The website kidspast.com has children take a “blast through the past” to learn about history. From the first glance, users are somewhat blinded by the colors, throwing Rule 5 out the window by using much more than three or four colors on the screen. Still, the site adheres to most of Chapter 6’s design principles. The only other rules they seemed to violate were Rule 10 (Keep line lengths between eight and ten words) and Rule 13 (Feature one idea per screen). Organization, emphasis, placement, and structure are generally very strong and well-designed, but the features and lists are too many, crowding the page with too much text, and the colors are distractingly garish and bright. I do, however, love the animated graphics the site uses.
Open content and open sources seem to be fantastic resources for teachers and their students. While educators certainly shouldn’t rely entirely on these sources, using them in the classroom expands the minds of both students and teachers, provides additional information for the curious or struggling, and makes teaching more efficient when it comes to time and money. Educators have access to so much free information, wisdom, and insight that they HAVE to take advantage of the opportunity. That doesn’t mean educators can lean back and depend solely on that. Many students will need the content translated and retaught through their teacher, and teachers have much to offer in their own knowledge bases and experiences. I use open content myself (the Open Office mentioned in the podcast), and didn’t even realize it! It allows me, as a student, to use the same tools at home in Microsoft without having to pay. It’s not perfect, but it helps so much. I would absolutely use open content materials to give my students more resources and information and would contribute to open content if given the time and expertise.
This week’s assignment didn’t teach me a TON about Microsoft Word because I’m already so familiar with the program, but I did use its graphics, tables, etc. more than normal, and it was interesting to see the newsletter come together onscreen. Practice makes perfect, and using these skills in actual projects (no matter how simple they appear) definitely hones my abilities and shows me how, in my career, I can create similar products in ways that are both quick and interesting. Next time, I hope my finished projects looks even more sophisticated, professional, and aesthetically stimulating. I want to keep my students interested even when the content isn’t very fascinating.
Word and Graphics 2 Newsletter