Saturday, December 18, 2010

EDLD 5366 Digital Graphics - Reflection

The course, Digital Graphics, Animation, and Desktop Publishing, was a general and quick overview of graphic design principles and animation. Both graphic design and animation, when done professionally, can be complex. To be able do these well a person must implement these design fundamentals.

The principles of the graphic design that we covered are contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity. The acronym 'CRAP' has helped me to remember these four principles.

Contrast is one of the most important principles in graphic design. Using contrasting fonts and inks, information can be distinguished hierarchically and that most important can be read at a quick glance. In text, contrast leads the eye to the most important things. The principle of Repetition creates unity in the design and allows us to associate the similarities in the design. The third principle, Alignment, creates balance and symmetry. Visual alignment connects the visual elements in a design. Alignment helps us distinguish how these elements connect by their Proximity to one another. These four graphic design principles are foundational in good design. To learn these principles, we were asked to study the design of ancient manuscripts. In doing so, I found that these four principles can be seen in the intricate illuminations of these works of art.

Because I work as a graphic designer, reviewing these four principles made me more aware of my work. Furthermore, these four principles are also implemented and found in art through color, line, symmetry, etc.

The course also provided an introduction to animation and its use in education. When used appropriately, animation can engage learners in a way that text alone can't. Multimedia is the use of text and pictures to learn. Because we learn by processing information visually and verbally, multimedia can enhance learning when used according to researched practices.

Cummings, C. (2009). Basic Design Principles. Excerpted from EDLD 5366 Digital Graphics, Animation, and Desktop Publishing.

Mayer, R. E. (2009). Multimedia Learning, 2nd Edition. New York: NY. Cambridge University Press.

Clark Colvin, R. & Mayer R. E. (2003). e-Learning and the Science of Instruction. Pfeiffer. San Francisco: CA.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

EDLD 5366 Digital Graphics - Animation (The Conductor)

My inspiration for the short animation came from my husband, a classical musician. The last time he played with a local symphony, the conductor lost his hold of the stick which went flying through the air. Fortunately, the musicians ducked...and nobody got hurt.

The animation was produced with Stykz, an open source animation software. The software can be downloaded at

EDLD 5366 Digital Graphics - Animation (The Conductor)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

EDLD 5366 Digital Graphics - Principals of Graphic Design in Early Manuscripts

On pages 17-18 of The Lisbon Hebrew Bible, the stories of Joel and Amos, two minor prophets of the Old Testament, are written. The ornamentation used by the scribe is intricately and elaborately designed.

Glancing quickly through the manuscript, I am struck by the detail and brightly colored ornamentation that contrasts with the simplicity and somewhat geometrically-shaped Hebrew alphabet. The text is inscribed using a reed and sepia-colored ink. Both the ornamentation, the colors, and the style of text is repeated throughout the manuscript.

Specifically in these two pages, the author contrasts the two borders on each page by painting one border with bold colored flowers and figures of animals and the second border with geometric figures. Although the borders contrast graphically, they complement each other in color.

The Hebrew text is aligned justified and is placed inside the ornate borders in a place of prominence. A lace-like border encircles the borders and text. This same border is repeated throughout the manuscript.

Each section is accented by a text box that is placed in close proximity to the text that it is introducing. The text box is accented with gold filigree, the same that used in other pages. Similar to the layout of our contemporary books and newspapers, this intricately-styled text box defines the beginning of the section in the same way that headlines introduce an article.

The text of the Lisbon Hebrew Bible was inscribed by Samuel ben Samuel Ibn Musa and a team of scribes drew the decorations. The bible was completed in 1482, fourteen years before the expulsion of the Jews from Spain.

Just as visual artists and musicians study the distinct periods in art and music history to advance their work, graphic artists study the layout of ancient manuscripts to see how their authors used contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity to make a great work of art.

The Lisbon Hebrew Bible. Downloaded from, November 21, 2010.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

EDLD Multimedia and Video Technology - Week 5 - PSA Video

EDLD 5363 Multimedia and Video Technology - Week 5 - Analysis of the Video Production Process

Each member of the team had high expectations for the end product and took his/her responsibility seriously. Our video, “Be Careful What You Post Online,” was carefully guided from conception to post-production using the original storyboard and a carefully laid out plan for the video shoot. It was this detailed planning that assisted the team in filming strong, compositional footage.

Working as a team is challenging but working with a virtual team is even more. A team approach (if it’s a good team!) can infuse the project with fresh ideas and creative solutions. Our team had a good mix of people---and it helped that most knew each other personally!

