sufficiently from the background. A background colour needs to be selected so that every word is readable.

Alignment – This really is the area in which the bulk of the design challenge exists.
Secondary-Click > Align Objects > Left, brings all text boxes into the same alignment on the left.

Similarly, Secondary Click > Distribute Objects > Vertically, equally distributes objects vertically between the first and last object selected.

Repetition – exists here in the form of the font (Helvetica Bold) and the size of the text.

Proximity – the location/position of both the names of the people and the sandwich text are the same in each of the three examples. This is no accident. By selecting the sandwich words, and looking at the Arrange tab on the right, I can see the X position of each item is 281. I can select the items on the other slides and ensure they also have the same position, thus ensuring a cohesive overall feel to the presentation.

COLOUR MATCHING
Using the eye dropper tool in Keynote, students can match colours from images they have found of their perfect sandwich, or they can make an educated guess. Regardless, this is an excellent technique for students to learn.

PASTORAL CONNECTIONS
Connecting to the students in my classes and learning more about them has always been important to me as an educator. While preparing these examples for you, I asked the members of my Tech team to share their favourite sandwiches, and it gave me a unique insight into their likes and dislikes, and I learned a lot too! Karolis taught me that there IS a difference between Aoli (Italian) and Alioli (Spanish), and in his opinion, the latter was infinitely preferable. From Jorge, I learned about Arepas – something I had never come across in my travels thus far. What might this teach you about the students in your class? How might your interaction with them be strengthened as a result of this connection?

If you would like to share your examples with me, please feel free to add them to this collaborative Google Slides presentation. I simply exported my Keynote slides as images, and added them to the presentation.

Coaching for Digital Literacy

Coaching for Digital LiteracyA little over a year ago, I collaborated with a group of international school teachers in the technology coaching field to create a multi-touch book called Coaching for Digital Literacy. See the blurb below:

Coaching for Digital Literacy is an emerging field where educators are supported in developing their pedagogy around learning with digital tools. This book is a collaborative effort by experienced Digital Literacy Coaches in international schools that will serve as an invaluable resource for those already in a similar role as well as people who are considering this field.

Filled with practical suggestions and case studies, this book aims to arm Digital Literacy Coaches with proven skills and techniques to support learners.

It was wonderful to be a part of this process, together with Andrew McCarthy, Clint Hamada, Jeff Plaman and Louise Phinney, and I’m very pleased to be able to share it with you.

Twitter For Teachers #Learning2

Keri-Lee and Clint met on Twitter in 2008 and have since spent numerous holidays, along with their families, together across Asia. Cross posted at Learning on the Job.

To help facilitate our Twitter for Teachers session at Learning 2.011, we have decided to post the general outline of our presentation and any resources on both of our blogs. We’d love to hear your feedback and how you are using Twitter to interact with your PLN. Feel free to leave your Twitter name in the comments as well!

(Mis)Perceptions of Twitter

We’ve all heard the “I don’t care what you had for breakfast!” diatribe against Twitter. We’re curious to know what the perceptions our participants have about Twitter.

How We Use It

Twitter, like anything else, is simply a tool. Use of that same tool will vary widely from person to person and Twitter is no exception.

Top Tips

For those just starting out in the Twitter game or for those that started an account years ago but never really got into it, here our some of our top tips for using Twitter to expand your PLN:

Public, Personal, Private – Just as we would tell our students, it is important to understand the distinction between public, personal and private information.

BPLBio, Photo, Link. It’s hard for others to separate the gold from the spam when you don’t fill these things out!

Tear Down That Wall! – Don’t protect your tweets! Again, it’s hard for others to decide to follow you back if they can’t see what you’ve added to the conversations.

Go Beyond Basic – While Twitter as a service is fantastic, Twitter as a website is less than desirable. Try a Twitter client like TweetDeck, Hootsuite, or Echofon (just to name a few!) that allows you to separate your Twitter feed into easy-to-monitor columns.

Lists Twitter lists allow you to create groups within your Twitter stream. You can even include people that you do not personally follow. Even better, you can follow lists that others have meticulously created. (Kim Cofino has a great International Teachers list.

Hashtags#learning2 #edchat #scichat #mathchat #kinderchat These are all examples of hashtags. Hashtags make it easy to group and search for tweets about a specific topic. Using a Twitter client like Tweetdeck, you can even use a hashtag to create an easy-to-follow column in your client. @cybraryman has a comprehensive list of education-related hashtags.

