Meet the World – Information and Graphics

Grand Reportagem magazine (can’t find a link- it’s from Portugal) has an interesting series of info graphics (you can see them here) that illustrating fairly disturbing facts about countries- using the flags of the countries. Interesting idea- using symbols of pride to criticize/inform. You could also do something similar with many logos (companies, sports, universities). If you wanted to go fairly abstract there’s also book/video/cd covers or even caricatures. Here a quick mock up with an old Apple logo- Stat Source – please excuse gross visual misrepresentation of the stats but I don’t have the time/willingness to actually work it out. This would make a really interesting co-curricular project between a math and history/sociology type of class (throw in art as well if you’d like). The math required to calculate the proper area to factually represent the statistics would be fairly decent (especially with more complex shapes and area calculations) and figuring out which statistics about the country/company/person to contrast would require quite a bit of research and processing. I think it’s hook a number of students and in the end you’re teaching them far more than stats or facts. You’re teaching them how to think and how to convey that thinking in a way that’s visually compelling. All the great ideas in the world mean nothing if you can’t […]

Walking the Walk . . .

It really made my day to see ianvirgil actually print out and use the TuPac poster from this post (which was inspired by Dan’s post ). Funny how distance no longer matters- as they’re both in CA and I’m way to the right in VA. I’m feeling a mixture of pride (I love when things I’ve done are actually useful and used) and envy. Not being in the classroom sucks at times. There are certainly benefits but I really miss the kids and those moments when things really click in the classroom. It’s frustrating at times to do all this thinking about teaching and to have such a better understanding (as well as more tools) than I ever had before yet to be without a class of my own. I’ll have the chance to work closely with Terry Dolson and her Core class next semester. We’ll see if that helps.


Study of gamers at IU School of Education

Media advisory: Study of gamers at IU School of Education: IU News Room: Indiana University The reason for the research, Appelman said, is that the learning style has changed for today’s students, but the content delivery has not adapted. In the standard method of teaching, teachers deliver content and expect memorization, reading, and other work to translate the learning into performing a task. “Students today are absolutely bored with that approach,” Appelman said. “What they want to do is to dive in immediately and say, ‘Give me a task that I can learn from.’” The primary learning method gamers employ, he said, is trial and error. “This generation has no problem with failure. They ‘die’ hundreds of times a day, but they learn from that.” Wouldn’t work for everything but it’s definitely worth thinking about. It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.

Signs of Insanity – Musings on Standards

The building I work in. Conducive to insanity? So now that I’m in college you’d assume I’d be happy to be away from the irritation and hassle of state standards (like the SOLs). It turns out I actually missed them. Have I lost my mind? Probably, but I found myself arguing this morning that we should be taking advantage of the accreditation process (think NCLB for colleges only with no tests and the majority of the “proof” being created by the profs./admins- basically prove to us that you deserve to be accredited) in order to get people to change their teaching, integrate more technology etc. That led me to realize how much I relied on the SOLs (VA’s state standards) as a lever to get into classrooms. Those standards helped me in all kinds of ways. I played good cop/bad cop and gleefully used the SOLs as the bad cop. “Look,” I’d say “I know that the SOLs are requiring you to do blah blah blah. That’s really hard. You’ve got no time. I know. I think I have something that can help . . .” It was incredibly useful and it gave me a structure when talking to teachers who taught content I didn’t know that well. I didn’t think I had that in college and, truth be told, […]

Digital Economy and Pro Status

Just randomly thinking here . . . please pass if you’re busy and looking for direct application. I’m not a photographer, yet I’ve got over 10,000 images scattered among three flickr accounts. I haven’t bought film recently (or ever that I recall) but I’ve got to imagine that the film combined with processing would have cost quite a bit. Then I’d have to figure out how to store all these pictures etc. I’d also have even fewer friends than I do now as I tried to get them to look at all these pictures and give me some feedback. Instead the accounts have around 45,000 views -that includes one that’s pretty much totally private – just stuff for family and friends. Strange to see things stack up like that. Does this matter or am I just indulging my ego? I think it does matter. The web combined with digital photography has created the right economy for a lot of non-professionals to really improve at a number of skills. I’m talking about photography but it could just as easily be writing, art, music or film etc. Granted it doesn’t work for all things (math would be far different for instance) but that doesn’t mean we should ignore what it does work for. I’ve now got a free audience (voluntary and various) […]

