representation – expression – engagement is my ePortfolio created as my capstone project for the Master of Educational Technology (MET) program at the University of British Columbia. Now that my time in the MET program has come to an end, I hope to have more time for blogging here about teaching, learning, and educational technology!
Before starting this project, I didn’t know a lot about typography. What I did know was that typography catches my eye and that I have a deep appreciation for the print and patterns that I encounter on a day-to-day basis… in books, magazines, websites and blogs.
For my project, I used interactive non-fiction to gather a repository of resources pertaining to typography. This project combines text, visuals and short audio-visual video clips in order to present a small sampling of resources available on the topic.
I chose to use the WordPress.com platform to create and design my project. After exploring a few other free options, I decided using WordPress was the best fit as I am familiar with the platform and I can continue to add resources to my project even after completion of the course. The site itself is easy to navigate and simple for clear comprehension and readability.
After completing an earlier assignment in this course on the Shifting Economies of Book Production and learning more about Johannes Gutenberg’s (1398 – 1468) printing press, I was inspired to learn more about movable type and typography. Robert Logan (2004) writes that, “With the printing press we finally encounter a technology whose impact on the use of the alphabet is so great that it must be ranked in importance with the alphabet itself. For not only did the printing press greatly multiply access to alphabetic texts, it also, through the regularity it introduced, transformed the way in which the alphabetic text was placed on the page and was perceived by its readers” (p. 177).
Fast-forward a couple of hundred years to the 20th century. Bolter (2001) states, “Digital technology in the form of desktop publishing and computer-controlled photocomposition refashioned the practice of printing” (p. 49). Bolter (2001) explains, “The computer opens the printing process to small groups and even individuals. Amateurs can create their own camera-ready copy and make selective use of or ignore altogether the stylistic practices of professional typographers” (p. 49).
As educators, we are constantly creating resources for our students and knowledge of typography is essential when producing our own documents. Schriver (1997) explains, “Rightly or wrongly, every writer is now potentially a document designer – quite a responsibility, because good design has been shown to play a positive role in influencing the way readers think and feel about products and services” (as cited in Hoist-Larkin, 2006, p. 417).
Different students will have differing requirements when it comes to reading the text laid out as part of educator made resources. For example, emerging readers won’t be able to recognize complicated letterforms. Educators must always carefully consider the target audience for the resource. It is not about whether or not the educator can discern and read the type personally, but whether the students the piece is aimed at can. Wilkins, Cleave, Grayson & Wilson (2009) studied the size and design of typeface in textual material for children: “In children’s reading material there is additional complexity. The shape of characters may differ from those in adult text, particularly as regards single-storey ‘a’ and ‘g’’ (p. 402) and it was found that the various typographic parameters of font-size, inter-character spacing, word spacing, line spacing, justification and line length interact in affecting reading performance.
My hope for this repository of information and resources about typography is that it can introduce other educators to this art, so that we, as educators, can reflect more critically on the design of our materials and resources for students.
Thank you for reading and interacting with my project!
Bolter, J. D. (2001). Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print. Second Edition. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Holst-Larkin, J. (2006). Personality and type (but “not” a psychological theory!). Business Communication Quarterly, 69(4), 417-421. Retrieved from ERIC database. (EJ798322)
Hughes, L., & Wilkins, A. (2000). Typography in children’s reading schemes may be suboptimal: Evidence from measures of reading rate. Journal of Research in Reading, 23(3), 314-24. Retrieved from ERIC database. (EJ624606)
Schriver, K. A. (1997). Dynamics in document design: Creating texts for readers. New York: John Wiley.
Seddon, T., & Waterhouse, J. (2009). Graphic design for non-designers. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
Wilkins, A., Cleave, R., Grayson, N., & Wilson, L. (2009). Typography for children may be inappropriately designed. Journal of Research in Reading, 32(4), 402-412. Retrieved from ERIC database. (EJ860204)
Books were created to document information and communicate thoughts and ideas. The books we are familiar with today are much different than the beginnings of written documentation. As with any technology, the book has gone through many evolutions and variations and will continue to do so in the future with the advent of digital technologies. As Bolter (2001) states, “We might call each such shift a ‘remediation,’ in the sense that a newer medium takes the place of an older one, borrowing and reorganizing the characteristics of writing in the older medium and reforming its cultural space” (p. 23).