Search For It – Is there something that you’re passionate about? Chances are there are others on Twitter who are passionate about the same thing. Use the Twitter Search function to find people who are talking about your hometown, your favorite sports team or anything else you might be interested in.

Lurking (aka Legitimate Peripheral Participation) – One of the best and easiest ways to learn Twitter etiquette is to lurk amongst some of your favorite lists or hashtags. Once you see how things work, it’s a lot easier to join in!

Retweet and Reply – For some, the highest compliment you can pay them on Twitter is to retweet them. For others, they prefer the conversation that comes along with an @reply. Either way, it is a great way to engage others and to add followers to your PLN.

Conversation is King – Twitter, first and foremost, is about connecting with people around the world who can help you grow as a teacher and as a person. This happens through conversation and through getting to know one another as you would a fellow teacher on your campus. Sometimes these professional relationships develop into personal friendships that last a lifetime!

While it is extremely well-used and on the verge of becoming cliche, the best metaphor for your Personal Learning Network is that of a garden. It takes time and energy and patience to cultivate a PLN. But if you stick with it, it can be a very beautiful thing!

 
Image Credits:
Squawk! by Kevin Collins licensed under†CC BY NC
Looking Up†by Louise Docker licensed under CC BY

Twitter For Teachers #Learning2

Keri-Lee and Clint met on Twitter in 2008 and have since spent numerous holidays, along with their families, together across Asia. Cross posted at Learning on the Job.

To help facilitate our Twitter for Teachers session at Learning 2.011, we have decided to post the general outline of our presentation and any resources on both of our blogs. We’d love to hear your feedback and how you are using Twitter to interact with your PLN. Feel free to leave your Twitter name in the comments as well!

(Mis)Perceptions of Twitter

We’ve all heard the “I don’t care what you had for breakfast!” diatribe against Twitter. We’re curious to know what the perceptions our participants have about Twitter.

How We Use It

Twitter, like anything else, is simply a tool. Use of that same tool will vary widely from person to person and Twitter is no exception.

Top Tips

For those just starting out in the Twitter game or for those that started an account years ago but never really got into it, here our some of our top tips for using Twitter to expand your PLN:

Public, Personal, Private – Just as we would tell our students, it is important to understand the distinction between public, personal and private information.

BPLBio, Photo, Link. It’s hard for others to separate the gold from the spam when you don’t fill these things out!

Tear Down That Wall! – Don’t protect your tweets! Again, it’s hard for others to decide to follow you back if they can’t see what you’ve added to the conversations.

Go Beyond Basic – While Twitter as a service is fantastic, Twitter as a website is less than desirable. Try a Twitter client like TweetDeck, Hootsuite, or Echofon (just to name a few!) that allows you to separate your Twitter feed into easy-to-monitor columns.

Lists Twitter lists allow you to create groups within your Twitter stream. You can even include people that you do not personally follow. Even better, you can follow lists that others have meticulously created. (Kim Cofino has a great International Teachers list.

Hashtags#learning2 #edchat #scichat #mathchat #kinderchat These are all examples of hashtags. Hashtags make it easy to group and search for tweets about a specific topic. Using a Twitter client like Tweetdeck, you can even use a hashtag to create an easy-to-follow column in your client. @cybraryman has a comprehensive list of education-related hashtags.

Search For It – Is there something that you’re passionate about? Chances are there are others on Twitter who are passionate about the same thing. Use the Twitter Search function to find people who are talking about your hometown, your favorite sports team or anything else you might be interested in.

Lurking (aka Legitimate Peripheral Participation) – One of the best and easiest ways to learn Twitter etiquette is to lurk amongst some of your favorite lists or hashtags. Once you see how things work, it’s a lot easier to join in!

Retweet and Reply – For some, the highest compliment you can pay them on Twitter is to retweet them. For others, they prefer the conversation that comes along with an @reply. Either way, it is a great way to engage others and to add followers to your PLN.

Conversation is King – Twitter, first and foremost, is about connecting with people around the world who can help you grow as a teacher and as a person. This happens through conversation and through getting to know one another as you would a fellow teacher on your campus. Sometimes these professional relationships develop into personal friendships that last a lifetime!

While it is extremely well-used and on the verge of becoming cliche, the best metaphor for your Personal Learning Network is that of a garden. It takes time and energy and patience to cultivate a PLN. But if you stick with it, it can be a very beautiful thing!

 
Image Credits:
Squawk! by Kevin Collins licensed under†CC BY NC
Looking Up†by Louise Docker licensed under CC BY

iPhone/iPod Touch Wired Wednesday

As so many teachers came back from the Christmas holiday with a new iPhone/iPod Touch, I decided to make the first Wired Wednesday for 2010 focused on apps.