From the onset, there was great coordination among us. Each member took on assignments they felt comfortable with. Sandy K. suggested the concept of the video and wrote the initial script. Further revisions were added to the script by Kim G. and myself. Brian P. offered his technical expertise during the video shoot and in the editing process. Suggestions on camera angles were done by me and revised on the set. For the graphics, Sandy K. suggested using Polaroid photo frames. I took her idea and produced the graphics. Kim G. directed the video shoot and offered her editing skills during post-production. Each team member matched his/her skills and experience to specific parts of the project. But, it was Sandy's tight coordination of the project that allowed ample time for post-production, which is a very time consuming process.

I work with creatives and let me confess that it is extremely difficult to let go of ideas. Working alone on a project sometimes can be easier in the sense that we have complete control of the outcome. Throughout this entire project, I had to let go and trust that the team members were going to pull through professionally--and they did!

Copyright as a whole was not an issue for us since the graphics were royalty-free stock photography and music was not used in the final product.

It was a great strategy taken Dr. Abernathy to make the project a team collaboration. I think that the video production would have been too much for one person to do alone within the allowed time. Working as a team allows for different points of views and fresh ideas. It also allows us to break the project down into manageable pieces. I think that the end product turned out to be much better than if I were to have done it alone.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

EDLD 5363 Multimedia and Video Technology: Week 2 - Free Video Editing Software

There are numerous video editing programs available online for free download. Many of these offer a thirty-day free trial subscription while others are considered open source. CNET, a website that reviews technology-related products and services, offers a list of programs that are absolutely free. Among the two most popular downloads are Windows Live Movie Maker and VideoPad Video Editor Software.

I decided to give VideoPad Video Editor a try. As a precautionary measure, I downloaded it from the CNET website. Having worked on Windows Movie Maker before, I wanted to try VideoPad to compare both. Both programs, for being free, offer the novice plenty of options to assist in editing non-commercial videos. For commercial or more professional projects, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and Apple Final Cut Pro have the market. Interestingly, VideoPad offers its video software free only to non-commercial users. All others must pay to download. On the other hand, Windows Live Movie Maker is free for Windows users.

As I opened VideoPad for the first time, I was surprised at its professional Adobe Premiere-like interface. Unlike Movie Maker, its online Help tutorial is not as user friendly. One of the greatest advantages that VideoPro has is its ability to export in numerous formats--wme, mpg, mp4, mov, flv, swf--to name a few. This is the total opposite of Movie Maker which offers very few output formats. Yet another benefit of VideoPad is that it offers complementary audio and photo/image editors¬ also free at download.

Another useful aspect of both programs is the ability to record a narration and import music. This can be accomplished by using two audio tracks. An internal microphone allows the user to record the narration. The music must be uploaded in a separate track. In order to synchronize the narration and music, I suggest that both tracks be uploaded to Audacity and saved as one track.

Both programs offer fine transitions and special effects to choose from. Opening and closing blank slides or frames can be used to announce the title of the video and the final credits.

All in all, VideoPad Video Editor Software and Windows Live Movie Maker offer enough options for the novice. For higher end video editing, Adobe Premier or Final Pro Cut are the preferred.

The Internet provides a plethora of open source products to assist educators streamline their instruction. No longer do school districts need to spend huge sums of money supplying the classroom with expensive programs that demand yearly upgrades. Now, educators can download free programs to teach their students with. Because our students are tech savvy, they will usually find many of these programs exciting and easy to use. It would behoove the technology director of each district to learn what is available free before purchasing expensive programs.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

EDLD 5363 Multimedia and Video Technology-Wk 1: Web Conference

Unfortunately, I was logged off from this week's web conference because I started tampering with updates to the AdobeConnect. The last words I heard Dr. Abernathy say (before I was logged off) was that she was not going to let anymore students log on. Once I was cut off, I went back to log in and the session was already closed. I was really frustrated.

Something that really annoys me is when students post personal exchanges that are not directly related to the course or the information that is being shared. Students should stay focused on what the instructor is sharing and not get distracted by superfluous posts.

EDLD 5363 Multimedia and Video Technology- Wk 1: Photo Story

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Action Research Reflections-Week 4

Having read my peers action research plans this week helped me better understand the process. Many of the plans I read were thought out extremely well. This leads me to believe that their creators really understand the process. I, on the other hand, am having struggles drawing out goals and methods of evaluating them.