Elsewhere in the world, around 1300 B.C., written documentation was also occurring, namely in China, where books were made of wood or bamboo strips bound together with cords. The Chinese were also involved in printmaking; however, the invention of the printing press is attributed to Johannes Gutenberg of Germany. Gutenberg used movable type that was designed to look like hand lettering to produce a Latin Bible around 1456. Gutenberg’s printing press was actually a combination of three existing technologies: paper, the winepress and oil-based ink. Therefore, his invention was not singular, but conceived of technologies that were known before Gutenberg was born. As Gutenberg refined his invention, other inventions were brought forward by Gutenberg, including the adaptation of the olive or wine oil in the screw-type press, the implementation of block-print technology and the development of certain paper techniques that could be used for mass production. In addition, Gutenberg developed a punch and mould system that allowed for the mass production of the movable type by bringing together letters in a type tray that was used to reproduce pages of text. Robert Logan (2004) writes that, “With the printing press we finally encounter a technology whose impact on the use of the alphabet is so great that it must be ranked in importance with the alphabet itself. For not only did the printing press greatly multiply access to alphabetic texts, it also, through the regularity it introduced, transformed the way in which the alphabetic text was placed on the page and was perceived by its readers” (p. 177).
Gutenberg’s printing press had an impact on society that has created a large facet of the world we know today. Although in the beginning, there was very little printing of new ideas taking place, the printing press enabled access to such texts as the Bible, which was the precursor to the preservation and dissemination of knowledge in a standardized form. This was a crucial turning point in the advancement of scholarship and critical thinking. Just as the Internet of today provides unlimited access to knowledge, the printing press truly started the “Information Revolution”. Although more and more people were literate in the fourteenth century and children of wealthy families were being taught to read, major collections of books were rare outside of the church. That being said, print put more books into circulation and as result, the regularity of spelling and conventions of punctuation enabled rapid silent reading. Harold Innis (in Logan, 2004) states, “the discovery of printing in the middle of the fifteenth century implied the beginning of a return to a type of civilization dominated by the eye rather than the ear” (p. 186).
As a literate society, it is extremely difficult to imagine what Ong (1982) describes as a primary oral culture, “a culture with no knowledge whatsoever of writing or even the possibility of writing” (p. 31), as we have become so accustomed to having access to the knowledge contained in books. Just as written communication has been remediated, so too has literacy, specifically reading and writing. Before the invention of the printing press and the mass distribution of books, the education to read and write was limited to a select few, usually the upper class. At this time, literacy was a special skill and was not necessary to be a productive member of society. As with any new technology there are natural consequences. In the case of the printing press, the ability to teach the masses how to read was made possible, and as a result, literacy (being able to read and write) became a necessary skill to be a more successful member of society. This holds true today.
Book production, as a technology, has advanced progress towards mass literacy. Overtime, the cost of books has decreased with the production of paperback books as opposed to hard cover books, which has enabled more people to access knowledge contained in books. However, as Eisenstein (1979) states, “efforts to summarize changes wrought by printing in any one statement or neat formula are likely to lead us astray” (p. 70). Furthermore, “the fact that printed picture books were newly designed by educational reformers for the purpose of instructing children and that drawing was considered an increasingly useful accomplishment by pedagogues also points to the need to think beyond the simple formula: image to word” (Eisenstein, 1979, p. 70). The point that Eisenstein (1979) is making here is that we must be cautious about “assuming that the spoken word was gradually silenced as printed words multiplied or that the faculty of hearing was increasingly neglected in favor of that of sight” (p. 70).
I would argue that as educators, in our culture, in our times, we highly value books and the information contained in them. That being said, we must also continue to value the knowledge that can be disseminated and shared from within. Just as the printing press was an agent for change in the 14th century, the remediation of technology has lead us to the Internet being our agent for change in the 21st century.
Bolter, J. D. (2001). Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Eisenstein, E. L. (1997). The printing press as an agent of change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [first published 1979].
Logan, Robert K. (2004). The alphabet effect: a media ecology understanding of the making of Western civilization. Hampton Press.
Ong, Walter. (1982). Orality and literacy: The technologizing of the word. London: Methuen &Co. Ltd
Kevin Kelly’s (2006) article “Scan this Book!” presents an idealistic view of what could someday be known as a Universal Library, where “unlike the libraries of the old, which were restricted to the elite, this library would be truly democratic, offering every book to every person” (p.1). The work around scanning and digitizing all books, documents, pieces of art and generally all knowledge in all languages has started. Page by page, this mass documentation is happening all over the world, with a major project to digitally scan the books of five major research libraries to make their content searchable spearheaded by Google.
