Make yourself a retro computer portrait! The C64 Yourself site converts any image into something that would look at home on a Commodore 64 screen.
Assignment: Create a poster warning people of some sort of danger. It can be a danger that isn’t ever present, like the lochness monster, or something really elaborate, like beware falling off of a rhino into a bath of lizards and Shia Lebouf. Have fun with it and get as creative as possible! Gimp or Photoshop are suggested.
This week I chose a Visual Assignment from the DS106 Assignment Bank on creating a warning poster. My focal theme of work-life balance definitely deserved a poster warning of the consequences of an unbalanced life. I wanted to keep it simple like this example:
I started to make a poster through Canva.com, but like previous attempts to use this site, I had trouble. Instead, I googled “online poster creation” and found postermywall.com. This site was very easy to use and offered free clipart with minor restrictions. I used red font for the letters in “Warning” to elicit the concept of danger. I chose a picture of a woman juggling many representations of aspects of her life because I could relate to this image and chose an emoticon that represented negative feelings. I then was unable to download my poster from postermywall.com and without paying for an account or liking the site on my Facebook page. I chose the later though I would have preferred to know this requirement before using this site.
Week #5: Mashup Assignment
Mashup Those Movies
The assignment was to take different movie posters and mash them into one. I chose one movie about teaching, Freedom Writers, and a second movie about working, 9 to 5. My focal theme this semester is work-life balance and I felt these two movies could be used to create what I wanted to represent. As k-12 teachers we are expected to go above and beyond in every respect, time, effort, influence, etc. which can severely impact our work-life balance. In juxtaposition, the movie 9 to 5 took place in the 1980’s when the hours of 9am to 5pm were considered a reasonable amount of time to work during the day. Decades later Americans are often expected to work longer hours with less vacation time. Many people believe American school teachers work from about 8am and leave school around 3pm. In reality, teachers work very late and often take work home with them. This new movie poster represents a film where a teacher can make a difference within reasonable hours.
I began by finding two movie posters, Freedom Writers and 9 to 5, from the website IMBD.com. I then uploaded the images to the befunky.com photo editor. I used a cutting tool to cut out images from the 9 to 5 poster and overlaid them onto the Freedom Writer poster. I then used a feature to flatten the images together so they seemed more cohesive. The technical aspects of this project were minimally challenging.
As a teacher, it is easy to become comfortable using familiar and safe strategies to deliver, explore and evaluate. The new can be scary and making mistakes never feels good even if you do learn from it. Often, these are some of the reasons teachers use for not implementing technology into their classroom. Luckily, I discovered a great article about How to Support Reluctant Tech Users written by Katrina Stevens.
It is the beginning of the school year and many teachers are integrating iPad into their instruction. The number of educational apps available is a bit daunting. Just how do you decide which app to choose? iTunes has a short informational guide about how to do just this called Evaluating Apps For the Classroom.
According to the website Educational Technology and Mobile Learning,
Evaluating Apps for the Classroom provides an evaluative framework comprised of five main criteria for how to evaluate educational apps. These criteria include: developmental appropriateness, instructional design, engagement and motivation, balance of interactive features, and accessibility. Each of these five criteria is further explained with a set of guiding factors and illustrated with few examples of apps that best demonstrate it.
I am well aware of the concerns of parents about technology in schools. Many parents I have spoken with are afraid that there children will end up sitting in font of computer for eight hours a day with little creativity or social interaction. I can honestly say that I know that this is not the direction of education.
This is a great quote from the article, The 8 Edtech Questions Every Parent Should Ask Schools This Year by Patricia Brown
“Technology is never a teacher replacement. The true power of edtech is the ability to facilitate and extend children’s awesome natural abilities and drive to create, explore, experiment, evaluate, draw conclusions–in short, learn–independently, building curious and confident learners.”
This article has some great questions to ponder and ask of a child’s school. The key is understanding by parents, students and teachers.
According to The Media Literacy Project, “Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media. Media literate youth and adults are better able to understand the complex messages we receive from television, radio, Internet, newspapers, magazines, books, billboards, video games, music, and all other forms of media.” Teaching media literacy to today’s youth is crucial with the onslaught of media messages directed at younger and younger audiences. We must empower children to understand, analyze, and control these messages. The following two websites provide lessons and activities for children regarding media literacy. Powerful Voices for Kids and Don’t Buy It.
Graph by: streetside.org
I love the maker movement. This is my ideal way to learn, which is by doing. Children naturally want to use their hands and brains at the same time. Why not let them do it in a creative, exploratory and conscious way? I will be expanding on this in the future but for now here is an excellent article: http://www.weareteachers.com/blogs/post/2015/04/03/how-the-maker-movement-is-transforming-education
Currently I am taking a course about research in information learning technology. While conducting this research I have stumbled upon Google Forms. Google Forms might be one of the coolest and most helpful software I have come upon in a long time. There are a variety of ways to create forms, surveys, questionnaires, etc. with design features and styles. The software then allows you to send the form directly to someone through email, as a web link or as a post on social media. Once participants respond, the information is directly sent to a Google Spreadsheet for your viewing. The spreadsheet can be shared as a Google Doc, with the ability for collaboration and contribution from those who can view it. For my research I wanted the participants to feel comfortable knowing that the information they were providing was confidential. Google Forms allowed me to gather information without any identifying information from the participants, keeping with complete anonymity. There are a number of ways teachers could use Google forms. Here is an article suggesting a few: 81 Ways Teachers Can Use Google Forms
After my social media was bombarded with the story of Engineer Barbie and her helplessness in computer programming, USA Barbie Article , I began to think about the lack of representation of females in the tech industry. According to the following article about Google Investing $50 Million to Close the Gender Gap, Google- Girls in Tech only 17% of Google tech employees are women and only 12% of computer science degrees go to women. There are many reasons for this disparity, including lack of encouragement and role models. And then, if women get the job, Silicon Valley companies offer money for women to freeze their eggs so that reproducing doesn’t get in the way of work. NPR- Egg Freezing.What kind of message is this sending to girls and young women about how they are valued and perceived? I don’t see how women would feel welcomed and inspired in this industry. I recently spoke with a few male friends in the technology field. They not only confirmed the lack of female presence at their workplaces but also gave examples of biases that some tech programmers and developers feel about women in similar positions. Apparently, women have to continually prove that they are just as capable as men even with similar skills and experience.
As a women getting into teaching technology I am concerned about this chauvinism for myself and my female students. As an educator I would love to see more learning games, online activities and experiences geared towards school age girls. I have found two programs geared for girls and technology, Techbridge http://www.techbridgegirls.org/ and Girls Who Code http://girlswhocode.com/ . I think this is an excellent step in the right direction for equality in the technology field. I also, think that perceptions of who, what, and how the tech industry operates needs to change in order for girls and women to become a part of the tech culture.