Educational Technology Decision Making
“She walked up to the StarBoard with a banana and just started writing. She said, ‘Let’s say you were doing a health unit. Bring out a banana. Let’s say you were doing a unit on pumpkins. Bring out a pumpkin. You can write on this interactive whiteboard with anything.’ I thought: Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, I mean even 8th graders would think that was cool.”
Yep. Writing with fruit and gourds. That’s solid pedagogy and clearly 8th graders find writing with bananas to be really “cool.” I’m sure I can find some research to back that up . . .
I look at many things in edtech land and education in general and I am constantly puzzled by what people perceive as being good. That may sound pretentious and it may very well be. In my defense, I’m far more critical of my own work. I realize more and more that it’s because I compare what I create, and what others create, to the products of professionals. That goes for my photos, print design, video work, presentations etc. I also try to make sure my idea of fun doesn’t get warped either. It’s way to easy to say “This is fun . . . for school” or simply to think this activity is much better than a worksheet. Seth Godin does a good job explaining this concept in his post We don’t compare ourselves to other airport restaurants. So how do you get this mindset going? It’s fairly obvious but it’s more than just exposing yourself to great media/presentations/whatever produced by professionals, YOU have to consciously analyze it. What makes it good? What makes it different from what you’re making/doing? How do they do X? Why do they do Y? Just being exposed does nothing. If you’re not thinking and referencing your own sphere of context it’s useless. The Internet is full of amazing things and people. Find the best […]
I’m bouncing Dan’s post about design and storytelling in my head. His basic message is that it’s all about the story and design is just a tool to convey the story. If two people are telling the same story, the one who knows when and how long to pause, when to raise their voice, when to whisper will seem to tell a much better story. Visual design works the same way. And you get better at it by paying attention to people who are good and then analyzing your own work. Reflection on what you do that works is a key component of design (and just about anything else). It’s a lot like what D’Arcy says here about photography (just replace photography with design). And there’s no easy answer. There isn’t a simple recipe, where if followed dutifully, a person will be transformed into a better photographer. There are two separate but related aspects to photography – the technical, and the aesthetic. I believe that the technical side can be relatively easily addressed – read some books, maybe take a course or two, rtfm, and practice. It’s the aesthetic side of photography that is harder to develop. There isn’t an easy process to do that. Some sense of aesthetics will develop as you shoot more photographs – whether through trial […]
All right. So I didn’t win Dan’s design challenge. Iain’s report and a number of others had both more information and more story than mine. But the contest has led to some more thinking and some action. Feeds All my feeds are now in Google Reader. Now I get stats. That led me to realize I read (scanned, processed, whatever) 1,128 posts last Friday. I’m averaging about 600 a day. That seems excessive especially considering that 90% are read between 9:00 PM and 11:00 PM. So I looked at the top feeds by number of posts per day and saw the top one was a Yahoo Pipes mashup of digg, del.icio.us, reddit, and Slashdot. It was something like 250+ posts a day. Way too much noise compared to real value. Cut it. I also dropped Gizomodo (12 posts a day) and am looking at pruning more feeds. Hopefully this isn’t coming across as a #11 on Pete’s list of common edtech blog posts. I’m not overloaded. I’m just looking to be a little more efficient and am using data to help me make those judgments. Annual Report I’ve been thinking about my submission for the annual report and realize I did a few things wrong. I liked what I did. It was pretty. However, it was really more about looking […]