Edward Tufte’s film is a much watch film. As a teacher I implore you do one thing today, watch this 40-minute jorney in Design Thinking. As Matthew Carter, type designer, MacArthur Fellow said “It about patient and dedicated teaching, about learning to look and visualize in order to design, about the importance of drawing. It is one designer’s personal experience of issues that face all designers, expressed with sympathy and encouragement, and illustrated with examples of Inge [Druckrey]’s own work and that of grateful generations of her students. There are simple phrases that give insights into complex matters, for example that letterforms are ‘memories of motion.’ Above all, it is characteristic of Inge that in this examination of basic principles the word “beautiful” is used several times.”
It is pleasing to see some additional screen magnification software in the mac space, but I really think ZoomText Mac is a work in progress and typical of a v1.0 release! If someone is really really in need of additional magnification then maybe yes. For me I am happy with built in Zoom. Currently I’d only place Zoomtext Mac on a watch with interest list.
Additional layers of zoom
Focus Enhancements to highlight windows and seclections
Selection of additional colour schemes
Pricepoint at $299 it is not value for money.
Cursor sensitivity is very poor when selecting item using lager cursor
Incompatible with built-in Zoom
Incompatible with built-in color settings as ZoomText Mac’s color filters can be affected by OS settings.
Doesnt work well with Microsoft Office as Office doesnt follow OSX accessibility standards
A useful and cheaper item
If all you need is a more perecivable cursor at a cheaper price then Pinpoint is a good app! It is useful, highly configurable and at $5.49 a much lower cost large cursor.
Ensuring that all learners develop the skills and attitudes to become a successful learner is the cornerstone of education. This is reinforced by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) which calls for all students to develop ‘a comprehensive set of knowledge, skills and dispositions or general capabilities that will assist them to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century.’
A critical examination of these ‘skills and dispositions’ leads one to recognise that successful learners are expert learners. Expert learners possess specific skills and attitudes that have enabled them to progress as well as a capacity for sustained learning.
What follows is a detailed discussion and suggested strategies based upon the work of UDL experts Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) as well as Basham, Diedrich and Lawrence’s Instructional Process.
Investing in our own professional capacity is how we model lifelong learning. One such way is being a member of PLANE. PLANE provides a fantastic online cross sector community of practice which provides accredited professional learning, courses, multi-media resources, ICT skills development, e-portfolio, collaborative tools, games-based-learning, and peer coaching.
Recently PLANE spread its’ wings and hosted a physical conference known as The Festival Of Learning. What made this such a successful conference, was the high level of collaboration across the sectors, the positive energy of all the participants, the breadth and depth of rich presentations and activities as well as inspiring and thought provoking keynotes.
It reminded me in many ways of the conferences that the NSW Computer Education Group used to host in Bathurst in July in the 1980s and 1990s.
Congratulations to all involved and especially the organising committee.
At the core of Apple’s iOS are a wide array of accessibility options to enable users to personalise how they perceive content and interact with their devices. The options are examples of universal design in action. A universal design approach aims to create ‘products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation’
Understanding how to personalise these accessibility options should be part of all educators professional toolset as it allows educators to support learner variability. Providing seamless access to learning devices and materials that can be easily personalised ensures that all students have the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to become expert learners. Expert learners possess specific skills and attitudes and a capacity for sustained learning which are essential to living and working in the twenty-first century.
Another part of our professional toolset is iBooks Author. The intuitive nature of iBooks Author empowers educators to focus on applying the Center for Applied Special Technology’s (CAST) Universal Design for Learning Guidelines (UDL) to create and publish rich, engaging learning materials that include learning supports and scaffolds to empower all students and support them in becoming expert learners.
Whilst the ePub 3 international standard has accessibility criterions, not all eBook readers have the capacity to take advantage of that functionality. What follows is a suggested benchmark for the eBook device and reader app. Not surprisingly Apple’s iOS based devices and associated iBooks app tick most of the boxes! Download a copy in MS Word docx or PDF.
Advertising is part of life. For teachers it is a very unique text type in a concentrated form packed with meaning and nuisances. Advertisements are worthy of study in their own right or as a precursor to more in-depth media studies. The introductory material included here is suitable for all teachers irrespective of the stages they are teaching. The general nature of the material allows it to be applied to advertisements of all media types. Download the PDF.
There ae over 700,00 apps available! This is a plus and a minus. To help navigate the sea of apps we need a framework to critically review apps. Here is a series of frameworks for critically reviewing apps. Download the pdf
Developing the ability to share meaningful narratives or explain solutions to complex problems that confront us are essential communication skills of the 21st Century. These skills are fast becoming an essential requirement in education. For just as we no longer need skills in maintaining slates and sharpening quills so we need to develop modern skills in areas such as digital video. The process of responding to problems where the resolutions are not immediately apparent requires significant levels of higher order thinking, or what Art Costa calls ‘Habits of Mind.’ Transforming an idea into a coherent and engaging digital video requires not only creativity, but also skills such as verbalization, problem-solving, meta-cognition, collaboration, discrimination and planning.
‘A great user interface follows human interface design principles that are based on the way people (users) think and work, not on the capabilities of the device. A user interface that is unattractive, convoluted, or illogical can make even a great application seem like a chore to use. But a beautiful, intuitive, compelling user interface enhances an application’s functionality and inspires a positive emotional attachment in users.’
Apple Human Interface Principles
There is considerable body of evidenced that has demonstrated that student learning can be enhanced by utilizing specific multimedia design principles within blended learning environments. (Mayer, 2001, 2009). If good design impacts upon affect (engagement) and usability (productivity) the question that arises is: ‘Do the ICT tools and digital resources teachers utilise in their blended learning environments have an evidence based design philosophy and if not, why not?’
Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines which incorporate the Human Interface Principles and User Experience Guidelines are based upon highly multi-disciplinary fields, incorporating aspects of psychology, anthropology, sociology, computer science, graphic design, industrial design and cognitive science. The discipline of education shares common features with most if not all of these disciplines. Given how intuitive Apple’s devices are there is much that the education profession can learn from Apple’s design principles and guidelines, when implementing a blended learning methodology. Failure to follow these design rules rules can lead to a disabling learning environment through effecting how:
easily learners can accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design,
quickly learners can perform tasks,
easily learners can recover from making an error.
Whether it be implementing a learning management system such as Moodle or edmodo, mobile apps or a digital resources such as an ePub there are several key design issues teachers need to consider:
How well does the appearance of the app/resource integrate with its function?
How does the app/resource allow learners to transfer their knowledge and skills from one app/resource to another?
How do learners directly manipulate onscreen objects instead of using separate controls to manipulate them?
How does the app/resource provide learners with feedback of their actions or progress?
What metaphors are used with virtual objects and actions in the app/ resource to anchor their thinking?
Not surprisingly post PC era devices such as the iPads (and the associated apps they run) tightly follow Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines and as such are more usable and have a higher utility than the over laden menus and button bars of Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop. This results in a significantly lower learning (and implementation) curve that enables the teacher and students to focus on the real learning goals.
This was a major advertising campaign for Apple late last century. It stands the test of time because it is a call to celebrate divergent thinkers and to be passionate about our creativity. These are traits we can all develop. As an educator it is the cornerstone of what we do.
Here’s to the crazy 0nes.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them,
glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing that you can’t do, is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world,
are the ones who do.