Friday, June 25, 2010

Visual Information

I just watched a video of Karl Gude of Michigan State presenting at TEDX Lansing in May 2010. What an excellent presentation on visual design.

Basically, Gude points out that we are on information overload. It’s like a fire hose pouring out into a teacup.
Data comes at us from every direction and we are trying to absorb everything. So how can we make our information relevant and readily available to our audience?

Instead of presenting in print-rich format, you can get more information out more quickly by using graphics and visuals. A reader can skim a graphic and get an overview much more quickly than one can read a pamphlet. Get the information out by SHOWING it to your audience. Then, your reader can scan the information.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “I can’t draw.” Well, me either. There are tons of free programs out there that can create charts and graphs for you. Or stick figures drawn on a napkin work well too. Or use photos. Either way, it’s making me think I need to reevaluate how I present information to teachers, students and clients.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Increase in kids' time spent using entertainment media

A recent research report by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that the time young people (8-18 years old) spend using entertainment media has risen dramatically. These kids average seven hours 38 minutes per day. Read the full report here:

I am glad to see that although digital usage is on the rise, time spent reading books has remained pretty steady. However, I don’t think twelve minutes per day is enough, I wonder if the study took into consideration the amount of reading young people do in digital formats.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Home Libraries Critial to Child's Education

"The difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate compared to having parents who have a university education.  The library or university factor can propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average, according to a 20-year study led by Mariah Evans of the University of Nevada.  The study appears in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility."

All the more reason to surround yourself and your family with book, magazines and journals.  What an easy way to improve your child's success in school.  Providing a print-rich environment and modeling various reading behaviors for your children can have a huge impact.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Countdown to the end!

Happy June 1!  We have three more weeks of school which is causing me to reflect on my work this year.  I have been in many classrooms ranging from seventh grade science to social studies to English language arts to French 4 at the high school level.  Much of my work has been centered around Readers'/Writers' Workshop - set-up, management, conferring.  But another big topic this year has been word study/vocabulary development.  I've especially enjoyed working with our world language teachers as they have many insights into vocabulary development.

Here's some of the word  work with ninth grade English language arts.  They used words from Romeo and Juliet and put them on a continuum from negative to positive.