Simplicity, complexity, DNA and dark matter

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Simplicity, complexity, DNA and dark matter It’s easier to complicate than to simplify. Simple ideas enter the brain quicker and stay there longer. (Saatchi) Simple can be harder than complex. You …

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

“Just understand that Simplicity is more than a goal – it’s a skill. To successfully leverage its power, you need to get good at it – simplicity isn’t simple.” (Ken Segall, 2012) Simplicity can be related  to usability and thus productivity. 

See on bristolbrunelleadership.wordpress.com

Posted in UDL

Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel take an iPad app for an incredible ride

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Last night’s Tonight Show was one for the ages. Jimmy Fallon introduced Billy Joel to a beatboxing iPad app called Loopy HD. Watch the video. Magic.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Music is a universal language. The beauty of iPad apps like Loopy HD is how ease by which you can create powerful and engaging pieces even if you can’t read music notation or play an instrument..

See on www.loopinsight.com

Posted in UDL

Photo Education – Accessible Photography through Switch Access in iOS 7 – TheAppWhisperer

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

We are delighted to publish the second tutorial to our brand new section within theappwhisperer – Photo Education & Accessibility. There are many photographers and artists with special needs, whether…

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Switch accessible photography is another example of what is possible using the inbuilt power of Apple technology. Many thanks to Apple Distinguished Educator, Dr Luis Perez for sharing his expertise. Luis is an international expert on accessibility and inclusive design, and author of Mobile Learning for All from Corwin Press. His work has appeared in THE Journal, The Loop Magazine, and the New York Times Bits Blog. You can learn more about Luis’s work in educational technology by visiting his website at www.luisperezonline.com. #ADE #plearnchat #UDLchat @_luisfperez

See on theappwhisperer.com

Posted in UDL

Creative Educator – The Power of Play

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

The pendulum swings back and forth in education. Waiting at one end of the arc is a myopic focus on academics and accountability, often in the form of high-stakes testing. Fueled by a fear of “falling behind,” learning environments that encourage exploration and experimentation are pushed aside in favor of early academics, more homework, and correct answers on bubble sheets.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

The idea that play is incompatible with, or the opposite of, learning is a misconception. Play benefits physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development. Play has Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi ) Or as Mark Twain said “Work and play are words used to describe the same thing under differing conditions.”

See on creativeeducator.tech4learning.com

Posted in UDL

iHouse | Vision2014

See on Scoop.itpersonalised learning

Split into four zones the iHouse will replicate a vision impaired persons’ experience in the home with the assistance of the latest accessible technology.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Every Apple device not only has accessible features — but accessible principles — built in. This is inclusion by universal design that recognises and respects the human dignity of all users. Now lets take the concept of the iHouse and embed the philosophy in every school.

See on www.vision2014.org

Posted in UDL

What’s New and Changed for Blind and Low Vision Users in iOS 7.1 | AppleVis

See on Scoop.itpersonalised learning

iOS 7.1 is now available for download via Over-the-Air Update and iTunes.   Since November of last year, members of the AppleVis Editorial Team have been busy testing iOS 7.1 in all stages of the beta process.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

The new and changed accessibility features in iOS 7.1 are impressive and build upon an already highly enabling system.

See on applevis.com

Hattie’s Index Of Teaching & Learning Strategies: 39 Effect Sizes In Ascending Order

See on Scoop.itpersonalised learning

Hattie’s Index Of Teaching & Learning Strategies: 39 Effect Sizes In Ascending Order

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

"Every study has a story, and every strategy and impacting agent has a background." It is worth teasing out and reflecting upon the comments listed on the right hand side of notes.

See on www.teachthought.com

Posted in UDL

Minimize Cognitive Load to Maximize Usability | Nielsen Norman Group

See on Scoop.iteBookED

The total cognitive load, or amount of mental processing power needed to use your site, affects how easily users find content and complete tasks.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Greg Alchin’s insight:

To improve learner comprehension and engagement, educators should:
1. Implement strategies to support intrinsic cognitive load such as adding glossaries.
2. Minimise extraneous cognitive load thorough clear consistent design,

See on www.nngroup.com

Posted in UDL

Minimize Cognitive Load to Maximize Usability | Nielsen Norman Group

See on Scoop.itpersonalised learning

The total cognitive load, or amount of mental processing power needed to use your site, affects how easily users find content and complete tasks.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

To improve learner comprehension and engagement, educators should:
1. Implement strategies to support intrinsic cognitive load such as adding glossaries.
2. Minimise extraneous cognitive load thorough clear consistent design,

See on www.nngroup.com

Posted in UDL

How to create an accessible infographic | Access iQ

See on Scoop.itpersonalised learning

As social media continues to grow as a powerful medium for sharing information and ideas, the need for accessible infographics has become more critical.