Kelly (2006) presents an optimistic view of this global undertaking and demonstrates the benefits of a universal library. Many universities are increasing their collection of books through the procurement of digital copies, which are then put into the hands of their students. This makes me think of my experience in the MET program as all learning in this program is done online. I have accessed the UBC library from my computer countless times over the past two years. There is no doubt that I have had numerous databases of academic journals at my fingertips, once I’ve logged in. What will happen when I have completed this program and am not a student at UBC? In effect, I will lose access to a major resource that could help me in my professional life. Will this be the case with the universal library? Even with Google Books, only portions of the books are available at the publisher’s discretion.
The movement towards virtual libraries is not unique to universities. Kelly (2006) states, “the main advantage of the coming digital library is portability” (p.4). We are experiencing this today, in fact, I read Kelly’s (2006) article on my iPad. Our students are more connected than ever and are able to access are read almost anything on the devices they carry in their pockets. I recently participated in a symposium on digital citizenship where during a panel discussion; a middle school principal stated that the physical space that the library was taking up in his school was valuable “real-estate”. He argued that there are fewer and fewer “gatekeepers” of digital information, and where there still are, they are “barbarians”. His view was for a “learning commons” approach in his school, where information would be accessible to his students no matter where they are physically in the school. Listening to this speaker, I couldn’t help but wonder about the social implications of implementing a learning commons approach. Is there not something to be said about the physical act of going to the library to check out books?
On the other hand, the affordances of a universal library with tagging and linking will interconnect many, many books, as we have seen with the Internet and social bookmarking sites, such as delicious.com. “Once a book has been integrated into the new expanded library by means of this linking, its text will no longer be separate from the text in other books” (Kelly, 2006, p. 4). This cross-linking makes me think of the “Choose your own Adventure” books when I was a young reader. You can literally get lost in the multitude of data, although there is benefit in understanding the relationships and connections between books and other pieces of information, such as references.
We live in a culture of remix where the lines concerning intellectual property and copyright are blurred. Murphie & Potts, in their 2003 book “Culture & Technology” define Intellectual Property as “the ownership of particular items of knowledge, ideas or cultural production. This includes songs, texts, films, recordings, software, even chemical compounds or blocks of genetic material” (p. 68). Intellectual property rights are part of a larger web of copyright, reproduction, deconstruction, and freedom of expression. Furthermore, in the digital age, digital property comes into the mix in the form of remix and mashups. How would a universal library address these issues? Publishers have abandoned many books as it is uncertain who exactly owns the work.
Lawrence Lessig, the creator and founder of creative commons, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof has argued that copyright has always been at war with technology. According to Lessig, the creativity of millions of people has been displaced by our culture moving from a read-write culture to a read-only existence because of copyright. Now that we are in the 21st century, can we say that we are still only in a read-only existence due to copyright? Murphie & Potts (2003) state that this situation has engendered two types of responses: “one of near panic, as copyright holders have scrambled to protect their rights with recourse to the law; another of celebration, by those welcoming a digital public domain free of the excessive restrictions of copyright” (p. 69). Google’s approach is to “scan orphan books first and only afterward honor any legitimate requests to remove the scan” (Kelly, 2006, p. 10). Whether or not this is the correct approach, the digitization of a universal library must start somewhere.
In conclusion, Kelly’s (2006) article has left me excited about the possibilities of a digital library, but has also left me cautiously optimistic. Is an endeavour this enormous realistic? Most new works of writing will have a digital counterpart. With the rate of new books being produced, I wonder if we will ever be able to digitize knowledge of the past.
Kelly, K. (2006, May 14). Scan this book! New York Times, pp. 1 – 14. Retrieved from: http://www.journalism.wisc.edu/~gdowney/courses/j201/pdf/readings/Kelly K 2006 NYT – Google Print.pdf
Murphie, A., & Potts, J. (2003). Culture & Technology. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Here is my Teacher Professional Growth Plan for the 2010 – 2010 school year. In Alberta, every teacher employed by a school system must develop and implement an annual plan for professional growth that outlines the professional development activities the teacher intends to undertake in that year. I’ve chosen to focus on technology as I am in my last year of graduate studies in Educational Technology. Also, I have included the personalization of learning, my professional learning community (PLC) and the CBE Ends Statements. Please feel free to leave a comment!
Today was day 10 of school for my grade one students. I’ve got a great group of students this year who are as keen as can be! I’ve used Google docs and forms with teaching colleagues in the past for surveys, evaluations and questionnaires and really like how the results are summarized. We have started working on graphing in math and have graphed how many boys and girls we have in our class. Since I have a SMART Board in my classroom, I decided to create a Google form (see below) to answer the question, “How do you get to school?” My students loved making their selection at the SMART Board and we had a great discussion about the results using the handy pie chart that was generated for us. It was great to be able to show my students that information can be gathered on chart paper or by using a computer with the SMART Board. I’m sure excited for this year and more authentic learning to come!
