My team and I chose to “create a unit planner based on the enduring understandings of this course that support students in becoming Creative Communicators and Global Collaborators (ISTE Standards for Students 6 and 7).” After some discussion of the different options, we concluded the unit planning would be more useful. Our positions are elementary school teachers and currently, we do not have plans to offer a professional development opportunity; therefore, the PD program would not be the most useful for us to create at this time.
The topic my team chose, Tackling Nonfiction Texts Bootcamp, was a non-fiction text features unit and the standards chosen are currently being covered in our grade levels. We chose this due to the practicality of being able to include infographics in the lesson plan and being able to create a learning experience to span three grade levels.
Two heads are better than one… C. S. Lewis
Not only does collaborating with a cohesive team make group projects more enjoyable, but you also have a better chance of creating a better product. Once you start brainstorming, sharing ideas, and building on others’ ideas; a powerful collaborative is created. In addition, I’ve learned frequent communication is essential when collaborating. You do not have to have all the answers and even asking “dumb” questions can move the ideas along. Like we tell our students when they are stuck: just start writing words on the paper, and eventually, a story will form. Once our collaboration was started, our story was able to be formed.
The project was different from other learning experiences I have designed because of the technology topic of creating infographics. Using what I learned in Course 3 and translating it into opportunities to share my learning with my students creates more enriching, diverse lessons. This opportunity is like a breath of fresh air into a lesson that is not necessarily the most exciting topic.
This final project related to what I learned in Course 3 because creating this unit planner allowed us to take the skills we learned, like infographics and design elements, and pass the learning along to our students.
I believe what has influenced me the most in course 3 is improving my visual communication. After learning the design principles, I began using them to improve my communication online. This is reflected in my final project where I attempted to incorporate design principles. For example, on slide 3 of the Infographic Creation Lesson Outline, we used visual links instead of just a list of words.
In my experience, the typical elementary school student is egocentric. They complete their online projects to please themselves. The idea of making a slide deck more comprehensible for the reader is a new concept for many of them. They still want to have multiple, unreadable florescent green fonts with a red background, for example. I have included a work sample below showing what an eight-year-old finds visually appealing. I was able to talk him down to only two font colors and I plan to work with this student to incorporate more design principles in the future. I will know students have learned the concepts once I see them independently using infographics in their work or following design principles. Hopefully, I will also see students making suggestions to their peers on how they can improve their work.
I hope to see students take what they learn about infographics and design elements and transfer them to their future work. I hope they will agree with the idea infographics can make learning easier. I hope they will agree using the design principles of Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, & Proximity (CARP) in their work will make relaying their message to the reader more effective. In addition, I hope to see students improve on giving and receiving feedback as this is a difficult skill for this age group and more exposure is beneficial.
Course three has been full of fun activities and new information. I look forward to using what I have learned about visual literacy and continue to become a better communicator and collaborator.