Archive for 3.1 Media Utilization

EDTECH 597 Final Project

I did it. This 50 year old mom and teacher created multiple productivity and entertainment apps for my mobile device, despite my novice status among app users and Android O/S. Even more impressive is the functionality of the apps created by my classmates and colleagues. From creating something sweet to seeing how the sugar impacts our cells, I stand in respect and awe of what can be developed and designed with a series of well placed pieces – or “blocks.”
I clearly remember 1972. I am 10 years old, sitting in my fourth grade classroom listening to my much-loved teacher talking us through time – taking us on a journey of what then seemed to be fantasy. He spoke of when we were “grown-ups” that we would be able to see each other on TV while talking on our telephone. He said that we would be able to travel without going anywhere. The man was a visionary. Today, the phone talks to me! I can visit the sights of Singapore and hold a life-like Koi pond in the palm of my hand! I have the pleasure to not only see his description held true, but I have also been bestowed the honor and responsibility for pushing the technology forward!
I don’t know how much further I will grow in the app development. This course took me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to rise above technical glitches and create something of benefit. But understanding how the technology works gives me impetus to take the students in my classroom on a visionary journey of what can be…in their future.
ETADroid

QRPCR

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EDTECH 597 – The Component Designer

This app design has been an intriguing challenge that fits right in to my life of predicaments and situations. I switched smart phone platforms for this course and have struggled with something akin to regret these past few months. An accomplished iOS user, I feel clumsy and frustrated with the Android, but I persist in my overcoming this obstacle. Last week I determined to get my apps organized into folders. I was successful, but in doing so, I inadvertently changed some setting within my Android that has prevented me from connecting (blocks editor does not see my phone).
I plan for my app to be used by EMT’s on the ambulance or on scene. They will enter patient information that can be sent via SMS to our local ER prior to our arrival. We have to be cautious about providing a patient’s name over our radio communications, but there are several “hot spots” during our transport that an SMS message can be sent prior to our arrival (we have a minimum 45 minute transport). I designed the app so that the user will interact via text box entries, check boxes, gps positioning. and SMS messaging. The environment has varied lighting, so I avoided the use of color, choosing a neutral dark gray and white for the primary screens.
I like being able to drag and drop functions in the Component Designer. It gives me an opportunity to play with the layout. The file size constraint is a potential setback. I am worried that as my app continues to grow, the size might get too big, so I have been resizing the photos in Photoshop to stay within the 5MB limit. I have frequent problems launching the blocks editor and am wondering why at this late date it is beginning to give me problems.

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EDTECH506: Concrete and Concise

There are many factors to providing critical prehospital care. EMTs have to know how to determine if a patient is in immediate need of advanced care. The students taking this course will refer to this condensed chart which follows Lohr’s three C’s. There is a lot to remember in this section, so I concentrated a lot of information in one spot. In doing so, I also designed it to be concise and concrete with the white text dominating the field. I initially had the blue text fields extending out to the edge of the page, but decided to increase the white ground a bit to balance the high contrast of the blue and red after my reviewer complained that it “hurt his eyes.” I decided the problem was one in which the figure and ground competed (p. 102). When I reduced the width of the blue, I found that the text was enhanced by the white space around the blue text box.

I analyzed the figure to see if I had unintentionally created a visual conflict. Originally, I had. The blue textboxes made the graphic look like a US Navy add with the blue and white “stripes” creating a 1+1=3 phenomenon (p. 100). My reviewer’s complaint told me that the figure and ground were causing visual conflict. The revision is much better – allowing the learner to “focus easily and quickly on [the] key message.” (p. 105).

Overall, I am pleased with this part of my project. I used the same colors as prior projects to begin developing a color theme of red, white, and blue to match that of our ambulance service. It will work because it is easy to read and put into a logical format. These are not cardinal elements, so leaving them unnumbered helps to reduce the tendency to rank the elements.

References

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

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EDTECH 597 – CRISIS MODE

I have been dreading this assignment. As a basic productivity app user, I am unskilled and unfamiliar with other app categories – especially games. Nevertheless, I have an awareness of the trend toward animating education, so I took this course hoping to gain new insight to the app phenomena. So it comes with some trepidation and much research (I have downloaded more apps in the past three months than my entire six years as a smart phone owner) that I finally have decided on a developer project. As an EMT in a remote location, I experience frequent communication setbacks between our ER staff and our ambulance service. We are equi-distant transport to rural ERs north and south of Riggins, but both requre a 3,000-4,000 foot climb in elevation. When we are called to wilderness areas to retrieve a patient injured or ill, our transport times exceed four hours – but for the most part we have a patient in the ER an average of one hour after we are initially paged. In the meantime, ER crews can be assembled and ready when the patient arrives – especially in critical care or life threatening events. With my plan laid out, I hope the little green droid and the blocks editor are ready for the challenge of my career.