CIMG3025 (Medium)

We had a great turn out, and there was a real buzz in the lab as people talked over each other to share their favourite apps. I found it amusing that although we had a bunch of more than 10 educators, the apps that received the most attention were the games! Here are the apps that made the rounds…

Singapore

SG_Buses
SG BusesFree – All the info you need on the Singapore Bus System

Carpark_@_SG
Carpark @ SGFree – Find parking rates & parking locations in Singapore

Laylio
Laylio Free – an app which allows you to listen to Singapore radio stations (I love that the name of the app is how some people pronounce radio here!)

Travel

tripit
Trip it Free – Organize your flights and travel plans with this handy app.

Kids

tozzle
Tozzle $1.99 – An easy app which helps develop touchpad skills. My 2 year-old loves it. There’s also a free version – Tozzle Lite.

facegoo
Facegoo
$0.99 – Photo app that lets you manipulate photos in funny ways. There is also a free version available.

shapes
Toddler Teaser ShapesFree – Simple app which helps kids recognise shapes.

Build_a_Word
Build-a-Word$1.99 – For those fans of Word World, an app which gets children to grab letters to build words. There is also a lite version available.

Preschool_adventure
Preschool Adventure$0.99 – This is a good-value app for preschoolers. There are puzzles about numbers, colours, shapes, body, matching and sounds. A little something for everyone.

Games

Topple
Topple
Free – My 4-year-old’s favourite app of the moment. Stack the blocks and try not to let them topple over. See also Topple 2 Plus+ (free) and Topple 2 ($0.99).

NFSU
Need For Speed Undercover$4.99 – A car racing game that is apparently deserving of its price tag!

eggs_away
Eggs awayFree – Keep your egg balanced by tilting your device.

Trace
Trace Free – app where you have to get your little stick-figure person to the other side using gravity and any lines you make.

Bubblewrap
BubblewrapFree – Enjoy popping bubblewrap as a kid? Relive your childhood with this app!

Waterslide_extreme
Waterslide ExtremeFree – Slide down a giant waterslide in this addictive app.

Unblock_me_free
Unblock Me FreeFree – Slide the blocks of wood around to free the red block.

Cooking_dash
Cooking Dash$2.99 – Manage your restaurant by making sure people are at tables, have what they ordered etc. A Cooking Dash Lite version is available, and there also appear to be other in a similar theme: check out Dinner Dash and Wedding Dash, if you feel so inclined.

Cooking_mama_lite
Cooking Mama LiteFree – This app had us all in stitches. You cook different food, and literally do things like melt the butter in the frying pan or chop onions by moving your device around (as you would if you were cooking), to complete a meal.

Monkey_Swing
Monkey SwingFree – Swing from tree to tree to get your monkey through the jungle.

CIMG3026 (Medium)

CIMG3030 (Medium)

iPhone/iPod Touch Wired Wednesday

As so many teachers came back from the Christmas holiday with a new iPhone/iPod Touch, I decided to make the first Wired Wednesday for 2010 focused on apps.

CIMG3025 (Medium)

We had a great turn out, and there was a real buzz in the lab as people talked over each other to share their favourite apps. I found it amusing that although we had a bunch of more than 10 educators, the apps that received the most attention were the games! Here are the apps that made the rounds…

Singapore

SG_Buses
SG BusesFree – All the info you need on the Singapore Bus System

Carpark_@_SG
Carpark @ SGFree – Find parking rates & parking locations in Singapore

Laylio
Laylio Free – an app which allows you to listen to Singapore radio stations (I love that the name of the app is how some people pronounce radio here!)

Travel

tripit
Trip it Free – Organize your flights and travel plans with this handy app.

Kids

tozzle
Tozzle $1.99 – An easy app which helps develop touchpad skills. My 2 year-old loves it. There’s also a free version – Tozzle Lite.

facegoo
Facegoo
$0.99 – Photo app that lets you manipulate photos in funny ways. There is also a free version available.

shapes
Toddler Teaser ShapesFree – Simple app which helps kids recognise shapes.

Build_a_Word
Build-a-Word$1.99 – For those fans of Word World, an app which gets children to grab letters to build words. There is also a lite version available.

Preschool_adventure
Preschool Adventure$0.99 – This is a good-value app for preschoolers. There are puzzles about numbers, colours, shapes, body, matching and sounds. A little something for everyone.