One of my peers did comment on my action plan. She suggested that I be less general in my wording. I will be revisiting my plan and making revisions to it.

I think that action research is best learned when modeled. I find it a bit challenging to learn a process by myself. Furthermore, I think there will be challenges when I talk to my superiors about implementing the action research project at work simply because of the time and the people it will involve to make it happen.

Unfortunately, my site supervisor is not in an administrative position and because the technology team is extremely small and busy, this causes yet another challenge.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Action Research Action Plan-Week 3

Action Research - Week 3

My Study: In what ways can administrators best support educators in their development of online courses? What impediments or challenges do educators face in the development of online courses?

Context: Due to the prevailing budgetary challenges facing many school districts, district leaders are looking for creative ways for their teachers to advance professionally. One way is for teachers to take online classes. Online training allows the district to save in travel expenses and in hiring substitute teachers. Furthermore, online training is available 24/7. This offers teachers the flexibility of accessing the training anytime and anywhere.

Because the region center addresses the needs of our local districts, leadership is requesting our educators to develop the training they do in an online format.

Target Population: Region center educational specialists, full and part time staff

Sample Selection: Approximately 65-100 educators with diverse backgrounds and grade levels

Sample Size Rationale: The sample is made up of all of the educators on staff, full and part time. This group of educators is responsible for developing and delivering all of training to our participating districts. At this time, leadership is not considering hiring consultants to develop the training.

How I Will Conduct My Research: A committee and technology staff will work closely to design a questionnaire or survey that will help extract challenges, impediments, as well as ideas the educators have regarding the development of online training. Once the online questionnaire is designed, the technology staff will email it to all of the educators. For additional feedback, a focus group made up of educators and administrators will meet to share ideas on how to develop the online trainings. The data from the questionnaire, including the feedback from the focus group, will be aggregated by the technology staff and distributed to the administrators and educators. For additional information, the technology staff will interview those educators that are interested in further sharing their ideas.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Action Research - Week 2

Although districts can have certain similar elements—demographics, student achievement, etc--each district is different and its challenges are unique. In order for research to be useful, it has to be practical and specific to the needs of the district. It also has to be a continuous, cyclical process—analysis of information, formulating action strategies, implementing strategies, reflection, making changes.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blogging as a Tool

Blogging is a relatively new communication medium. Administrators can blog to provide important information to students and parents in real time. Blogging can be used to receive feedback from parents and the community at large. It creates a community within a larger community. By blogging, administrators are modeling the use of new technology tools. Blogging also gives the impression of transparency and availability.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Action Research

In her book Leading with Passion and Knowledge, Nancy Fichtman Dana defines administrative inquiry or action research as a "systematic intentional study of one's own professional practice. Inquiring professionals seek out change by reflecting on their practice (p. 9)." The process of administrative inquiry is one that takes a person to reflect and question in an attempt to gain insight to a particular situation or problem. This is done by collecting data, analyzing it, finding viable solutions to create change and finally sharing with others what was learned. Dana believes that "administrator inquiry becomes a powerful vehicle for learning and reform (p. 9)." She suggests that administrative inquiry be done with others to avoid being a 'lone inquirer'.

The inquiry method may be new in education but not necessarily to the corporate world. Leadership expert John C. Maxwell writes in his book
The 360-Degree Leader "...great thinking comes when good thoughts are shared in a collaborative environment where people contribute to them, shape them, and take them to the next level (p. 200). He continues, "People come together as teams, peers work together, and they make progress because they want the best idea to win (p. 199)."

Similarly, Stephen Covey writes in
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, "You involve people in the problem, immerse them in it, so that they soak it in and feel it is their problem and they tend to become an important part of the solution. As a result, new goals, shared goals, are created and the whole enterprise moves upward, often in ways that no one could have anticipated (p. 280).

I think that Maxwell and Covey allude to inquiry even though they don't mention it directly. Today I was remembering one of my best bosses. He used the process of inquiry to draw out the best ideas from staff. Many meetings were spent questioning, analyzing, interviewing, dialoguing, etc. At these meetings, fresh ideas and new ways of looking at things were birthed. We were a close team creating change at that small art museum.


Covey, S. R. (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. NY:NY. Free Press.

Dana, Nancy F. (2009). Leading with Passion and Knowledge: The Principal as Action Researcher. Thousand Oaks: CA. Corwin.

Maxwell, J. C.,
(2005). The 360-Degree Leader: Developing your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization. (2005). Nashville:TN. Thomas Nelson, Inc.