Finding a Great App

Finding a Great App-01

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Users: Workshop participants include university faculty and professional staff with little to no familiarity with an iPad. Users may have used other mobile devices like phones, e-readers or tablets in the past. Reading level and diagram reading skills should be ranked as high.

Solution: This graphic was created for a self-guided activity on finding the right apps for your classroom. The experience of finding the right app for an assignment can be overwhelming, especially for first time iPad users. Using the principles of “concentrated” (steps highlighted in red) and “concise” (short explanations), I created a step-by-step set of instructions (p. 102). While I tried adding screen shots or small icons to help with the “concreteness” of this graphic, they all felt too distracting and I decided to err on the side of “conciseness.”

User-Test: After having a friend review the graphic, he said that he liked the bold titles and the indentation of “example.” One suggestion he shared was to add something to show a flow or a sequence, perhaps numbers, to help indicate to reader that they should work top to bottom.

Changes I’ll Make: The suggestion to add “a flow” to this graphic was very helpful and I’m considering adding either number or curved arrows to indicated a path.


Anatomy of an iPad (Exterior)

Anatomy of an iPad (Exterior)

Users: University faculty and professional staff with little to no familiarity with the iPad. Users may have used other mobile devices like phones, ereaders or tablets in the past. Reading level and diagram reading skills should be ranked as high.

Solution: This vector graphic was designed to fit the resolution of the iPad and is something that I can load on to faculty iPads before attending the workshop. I used elongated rectangles both to mimic the shape of the iPad and to fit the display (as mentioned on page 255.) I used simple shapes (page 250) such as circles, lines and boxes to create the front, back, and side profile of the iPad and maintained the same grey color to indicate the body of the device.

User-Test: After having a friend view this diagram, he indicated that he would like to see the numbers lead to a further explanation of the tool.

Changes I’ll Make: Based on this feedback, I’ll add a separate column to this page or a separate page with a box that contains a short explanation of each number on this diagram.

Personal Introduction Image

Personal Introduction image 506 Amber Hoye

For my personal introduction image, I was inspired by this chapter’s discussion of name badges. The teachers at the hiring fair mentioned that it was difficult to see the individual’s name and major without squinting. I thought about how the name tag could be improved and also wanted to include some personal information about myself. I used icons to represent my personal interests and goals, which can serve as conversation starters both in face-to-face situations and in the digital world.

The icons are from a website called the Noun Project, which has a goal to create a universal set of icons or a “global visual language that everyone can understand.” The camera represents my goal to take a least 1-2 pictures everyday, the dog represents my Boston Terrier named Greta, the couple represents my wedding on 10-11-12, and the graduation cap represents my graduation date of Spring ’13.

Final Post for EDTECH 541

Part One- Reflecting Upon the Semester

What you have learned?
Since the beginning of this semester, my knowledge of internet-based tools has been greatly enhanced. Initially, I was very familiar with tools such as Google Docs, Prezi and Flickr, but used them in a very general sense. Now, I have a wide variety of content-themed uses and now know about tools like Glogster, The Art’s Toolkit and BrainPop! Perhaps the biggest change for me is instead of starting with a tool and designing a lesson around it (like I’ve done in the past), I see a huge benefit to starting with a concept, building a lesson, then finding the tools to support it!

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Obstacles and Solutions

While I’m not an instructor at the moment, I thought about which school subject might face the most amount of challenge in integrating educational technology. At first glance, it may seem that art and music instruction would be easy topics to incorporate technology. However, because these art forms have been around for hundreds of years, there is resistance to change the way students learn about these “well-grounded” topics. Many of these lessons are hands-on and instructors worry that machines cannot replace human instruction. Nevertheless, “there are  three broad concepts that are important to the creation of media art. These concepts include active engagement; a personal connection to the task to inspire learning; and the development of arts that brings value to their community” (Roblyer and Doering). These three concepts can be met and enhanced through the use of technology integration.

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Relative Advantage of Technology to Enhance Content Area Learning

Imagine a lesson on photography with no photos, no adds on experimentation and no visuals. Could you learn something about photography with a lesson like that? Sure. Would it be meaningful and memorable? Probably not. The above analogy provides a comparison for the difference between lesson without rich media and those with them. Students can certainly learn from these lessons, but content comes to life in a whole new way when they get to experience them for themselves.

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Relative Advantage of Spreadsheets and Databases

When thinking about the term spreadsheet, our first thoughts are often of complicated formulas, pie charts and graphs, along with tables that go on for pages. While spreadsheets certainly hold their purpose in performing calculations, they also provide a powerful tool for organizing and visualizing information. Once entered, the data can be turned into a chart, graph or even flashcards using Google Docs and Gadgets! Here are some of the advantages of using spreadsheets and databases in the classroom: Continue reading

Why PowerPoint Isn’t Dead

“Design is about making things good (and then better) and right (and fantastic) for the people who use and encounter them.”

— Matt Beale

We’ve all sat through presentations full of text, poor graphics or overly-flashy slides and wondered why the speaker didn’t just provide us with a handout. Often times, the speaker may simply copy and paste their presentation onto slides or spend little time proofing the presentation. While PowerPoint is an easy tool to misuse, it has some very promising uses for education: Continue reading

Instructional Software for Learning Spanish

Using instructional software in the Spanish classroom provides students the opportunity to practice their vocabulary, increase speaking confidence and find themselves “transported” to another country. There are five major types of instructional software and they each hold unique relative advantages:

  • Drill and Practice Software
    Drill exercises are a benefit in the classroom because they allow students to work at their own pace, provide immediate feedback to student work and save time for teachers because comments and grading are automatically generated.
  • Tutorial Software
    Tutorials allow students to work at their own pace, receive feedback quickly on their work and potentially have access to advanced topics or subjects that may not normally be offered at their school. (For example, students may have the option to take a class on astronomy, an advanced math class or language.)
  • Simulation Software
    This type of software provides students with a way to prepare for or review in-class lab exercises, as well as participate in experiments that wouldn’t normally be available in the classroom setting.
  • Instructional Game Software
    Using games to learn allows students to feel more comfortable taking risks, encourages students to work together in teams and often increases retention.
  • Problem-Solving Software
    Having students solve problems increases interest and also encourages them to find answers on the own using provided and found resources.

While there are thousands of instructional software packages available for free and purchase, it is important to take time to evaluate each package and ensure it is a good fit for your classroom. Here are a few evaluation resources:

For more information on incorporating instructional software into the Spanish classroom and relative advantages, please check out my presentation: Instructional Software for Learning Spanish.