What I’ve learned this week #4

I’ve had a good week. Found new ideas, absolutely loved the #ukedchat and the finishing touches to the S3/4 course are taking shape nicely. Things to remember and share from this week include:

1. Newspaper blackout poetry is not only a great random find – it is something I am having fun doing on newspapers left by others on trains! Austin Kleon is credited with starting, or at least popularising, this form of creativity and his website is well worth closer examination.

2. Mood boards – an idea picked up from Michael Mullin presentation last week – may be the missing piece of the puzzle in helping pupils analyse and design good multimedia applications. In previous years and iterations of our courses we placed little importance on research into fonts and colours (because they are not in the arrangements) but I feel that including a little extra detail will increase the enjoyment of the course as well as improve understanding of consistent user interface design. A related Web 2.0 resource Imagespark (http://www.imgspark.com) was another nice find this week. This application allows the creation of online mood boards using photographs which can be uploaded from your own computer. It could be very useful for collaborative mood board creation or for multi-location work. That said, the notepad application which comes with SmartTools is just as useful and files from this can be exported as PDF for posterity – something which Imagespark currently lacks.

3. I’ve turned the following experiences into positives by making them another two entries in my “management don’ts” list (I’m not a manager, this is my personal opinion):

  • DON’T call meetings to tell staff that you don’t know what is happening at the next meeting.

I hope I don’t need to tell you that – apart from highlighting your manager’s lack of confidence in their managers – these are completely unnecessary and a waste of your team’s creative talents! An e-mail or informal aside will suffice. If the time has to be filled productively, allow the team time to work on their delegated development tasks and reschedule for another time if there are agenda items team members want to discuss formally.

  • DON’T start meetings with the phrase “I don’t want anyone to worry about…” and then go on to explain what everyone has to worry about.

It will come as no surprise that this action will definitely cause people in your team to worry. If you don’t want them to worry, distract them with good news. If you want them to be informed about issues that may directly affect their job, tell it straight and be supportive – perhaps reminding your team of or introducing them to opportunities to reduce their workload.

4. Thanks to Roger Neilson (http://twitter.com/didactylos) for pointing out http://www.wix.com. Similar to Weebly, this site offers a great way of creating flash enabled web content. My only gripe is that it hides all HTML from the user so tweaking in code is impossible but as pupils can view the page source within a web browser I think it can be used as a template creator at the very least. I plan to use it with my S2 class to build their school tour website once they have decided on the colour scheme and tried out some prototypes.


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