 

An infographic is a visual representation of data that turns complex information into bite-sized pieces that can be read at a glance. Because it can make a large amount of information easier to digest, perhaps the most valuable function of an infographic is the ease with which it can be shared across different social media platforms.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Making information accessible and usable to all learners enables 

all learners to participate in learning on the same basis.

See on accessiq.org

Posted in UDL

Exclusive Special Report on Blended Learning

See on Scoop.itpersonalised learning

This Education Week special report is the latest installment in an ongoing series about online education. These stories examine the opportunities and persistent questions that surround schools’ and districts’ implementation of blended learning, the widely used instructional approach that combines technology-based instruction with traditional, face-to-face lessons.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

For Blended learning to be successful educators need to really unpack the principles of TPACK and SAMR. It is the considered use of the tech for education purposes not the tech itself that is the driver.

See on e-news.edweek.org

Posted in UDL

IBM standardizing on EPUB to reduce digital barriers and increase mobile support

See on Scoop.iteBookED

SEATTLE, WA: International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) and IBM  today announced a collaboration to develop a white paper highlighting lessons learned from IBM’s recent decision to support EPUB as the company’s primary packaged portable document format.

 

EPUB is the widely adopted open standard format, for digital publications, developed by IDPF, based on HTML5 and other technologies from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), as well as technologies from IDPF. IDPF is a trade and standards association with over 300 members in over 45 countries.  Increased client demand for mobile solutions, accessibility through the cloud, and the transformational opportunities both pose for enterprise content are the key drivers for IBM’s move to the next-generation portable document format. By standardizing on EPUB, IBM is also extending its leadership in accessibility and delivering a richer user experience and engagement.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

ePUBs are the key to increasing accessibility and delivering a richer user experience and engagement. for education.  

See on globalaccessibilitynews.com

Posted in UDL

6 Of My All-Time Favorite Conversion Rate Optimization Case Studies

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Want to start conversion testing your website, but don’t know where to start? Here 6 conversion rate optimization case studies + actionable advice to help.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

How do you motivate online learners to actively engage and participate in activities? Conversion rate optimization offers some interesting research that can be readily contextualised to education.

See on blog.crazyegg.com

Posted in UDL

Stages of Personalized Learning Environments (v3)

See on Scoop.itpersonalised learning

The Stages of Personalized Learning Environments (version 2) was updated from feedback and input from educators around the world.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

The brilliant work of McClaskey and Bray continues to evolve. A must read and implement for all educators committed to empowering novice learners  to become expert learners.

See on www.personalizelearning.com

Posted in UDL

What Is User Experience (UX) | Why Is User Experience Important

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Defines User Experience (UX), the disciplines included in User Experience and how your business can benefit from providing a good user experience

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Good User Experience (UX) is crucial if educators wish to engage  and sustain learners. Many educators only focus on one of the six UX disciplines (content) which does not lead to a great conversion rate for learning.

See on blog.crazyegg.com

Posted in UDL

PBL Teachers Need Time to Reflect, Too

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Student reflection is a key ingredient in project-based learning, and for good reason. As John Dewey reminded us nearly a century ago, “We do not learn from experience . . . we learn from reflecting

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Just because it is old doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable! John Dewey’s comment that "We do not learn from experience . . . we learn from reflecting on experience."applies to all learning.

See on www.edutopia.org

Posted in UDL

Why access matters

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Watch our YouTube videos featuring some of Australia’s best-known disability advocates talking about the technologies and apps that have changed their lives as well as their daily frustrations of dealing with websites and apps that haven’t been made accessible to people with disability.

 

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Powerful stories about  enabling capacity of good design as well as the ongoing struggle for universal access. @ACCAN_AU #menabling #accessibility

See on accan.org.au

Posted in UDL

Designing inclusive digital learning environments

Every school in Australia has legal obligations and responsibilities under Federal legislation such as the Disability standards for education (2005) to ensure that all learners with or without a disability are able to participate in learning on the same basis. To ensure that all learners are able to participate in learning on the same basis may involve the school taking reasonable steps to ensure that any adjustments required are made within a reasonable time. It is important to note that making these reasonable adjustments should not be confused with differentiating. What follows are strategies for Designing inclusive digital learning environments based upon increasing learner inclusion, engagement and comprehension through universal usability.

The secret structure of great talks

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

From the “I have a dream” speech to Steve Jobs’ iPhone launch, all great presentations have a common architecture. In this talk, Nancy Duarte draws lessons on how to make a powerful call-to-action.

(Filmed at TEDxEast.)

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

An extremely powerful presentation. Great learning has a powerful narrative and journey. Great learning involves the art of telling story of ideas.