Pretty Formatting in Google Maps w/o ANY HTML Knowledge

I don’t like what plain Google Map or Google Earth windows look like when you enter text. They always end up too wide for me and I just want a little bit more style and formatting. It just looks better and that is part of why we use computers- to produce a professional looking product. So the question is how do you get students/profs/teachers creating better looking information w/o having a bunch of time sucked away by teaching them HTML? (Yes, I realize Google does a form of this here but it’s not set up for Google Maps and involves more hassle for many by introducing the idea of networked kmz links etc.) My solution is Excel. Excel can do all sorts of neat tricks with text. So I just built what is essentially a form with a few inputs (the ones selected for this project) and then used a bunch of formulas to wrap the HTML around the information that’s entered. This is a fairly simple example but it’s smart enough to cite the picture source and know if certain information has been entered so it doesn’t botch the html if the field is left blank. You can see what it does if you unhide the columns and view the formulas then tweak it to your heart’s content. Before […]

Creative Communication: The Persona

Ever trying to follow in the footsteps of Tom, I realized quickly that it helps to add drama and humor into your communication with staff and students. Shortly after taking the Instructional Technology Resource Teacher (ITRT) position, I began brainstorming possible personae to catch the attention of my staff. I finally settled on I created a wall size poster of the image above, laminated it, and hung it behind my desk. I put reminders on it for students and staff. Whether reminders of training dates or loud calls to back up and archive weekly, this poster has definitely caught the eyes of teachers and learners. Taking it one step further, I ventured into film with “Ted Coe”–my twin brother. I casted Ted as a bumbling authority who really had little knowledge of technology, and placed myself next to him as the voice of reason. My most recent project was a series of videos that introduce our county’s Technology Integration Progression Chart (or TIP-C) to the staff. Below is one of the videos. Under it is a link to my TIP-C page with all of the videos. The TIP-Chart Page The teachers are responding favorably to the videos. I think it keeps communication fresh, and it is always nice to be entertained while you are learning something new. This idea could […]


Asterpix – Part Deux – The Review

Through the magic of the Internet I got a comment from Nat Kausik who works for Asterpix (update 2015 – asterpix is now spammy). It still amazes me when this happens (and ups my faith that they’ll stick around because they are listening and responding to the user). Nat requested a little more detail regarding what I’d like to see improved in Asterpix. I’m not really sure why he needs more information. I think “it’s not quite as slick as I’d like” is a pretty detailed and useful feedback. Here is what I’d really like to be able to do with Asterpix in my dream world. Please note- I find Asterpix to be very useful right now and I intend to use it. I encourage others to use it. I really feel they’re providing something that no one else is and I’m very grateful for that. That being said, here’s what they could do that would result in my getting a “I Heart Asterpix” tattoo. I’d like much more control over my notes. I want to be able to control their shape, fill opacity/color, line thickness/color/opacity. In a really perfect world I’d be able to use a tool something like the polygon creator in Google Maps to plot points to make irregular objects. I’d like to know what html elements […]


Next Level Video – Asterpix

I love the way in some videos you can click on images or text on the screen and they are interactive- taking you to URLs or different portions of the video. I really feel that in education, and elsewhere, this has amazing potential. Making text interactive through hyperlinks changed the world so doing the same thing with video is likely to have some real power as well. I’m not a big fan of Flash so I had explored a few of the Quicktime options (mainly Livestage Pro. The software creating these movies is fairly expensive and has a pretty steep learning curve. Not ideal for education or for encouraging student/teacher use (or me for that matter and I like this stuff). Enter Asterpix (I know, with a 12-3-07 launch I’m late to the ball). This online service (registration required) allows you to add clickable links to movies. It plays nicely with Youtube and gives you and embed code. See example above. While it’s not quite as slick as I’d like- it makes up for it in terms of ease of use and pure getting things done. I’m very happy. There’s something to be said for just increasing the amount, as well as adding different formats, of data in videos and then there are a lot of creative options you could […]

Creative Communication – VA Educational Technology Leadership Conference

Welcome! Hope some of these resource prove useful to you while pursuing different ways to communicate. Update——-Download the creative communication presentation in Keynote 3, Powerpoint or PDF format. Useful presentation links Presentation Zen– a blog dedicated to better presentations Beyond Bullets– another blog dedicated to better presentations Dy/Dan– a blog about teaching that often covers great design as it applies to all things educational Flickr Storm– find great Creative Commons licensed images Stock Exchange– free stock photos (does require a registration) Mashup Sites (their odd delivery, your content – use sparingly) Bombay TV– your own subtitles on Baliwood movie clips Hairy Mail– shave your email message on a hair back Monkey Mail– a monkey in various costumes and with various voices speaks your words Txt2Pic– just about anything you might want to put your words on (billboards, church signs, ransom notes, badges etc.) Jib Jab– a number of ways to add your face to bizarre videos TeacherTube– why reinvent the wheel?– download YouTube videos to use at school (where you know they’re blocked)