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EDTECH 597 – Hide and Seek

If you have ever experienced a moment of consternation upon exiting a mall or movie theater, the “Find My Car” app will put your fears to rest. Developing the app was an experience akin to finding your car in a packed lot. The design was pretty straightforward, but my desire to increase the font size caused the app to crash and not function well. App crashes were not the only problem, my blocks editor refused to load time after time. After a Java rollback, I was able to get the program to stabilize. I feel challenged to push this app, but I don’t know where! I added images to the buttons, and was finally successful in adding an Icon for the App Screen. Because I won’t be driving to my car, I used the walking option with Google Maps. Nevertheless, trial after trial I keep getting the same font argument error. Status update when/if a new functional version gets put out.
Update: The font argument was not about the font, but the incorrect block in the blocks editor. Third time was the charm! This tool is functional, but rather slow on my Android and takes a long time to load.

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EDTECH 506 – Natural Selection

There are many factors to providing critical prehospital care. EMTs must gain the skills necessary to quickly determine if a patient is in immediate need of advanced care. I wanted the design of the critical care page to be comprehensive, yet clean. As students enter their practical skills, they need to easily remember the information presented. There is a lot to remember in this section, so the design demands that a lot of information is concentrated in each section. I enhanced the text with contrasting colors for cohesiveness, but the sheer volume of text still needed something more to make the steps more concrete. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, I am seeking representative images to further solidify the different steps.
References
Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. (Second.) Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Critical Care

There is a lot to remember in this section, so I concentrated a lot of information in one spot. In doing so, I also designed it to be concise and concrete with the white text dominating the field. The generous white space offsets the high contrast of the blue and red.

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EDTECH 506: CARP is not a fish

CARP design elements are used to better communicate a lesson or message through visual representation. Contrast. Alignment. Repetition. Proximity. Each of these elements impacts learning, and a good design will improve the course content. I chose grey-scale for my design, planning a contrast punch with black and white text and graphics. I chose the organized feel of rectangle shapes and symmetrical rows and columns they create, while using repetition to lighten the tense lines in the image. Each row a different color, but the proximity of clone like text boxes reveals the concepts therein are connected. In the end, I’m pleased with that decision feeling like I have met the first course goal – “to apply principles of visual literacy o the design of instructional messages.”

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EDTECH597: Tour de Paris

Image

I think I finally had fun with the blocks editor today. In fact, the process went so smoothly that I spent more time dreaming about (or was that researching) what I would do given the opportunity to travel to Paris than I did actually building the app. I am ready to create all sorts of map apps. My students could do this – identifying historical or significant land marks in math and photography. Viva le Apps!

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ED TECH 597: Working out the Bugs

ladybug chase elementsThis past week, the ladybug app left me with a few bugs of my own to work out. Developing an android app by following directions is challenging, but even more challenging is how I will apply my new knowledge to education. Of course there is the possibility of opening the MIT site up to my students, but what more? Will my experience in this course and my new found skills make an impact on the way I teach and learn? Will it make an impact on the way others learn?

I continue to be inspired by my peers as we struggle to extend the lessons and create something uniquely ours. Ego is thrown out the door as we post the difficulties that detain our progress. We voice our reasoning and words of encouragement flow. It’s a refreshing change from the scoffs and muttered name calling in secondary classrooms when a student attempts to clarify an answer, suppressing the natural desire to learn. I have a plan to help teach those students to react to one another with respect and compassion. Although I’m not a “gamer” I am inspired to use this app building process to encourage my students to collaborate and “work out the bugs” of education.

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EDTECH 506: The Shape of Things to Come

Sample of Unit page

Unit 3 – Bleeding Control and Shock Management


One of the first lessons I learned in elementary school was the use of shapes in art. Like many of my classmates, I happily drew triangles, circles, squares, and rectangles intermingled with lines of all lengths and thicknesses to represent happy families, houses, flowers, trees, and the bright shining sun. As time passed, I used ovals and more lines to practice the alphabet and numbers 0-9.

Shapes and lines continue to play an important part in my hobbies of photography and drawing. My eyes seek out and find shapes and patterns everywhere I look. This chapter has been by far a favorite as I gain new insight to some of the visual characteristics of shapes and how they communicate unity, emotions, or organization. I was intrigued by the examples Lohr sets forth in Figures 10-2 through 10-6 (pp. 251-255) and noted that I am usually drawn to those layouts that depict unity and those that separate and define. Therefore it was no surprise that I chose to use those elements in my own layout for my unit. I chose to use simple rectangles to organize the information on a standard computer display. Other units can be quickly accessed on the lower ribbon links. I like the way rectangles highlight and organize the information with clean lines. My use of color parallels the colors we use on our local EMS logo and ambulance. When my daughter pointed out that my page looked a little bit “cluttered” I added the broken circle in an attempt to unify the page elements and a solid line of a different color to separate and define the other units. I am pleased with the results, but knowing my penchant for revision, left the layers intact for future editing.

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