Games

Topple
Topple
Free – My 4-year-old’s favourite app of the moment. Stack the blocks and try not to let them topple over. See also Topple 2 Plus+ (free) and Topple 2 ($0.99).

NFSU
Need For Speed Undercover$4.99 – A car racing game that is apparently deserving of its price tag!

eggs_away
Eggs awayFree – Keep your egg balanced by tilting your device.

Trace
Trace Free – app where you have to get your little stick-figure person to the other side using gravity and any lines you make.

Bubblewrap
BubblewrapFree – Enjoy popping bubblewrap as a kid? Relive your childhood with this app!

Waterslide_extreme
Waterslide ExtremeFree – Slide down a giant waterslide in this addictive app.

Unblock_me_free
Unblock Me FreeFree – Slide the blocks of wood around to free the red block.

Cooking_dash
Cooking Dash$2.99 – Manage your restaurant by making sure people are at tables, have what they ordered etc. A Cooking Dash Lite version is available, and there also appear to be other in a similar theme: check out Dinner Dash and Wedding Dash, if you feel so inclined.

Cooking_mama_lite
Cooking Mama LiteFree – This app had us all in stitches. You cook different food, and literally do things like melt the butter in the frying pan or chop onions by moving your device around (as you would if you were cooking), to complete a meal.

Monkey_Swing
Monkey SwingFree – Swing from tree to tree to get your monkey through the jungle.

CIMG3026 (Medium)

CIMG3030 (Medium)

Tech-Tip Tuesdays & Wired Wednesdays

After the success of Fruity Fridays last year, we decided to introduce our staff to two new initiatives this year: Tech Tip Tuesdays and Wired Wednesdays.

Image from glowtxt.com text generator

usb_saschaaa

I have graciously been given 5 mins at the beginning of every staff meeting to talk through a tech tip for teachers. I will be sharing a range of things, from IWB ideas, to simple things such as tabbed browsing. It’s nice to have a regular slot to push some technology info that will hopefully be useful and relevant for all teachers.

Image from glowtxt.com text generator

On Wednesday mornings from 7:15am, Katie (our Teacher Librarian), Haidee (Grade 3 teacher and in-campus Studywiz expert) and I have made ourselves available to all staff requiring tech help, support and/or ideas.

Wired Wednesday 1 (Medium)So far it’s been running for two weeks, and I am thrilled at the turnout we’ve had.

Week one we had some looking at IWB techniques (like these ones from @pennyryder), some looking at the new library catalogue and ways of navigating it, another group was getting support with StudyWiz, one teacher wanted advice on how to set up a Google site and another was about to launch her first blog.

Week two saw more diversity: our Chinese Language team were all here for tips on using the IWBs, another teacher was learning how to merge cells in a table and add colours, the wireless keyboard/mouse was being demonstrated, and our Principal came in wanting to know more about Twitter.

wired wednesday 2 (Medium)We have had positive feedback from many people about the Wired Wednesday format. They like the flexibility of being able to pop in with problems related to them, they appreciate not having to be locked in to attending every week, and they feel they have someone to go to get help.

I know how they feel. Recently, when I was learning how to use Prezi, I thought a lot about how much easier it would be if I was sitting next to someone who knew how to use it already. Thankfully, @RobinThailand was only a tweet away, but even so, having someone physically there would have made all the difference. I believe having access to someone to work alongside is so important in learning, particularly with technology. It ties in nicely with Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development.

I love the public face technology is being given in our school. It is clear technology is valued, as our admin team has been so accommodating, not only in these two ways, but by leading by example. Let me explain…

Last year, I was talking up 2 new books in the library, Presentation Zen and Slideology, while also giving some feedback about 2 presentations I attended at EARCOS 09. In my presentation to staff, I modeled a couple of slides from different workshops I attended. I won’t share the slides I considered dire, but I’m happy to sing the praises of Kim Cofino, whose gorgeous slides made her presentation sing. [Her presentation Connecting Across Continents can be found here.]

Anyway, our admin team have since been leading the way, ensuring their presentations to students, staff and parents use fabulous visuals, limited text and are delivered with confidence. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes! Staff meetings become more interesting and engaging. Imagine that?!

Not only that, but other teachers are also making their presentations more visually interesting. I know of a teacher who created a fabulous presentation for parents when we had a meet-the-teacher type of evening last week. It went down a treat. [I have told a few people about Prezi too, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing a few of those crop up soon enough!]

It feels like we’re at the start of something big.

Photo Credit: Saschaa