This week I began my last year in the Master of Educational Technology program at UBC. I have 3 courses left and am starting to anticipate the doors that will be open to me upon completion of this degree, which I believe will be my last. (after 9.5 years of university!) That being said, I am truly a lifelong learner and will most likely keep looking for new opportunities to broaden my horizons! This week also marked the start of my 6th year teaching grade one, French Immersion! So far, so good, with a group of 19 keen students already soaking in the language! My goal for this year is to journal and document more of my teaching on this blog instead of just my course work. I really want to become part of the “edublogger” community and I hope that I can share ideas with other teachers!
The course that I am in this term is ETEC 540: Text Technologies: The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing. One of the exciting aspects of this course is the creation of a Community Weblog that approximately 40 students and our 2 professors will be contributing to. As an introductory activity for this week, we were asked to find an image from flickr (creative commons) that in some way speaks to the issues raised by this course. (text, technology, literacy, reading, writing, printing, media or the intersection of these things) Here is my introductory entry, “A Child’s Alphabet“:
This image is interesting to me because it incorporates type, typography and graphic design. I admire designers who can incorporate text with images to create something visually appealing. The vintage look to the design is what first attracted me, however, speaking as a grade one teacher, mastery of the alphabet and letter sounds is critical to the foundation of early literacy, reading and writing.
photo by Andy Field (Hubmedia)
Hello everyone, my name is Camille Maydonik. I am a grade one, French Immersion teacher at Westgate Elementary in Calgary, AB. I am interested in broadening my understanding of literacy in a technological context in the hopes of developing new methods for my young students to learn the French language. ETEC 540 is my 8th course in the MET program.
Looking forward to learning with you all!
I’m trying to figure out how I can incorporate more Project Based Learning into my grade one, French Immersion program. In this post, I would like to share an inspirational video that truly shows the value of Project Based Learning. I believe that Project Based Learning provides an excellent environment for student-centered learning. Below the video is more information about Project Based Learning. Please feel free to leave a comment!
What is PBL?
Project Based Learning is an instructional strategy that enables students to learn meaningful content and practice skills needed for 21st century success:
• Organized around an open-ended driving question or challenge.
• Creates a need to know essential content and skills.
• Requires inquiry to learn and/or create something new.
• Results in a publicly presented product or performance.
• Allows some degree of student voice and choice.
• Requires critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and various forms of communication.
In short, PBL is a systematic teaching method that engages students in learning knowledge and skills through an extended inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks.
What is the role of the teacher?
By beginning with the end in mind, the teacher is able to provide clear-cut expectations to the students. Through the personalization of the learning, the teacher can create a collaborative environment where s/he can engage students in dialogue and pitch new information. The teacher creates an environment where rigorous learning takes place.
What is the role of the student?
In PBL, students work in teams, generally 2-4 members. The role of the student is to ask good questions, to reflect throughout the process, to consider multiple perspectives in the work they are doing. Students are expected to ask how things are connected and to take big picture views of the work they are doing.
Purpose of the task
PBL projects are based around a single Driving Question. Teachers must be comfortable with not answering the question. The main purpose for using essential questions is to stimulate students to ponder ideas and issues that are intrinsically complex, and to understand that the search for knowledge is ongoing and does not end when a unit or course is over.
Type of task
A successful PBL project is introduced before the content. Students are asked to create a product and this, in turn, creates a need to know. PBL is a continuum. Students still read textbooks, etc… and some teaching activities (i.e. teaching algorithms) may not be best suited for PBL.
Level of Interaction
Strong relationships between students and teachers are formed through PBL. The level of interaction is very high between students and teachers. Teachers report few behaviour problems when using this teaching approach.
Use of technology
Yes! PBL projects utilize technology to a great extent. PBL projects, of course, could be implemented without the use of technology as well.
• A physical environment that will facilitate project work.
• Establish a culture that stresses student self-management and self-direction.
• The Driving Question is Paramount.
• Planning, planning, planning!
Subject areas, examples
PBL can be utilized across the curriculum. Here is an example:
Buck Institute for Education
Join this NING:
For this second media production, I chose to explore the question “How might the emergent global culture fundamentally change who we are as human beings?” Once again, this assignment has tested my media design skills and has challenged me to experiment with non-print media in cyberspace.