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.

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

Upside-down: Get a different perspective

When I was at Teachers’ College, I remember approaching my art course with trepidation. I wasn’t too shabby at art as a child, but as I had effectively given up the subject at the ripe old age of 13, it would be fair to say I wasn’t what you’d call confident!

One of the first things I remember our 2 lecturers getting us to do, was to sketch FAST (in 15 mins) the line drawing they put on the Overhead Projector (remember those?). The thing is, they put the drawing on upside-down. Deliberately.

The drawing was clearly beyond me, but as I’ve always been a good student, I duly attempted to copy it as best I could.

When our 15 mins was up, we were told to turn our drawings the right way up, and I think 99% of the students were amazed at having done a lot better than they anticipated. When the drawing was upside-down, we had to keep looking up to check we were putting the lines in the right places, not just guess from our prior knowledge of the subject.

It reminds me that our perception of our own abilities (or lack thereof) can sometimes affect the quality of our performance. If we look at something from another perspective, we might just surprise ourselves.

For my Extra Curricular Activity with the iPads,  I found an image online that was upside-down, and had my students do the same thing, but using Brushes on the iPad.

Here are two students’ representations of the illustration above. I will include them both upside-down and right-side-up for comparison.

Michelle, in Grade 6 did this one:

Michelle 1

Ji Min in Grade 5 did this one:

JiMin1

I’m pretty proud of both them!

Group Dynamic!

ADE group T-shirtsYou know how sometimes the planets align and everything works effortlessly? When you somehow manage to snag the most productive, knowledgeable and talented bunch of people and complete tasks with absolutely no stress and plenty of fun? Well, that was my group for the ADE 2010 Challenge Based Learning task!

I decided I wanted to focus on sharing best practice with teachers wanting to integrate technology more into their classrooms. Thankfully (and perhaps intentionally), I found a group of like-minded people to inoneplace logohelp work on this issue.

By the end of day 3 of the ADE Institute, our group knew we were going to create a website that would be edited by invited educational tech experts, which would feature best practice at our various International Schools. We even had a name – we secured the domain inoneplace.org and were on our way…

PizzaWe decided we wanted our presentation to the other ADEs to be a take off of the launch of the iPad (please take the time to look at the link!), so we set about creating something similar. We got T-Shirts on the cheap, and had Chrissy write our domain name on the front & our twitter handles on the back. I noted down the text on the video and Jeff modified it to fit our product (over sensational pizza at lunch). Patrick offered his house, and set about creating a take-off of Steve Jobs’ Keynote of the iPad launch. Donna said she’d edit the iMovie, and Thomas laid down the sound track using GarageBand.

Jeff videoed us all, then Donna started editing. I wrote the first blog post on the site while the others were creating. Chrissy & I sorted out a twitter name and an email address, while Jeff created the look of the site using WordPress. It would be remiss of me not to mention Patrick’s wife Rebecca, who helped us bring our vision for the logo of our site into being!

Here’s our promo video for your viewing pleasure…

Chilli CrabWe all laughed and had fun the whole time, and unlike some groups, didn’t need to stay up until 3am sorting out our stuff. We were done and dusted by the time we had to meet at 6:30pm for Chilli Crab at the Esplanade! Sa-weet!

So I’d like to shout out a huge thank you to my lovely, talented and fabulous group. You have re-energized me and I learned a lot from working with you.

Peace out!

Photo Credits:
Apple Arc – ToGa Wanderings
Chilli Crab peace – Thomas Galvez

Group Dynamic!

ADE group T-shirtsYou know how sometimes the planets align and everything works effortlessly? When you somehow manage to snag the most productive, knowledgeable and talented bunch of people and complete tasks with absolutely no stress and plenty of fun? Well, that was my group for the ADE 2010 Challenge Based Learning task!

I decided I wanted to focus on sharing best practice with teachers wanting to integrate technology more into their classrooms. Thankfully (and perhaps intentionally), I found a group of like-minded people to inoneplace logohelp work on this issue.

By the end of day 3 of the ADE Institute, our group knew we were going to create a website that would be edited by invited educational tech experts, which would feature best practice at our various International Schools. We even had a name – we secured the domain inoneplace.org and were on our way…

PizzaWe decided we wanted our presentation to the other ADEs to be a take off of the launch of the iPad (please take the time to look at the link!), so we set about creating something similar. We got T-Shirts on the cheap, and had Chrissy write our domain name on the front & our twitter handles on the back. I noted down the text on the video and Jeff modified it to fit our product (over sensational pizza at lunch). Patrick offered his house, and set about creating a take-off of Steve Jobs’ Keynote of the iPad launch. Donna said she’d edit the iMovie, and Thomas laid down the sound track using GarageBand.

Jeff videoed us all, then Donna started editing. I wrote the first blog post on the site while the others were creating. Chrissy & I sorted out a twitter name and an email address, while Jeff created the look of the site using WordPress. It would be remiss of me not to mention Patrick’s wife Rebecca, who helped us bring our vision for the logo of our site into being!

Here’s our promo video for your viewing pleasure…

Chilli CrabWe all laughed and had fun the whole time, and unlike some groups, didn’t need to stay up until 3am sorting out our stuff. We were done and dusted by the time we had to meet at 6:30pm for Chilli Crab at the Esplanade! Sa-weet!

So I’d like to shout out a huge thank you to my lovely, talented and fabulous group. You have re-energized me and I learned a lot from working with you.

Peace out!

Photo Credits:
Apple Arc – ToGa Wanderings
Chilli Crab peace – Thomas Galvez

The measure of a teacher

Wesley Fryer’s recent blog post entitled Sharing by default and encouraging others to shareprompted me to share this super video about Creative Commons, called ‘A Shared Culture.’

When I began teaching, I wanted to keep my good work to myself – I wanted that fun learning experience to be something I gave the kids in my classroom. In truth, I probably wanted recognition for my work (hey, I was only 22!).

Now, 10 years on, I believe the measure of a good teacher is how much they share. I know that imitation is the highest form of flattery. I don’t want to hold on to my best ideas/lessons/websites/activities/flipcharts etc etc – I want to share them so that more students and teachers can learn with them, build on them and improve them.

I am a great believer in collaboration, and know that the quality of work I produce with others, and the ideas and suggestions I gain from others, far exceeds the work I am capable of producing on my own.

Pass it on…