See on www.ted.com

Posted in UDL

Report: Kids Tend to Read Digital More Than Print

See on Scoop.iteBookED

The process of reading is undergoing a paradigm shift where kids are starting to read on smartphones and tablets more than physical print. The quintessential

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

The data confirms our annecdotal experience. The data also only gives a snapshot of what was rather than what is. The paradigm shift is well and truly occurring. The question is how are we responding to the shift?

See on goodereader.com

Posted in UDL

What Is Web 3.0 And How Will It Change Education? – Edudemic

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

We’ll reach a new state of web skills when we reinvent technology tools to better enhance our personal learning. We’ll be at 3.0 when schools are everywhere and not viewed as daycare.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Don’t sweat the number (3.0). Focus on the fact that it is a cultural shift enabled by technological change. How do you want to reimagine what learning will be.

See on www.edudemic.com

Posted in UDL

Flipping the Library: Tips from Three Pros | The Digital Shift 2013 – The Digital Shift

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Three experts shared tech tips and tools during “Flipped School Libraries,” a rapid-fire, dynamic session during The Digital Shift: Reinventing Libraries (#TDS13) webcast.

 

 

Through the use of innovative technologies and online resources, school libraries can now be available tostudents wherever—and whenever—they need them. “Flipped” or blended learning offers students thepower of personalized instruction, through a mix of virtual and face-to-face interactions, at a student’s own pace. Embracing this concept is a must for student engagement and the future of the profession, say school librarians Joyce Valenza, Brenda Boyer, and Michelle Luhtala.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

considered reimagining of purpose & processe in response to technological & cultural change.

See on www.thedigitalshift.com

Posted in UDL

Personalize Learning: 10 Trends for Personalized Learning in 2014

See on Scoop.itpersonalised learning

Bray and McClaskey provide the Top 10 Trends for Personalized Learning in 2014

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Another well written piece Barbara! The cornerstone is the definitely changing the language TO Learner AWAY from Student. This simple but powerful change is the first step in reframing the whole paradigm. I believe that to really move forward we must also change the language for Teacher as well as it will help to reframe and redefine our role. So what is the term we should use…..mentor, coach, leading learner?

See on www.personalizelearning.com

Posted in UDL

Podcasting Guide | PoducateMe

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Provides instruction for and discussion of how to podcast in education and beyond. Features a comprehensive guide to podcasting that’s free to read in its entirety online. Also includes podcast news, kits, and hardware and software recommendations.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Podcasting and screencasting are a key component of rebooting the classroom to flip the learning paradigm. This is a very comprehensive resource!

See on poducateme.com

Posted in UDL

Establishing A Growth Mindset As A Teacher: 9 Affirming Statements – TeachThought

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

“The ability to change is among the least-appreciated professional characteristics of a teacher.

 

This is especially true as education systems react to both external pressure, and internal instinct to change into something closer to truly progressive learning environments.”

 

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

 To support other learners to develop a growth minset we must first grow our own.

See on www.teachthought.com

Posted in UDL

7 Fantastic Apps for Teaching Typography

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

What better way to help kids explore the world of fonts than with mobile apps? Our choice of apps include educational type apps, font resource apps, and apps that allow students to design with fonts.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Font choice and layout  evokes an emotional response from the reader before they have ebven read the text. So how do you want your readers to feell?  

See on www.avatargeneration.com

Posted in UDL

Learning Trends, Technologies, and Opportunities – New White Paper by Sharon Boller

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Sharon Boller, President of Bottom-Line Performance, has authored a new white paper: Learning Trends, Technologies and Opportunities.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

These  key trends  mirror much of what is identified in NMC’s Horizon Report. The question is ‘How to EDU institutions reflect and  respond to these trends.

 

1. Less desktop and more mobile…but not that fast.

2. Fewer full-sized courses. More learning snacks, ePubs, videos, and reference tools.

3. Less focus on the LMS; More focus on Tin Can API.

4. Less Tell; More Games and Gamification.

6. Less Formal Training; More Informal Social Learning.

7. Less Trainers; More Community Managers and Curators.

See on www.bottomlineperformance.com

Posted in UDL

10 Awesome Apps and Sites that Spark Creativity

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

It’s Top-Picks Friday! This week we are featuring apps and websites that empower your students to express their ideas through art, music, theater, and much more.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

An interesting collection of apps. Some that are worth a download. That said the choices lead me to believe that the author has a narrow view of what constitutes creativity. The team from 21st Century Fluencies expand the concept further by saying." Creativity Fluency is the process by which artistic proficiency adds meaning through design, art and storytelling. It is about using innovative design to add value to the function of a product though the form.’

This is much closer to a definition that I am comfortable with as creativity is in maths and Sciences as it is the arts. For me creativity is the application of an innovative design that adds meaning and value. What do you think?

