Organization — October 30, 2016



Students in 8th grade American History will be using this image as an overview for the unit of study.  This will be used throughout the unit and eventually become linked to the corresponding units.  Students should be able to understand the titles on this graphic and their associating materials.  

I chose to represent this overview as if it were a road.  Earlier suggestions on my graphics mentioned to include the road so I thought I would give it a shot.  I went back and forth on this multiple times, but eventually came up with this graphic.  To help with the understanding of my graphic I used many of the organizational techniques to show hierarchy.  I used numbers to show the progression of the lessons.  I also used a flowchart model to show that the title is the overarching idea, while the “exits” below fit into this hierarchy.  I also used arrows to show the “Strong” connections from the unit to the smaller lessons (Lohr, 146).  I was torn about some of my colors in this image.  Traditionally my images have had the red, white and blue theme.  However to fully show the road and exit signs I changed those colors to match what we naturally assume they are.  I chose to keep the traditional blue up top show it would stand out.  This contrast can help convey that this information is the most important to read for this graphic (Lohr, 133)

I remade this image several times.  The title I kept, for the most part, the same from the start.  The main changes happened with the lesson titles.  I originally had them matching my past color schemes.  I even eliminated the road at one point because I felt it didn’t match.  But after consulting with my fiance I decided to add the road back in and make it even more authentic with the exit signs for each lesson.

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Relative Advantage to Games in the Classroom — October 23, 2016

Relative Advantage to Games in the Classroom

As the education field has evolved, an emphasis has been put on student centered learning.  No longer do teachers stand in front of the classroom lecturing about a given topic, now it is expected that students are immersed in their learning environment, practicing and applying the skills they are learning.  Students are expected to guide their learning and continue striving towards more to achieve mastery.  But not all subject areas can be “practiced” in a traditional classroom.  So how can teachers lead students to real world practical experiences with the skills they are learning?  Educational Games can allow for this “real world” experience to happen.  Students can practice skills like creating a roller coaster, or applying medical treatment, without leaving the classroom.  They can receive instant feedback for their achievements or misconceptions and continue working towards success.  

Research shows that the use of games in the classroom can lead to student success.  Judy Willis, of Edutopia cites that games allow for constant feedback to the learner.  They are able to work towards achievable rewards in specific levels and decipher if they are correct or not.  When correct student’s brains are stimulated by the release of dopamine.  This type of reaction motivates learners to continue and helps them retain the information they are learning (Willis, 2011).  Recently, Yale researchers found that short video games can stimulate the learners brain.  The researchers referred to these short video games as “mental stretching.”  The can excite students about the material at hand and prepare them for the day of learning (Banville, 2016)

The idea of using games in education has grown so much over the past few years that it was recently included in the “Every Student Succeeds” legislation. The legislation cites games as an important part of student success.  Games can be used to increase collaboration and problem solving skills.  It also suggests that games can be used as an assessment tool (Banville, 2015). Teachers should utilize sites such as iCivics to identify games that promote and stimulate learning.  Games in education should not just be used as a reward, but they can be used to encourage learning and as the learning task!  Even better, students can be involved in making the games!

Banville, Lee. 2016 may test the government’s commitment to learning games. Games and Learning. Classroom Use, 28 Dec. 2015.

Banville, Lee. Brain trainers may kick start learning in students. Games and Learning. Learning Research, 1 Oct. 2016.

Willis MD, Judy. A neurologist makes the case for the video game model as a learning tool.” Edutopia. N.p., 14 Apr. 2011.

Color Image- Notable Presidents —

Color Image- Notable Presidents

Students in 8th grade American History will be using this image as a focus for understanding political parties.  At this point in the unit students will have learned about democrat and republican parties, as well as other parties that have been a part of elections in the past.  All students will be familiar with the names and terms used in this graphic.  In addition, students have used “timeline” like graphics in the past so they should be able to follow the graphic.

I chose to use a blue background with white lettering for the title to help it stand out.  According to Lohr, using color for labeling information will help students to differentiate between the information they should view first and last.  I also learned that using color for learner organization can be helpful.  I chose to label the democrats and republicans with their associated colors (blue and red).  I hoped that this would help students both with associating the presidents in the picture, as well as, associating these colors in general with their corresponding political parties.  

I originally had borders around each of the presidents.  After consulting with my fiance, he noted that it was too busy and hel felt the information was already organized enough.  He said the borders were too distracting.  In addition, he helpd me work on alignment and making sure the images all flowed.

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Walled Gardens Voice Thread — October 17, 2016
Selection Principle – Presidential Requirements — October 16, 2016

Selection Principle – Presidential Requirements


My 8th grade students will be using this image when beginning the unit on becoming president.  They should understand who the president is in relation to the U.S. government.  In addition, they should be familiar with vocabulary such as “natural born citizen” and “residency.”

When considering how to complete this image I originally thought of a table.  However, after reading the chapter on selection, I came across Figure 5-3 on page 104.  This image showed how the table lines can sometimes skew the focus of the learner.  This helped me to design this image, by making sure to emphasize the main points of the graphic, without distraction, like a table.  I also tried to focus on the 3 c’s for this section.  I used a blue background for the title to draw attention and concentrate the image focus.  I also kept the information concise to help maintain the learners focus and emphasize the key points without distraction.  I was torn about using an image or not.  I find the seal of the president to be an important piece of the presidency so I wanted to incorporate it into the image.  I wanted to make sure it did not distract however, like in the clock image in the text book.

I asked my fiance to review the image.  He liked the simplicity of it and told me to make a few changes with centering of the title and the image overall.  He also noted to fade the seal so it was less distracting, which I think was a big change.