See on www.graphite.org

Posted in UDL

5 Apps for Social Reading

See on Scoop.iteBookED

Social reading is revolutionizing the way anyone reads. While most participate in social media, such as Facebook or Twitter in their personal lives, social medi

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Through the use of apps and devices social reading goes beyond the actual words on the page and opens up a myriad of options for readers to share their thoughts, favorite quotes, and overall opinions of the things they have read. It has great potential in a wide range of learning environments to support collaboration between learners. 

See on www.avatargeneration.com

Posted in UDL

Free Personalizing Learning Webinar Series starts Nov 12th

See on Scoop.itpersonalised learning

Personalize Learning is launching a free webinar series. Join in the coversation and ask questions from educators and learners in personalized learning environments.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

This series of webinars are well worth attending. They really are an investment in your professional learning journey.

See on us2.campaign-archive1.com

Posted in UDL

TEDx Talks on paper: Artists visualize the world’s ideas in 5 fascinating drawings

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Doodling may have gotten you in trouble in history class, but at TEDx events, it’s highly encouraged.
All over the world, über-talented artists are contributing to the TEDx world of ideas by putting…

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

The distillation of rich ideas into concise, powerful multimodal texts. What a very powerful communication medium.

See on blog.tedx.com

Posted in UDL

GIO Levels of Car Insurance TV commercial

See on Scoop.itpersonalised learning

We know NSW families are anything but average. Which is why we offer different levels of car insurance to suit your needs. http://www.gio.com.au/car-insuranc...

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

This car insurance. advert reinforces that ‘variability is the norm.’ So if mainstream advertising along with car manufacturers (Think of the level of personalisation of your driving position) understand the problems of relying on the ‘average user’, why not all of education? Universal design for Learning and Personalised Learning are the way forward for all learners. Many thanks to  Darrah Long, Senior Learning Designer at TAFE eLearning Hub for sharing this.

See on www.youtube.com

Posted in UDL

Amway’s journey from 100,000 print catalogues a month to digital

See on Scoop.iteBookED

The advantages of digital publishing for brands are multiple.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

The Marketing industry has always had alot to offer education. Knowing the demographic, and deliver a targetted message to bring about change. 

 

“Some people, particularly older customers, who were used to the print medium struggled with the change, but we found the best approach was to work to bring our older existing customers with us.”

See on www.marketingmag.com.au

Posted in UDL

Beyond Blue urges Australians to take proper lunch breaks

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Anti-depression group Beyond Blue says millions of Australians are risking their health by not taking a lunch break.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Interesting study on the importance of taking regular breaks and getting a work life balance. It would be interesting to compare this with the homework debate.  I for one believe much of what constitutes homework is ‘busy work.’ 

See on www.abc.net.au

Posted in UDL

Apple – Life on iPad

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Over the past three years, iPad has helped people transform business, education, entertainment, health, and many other fields. We wanted to document those ch…

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

This advert is a wonderful snapshot of a truly disruptive technology that has transformed how we live and learn. In the process iPads have reinvented the tablet space and reinforced we are in a post PC world.  So how are you harnessing ICT to increase learner outcomes?

See on www.youtube.com

Posted in UDL

Pics4Learning | Free photos for education

See on Scoop.itBrain Bytes

Thousands of copyright free and copyright friendly images and photos for teachers and students.

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

Another great source of copyright free images for students and staff alike. That said everyone should learn to use http://www.google.com/advanced_image_search and http://www.google.com/advanced_search and filter results on usage rights.

See on www.pics4learning.com

Posted in UDL

The Best Apps For Reading Ebooks on the iPad for Power Readers | Digital Book World

See on Scoop.iteBookED

I am what the book industry calls a “power reader.” I read a lot of books (at least 300 a year), and I read them quickly. With that sort of intake, using an

Greg Alchin‘s insight:

An interesting collection of apps. The article highlights that many of these apps run on different platforms. Whilst supposedly for power readers it is the usability of the apps that make them suitable for a wider age range and learning needs.

See on www.digitalbookworld.com

Posted in UDL

Inge Druckrey: Teaching to See

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.”

Inge Druckrey: Teaching to See from Edward Tufte on Vimeo.

 

ZoomText Mac

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.
Positives
  • Additional layers of zoom
  • Font Smoothing
  • Focus Enhancements to highlight windows and seclections
  • Selection of additional colour schemes
Negatives
  • 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.

Universal Design for Learning – Creating learning opportunities for all.

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.

Download the full PDF or EPUB

 

Investing in yourself

PLANE-share-itInvesting 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.

Designing learning support into iBooks Author

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.

 Download the full article: PDF or Word

Accessible Digital Books & UDL

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.

 

Posted in UDL

What can educators learn from advertising?

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.

Digital Video in the Classroom

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.

Download the Teacher’s resource

What can teacher’s learn from Apple’s design philosophy?

‘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.

Here’s to the crazy ones

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 misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
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.