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Acceptable Use Policies — October 10, 2016

Acceptable Use Policies

The use of internet and technology in schools is a great asset.  It opens a world of possibilities for teaching and learning, but in many peoples eyes it opens up a whole world of concern as well.  To combat those concerns of students drifting to off task sites, finding inappropriate materials, or talking to someone they should not, districts, schools and teachers should develop acceptable use policies.  These policies help set criteria for students, similar to the criteria for behavior in school on a daily basis.

As important as acceptable use policies are to the safety of students, experts note that they should “be based on a philosophy that balances freedom and responsibility.”  I believe that it is important to teach students how to navigate their internet resources appropriately without doing it for them.  It is an important strategy as global citizens to be able to decipher information.  Rather than place harsh restrictions and begin with punishments, acceptable use policies should provide a guidelines that outline how to be safe.  They should began by explaining what the policy is for and providing definitions to alleviate any misconceptions or confusion.  They should provide an opportunity to students to learn about the policy and then explain the “acceptable” use that students must follow.  Although you do not want to discourage students ability to decipher information, the next sections in an acceptable use policy allow students to understand that they can “abuse” the privileged to access information, as well as, put themselves in danger.  Therefore, acceptable use policies should include a “non-acceptable” use section, as well as, how violations will be handled (Education World).  Using this depth in an acceptable use policy will be beneficial in proactively planning for use of the internet.

For schools with younger students, it is important to not only educate students on how to use the internet acceptable, but also help minimize their access to inappropriate sites.  Firewalls and filters can be beneficial to minimize student traffic on inappropriate sites.  However, these are not 100% effective, again promoting that teaching students appropriate use is most beneficial.  As students get older, Firewalls can prove troublesome, as they may block sites that are necessary to an assignment.  For example, many civil war sites are blocked to students at my school.  However, my students conduct and independent project on the civil war generating digital museum galleries and they need access to many resources.  As a district, we had to quickly redesign our acceptable use policy and change the firewalls to allow students to access these sometimes controversial sites.  

Another concern for students are their privacy issues.  For example, my students create blogs to share their work.  The intent of these blogs is to help students reach a more global audience and share their responses and ask questions of experts.  However, parents and students are allowed to “opt out” of having their blogs public.  Additionally, acceptable use policies can help students to understand the concept of not posting their full name and personal information.  Our students blogs do not include our school district and just use student first names at this time.  It is important to consider safety and privacy issues when creating an acceptable use policy (Roblyer, 2016).  While these may not be a result of “student misuse” they are major part to teaching students to navigate the internet appropriate.  

Below are some examples of acceptable use policies:

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

“Education World: Getting Started on the Internet: Acceptable Use Policies.” Education World: Getting Started on the Internet: Acceptable Use Policies. Education World, 2009. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.

CARP – Swing States — October 9, 2016

CARP – Swing States



The users of this image will be 8th grade American history students studying the 2016 campaign.  This unit will likely be the first time they will learn about swing states and their influence in the election.  This image will allow them to learn which states are the most important to watch for on election day.  Students should know the state abbreviations and be able to decipher which states are the swing states.  In addition, the students should know to use a key when referring to a map.  

To help focus students and create an image that is not too distracting, I used the same font and similar font colors throughout this image.  This use of repetition should help the students understand the purpose of the text and not become confused (Lohr, 203).  

I also considered the proximity of the text in my image. Within the map, I have little control of where I can place my text.  However, the title and the key were tricky when considering placement on the image.  I chose to make place both of them at the top of the image to show their important in understanding the image.  But I placed them further apart to show that while they both guide the image, they are not the same thing (Lohr, 203)

Yikes, my first attempts at this image were awful.  My viewer was overwhelmed and had no idea what to look at.  I struggled with making the title fit the image without overwhelming it, but after considering proximity I felt comfortable with making the size it currently is.  In addition, I made adjustments to how I was highlighting the swing states themselves, which now I believe is more consistent throughout the image.

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Design Process – Road to the Presidency — October 2, 2016

Design Process – Road to the Presidency



This visual will act as the unit guide for 8th grade students learning about the Road to the Presidency.  The visual does not include descriptions of the path to the presidency, rather just the bigger ideas fitting into each section.  This will help students understand exactly what we will be studying.  Students will likely have littler prior knowledge on the presidential election process, so this will act as their first introduction to the process.  

I conducted a lot of research on the presidential election process to come up with these 7 steps, which I think will be the most beneficial when teaching my students.  During the analyze phase of ACE, I considered how this visual will benefit my students.  I found that it would be organizational, as it will present the information to them in hopefully a logical flow.  I chose to go from top to bottom to organize the concept, as I felt students would likely start reading the graphic from the top and work their way down the visual.  This was something I considered during the create phase of the ACE process.  Lastly, the evaluation of my graphic is probably most important.  I followed the evaluation process as laid out Lohr to look at effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal.  I do believe that the visual does help instructionally and that the amount of content is not overwhelming.  I hope that the students will be able to associate the information with the unit itself and can easily interpret the information.  I do think that the visual is clear and will make the learners feel like they can easily understand the concepts.  However, I do wonder if I could add more visuals to motivate the students to view the image.  I just am torn between simplicity to make sure students get what they need to out of the content and with being creative and making something visually exciting.

When sharing my image, user review is that it does accomplish the task of introducing the process to students.  They felt that the design fit in with the rest of my images and will be a good reference for students.  I did ask about whether I should “spice up” the image at all by adding an additional image and my reviewer noted that it might attract students more.  So I am a bit torn about whether to add some flare or not?  

Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Benefits of Multimedia in the Classroom —