Tag Archives: interactivity

Ignorance is bliss … Learning to be explicit

My Dad used to say that what I didn’t know wouldn’t do me any harm. He was not impressed when a brother wrote in my autograph book when I was in my early teens that what I didn’t know wouldn’t do me much good either!

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

I’m torn between the two. I have come to realise that the more I know, the more there is to learn.

the more I know the more there is to learn

This learning journey never ceases. Each step is just one further into the unknown. I seem to know less now, or need to know more now, than I ever have before. How can that be?

There are those around me who are content with who they are, with where they are, with what they are doing, and wake up to each day wanting no more than it brings. I strive to achieve that contentment, and practice the joy of being in the present moment, believing strongly in its rewards. But at the same time I strive to do more, to learn more, to achieve more. The doing and learning is joy in the present moment, for me. It is both exhilarating and disheartening to realise that the learning journey stretches so far ahead.

Learning about learning

I have spent almost my entire life thinking and learning about learning and education, particularly literacy education and the education of young children. Though the journey has been long, my knowledge is narrow and small, and of absolutely no use in a trivia quiz, unless the question happens to be about a nursery rhyme, and then don’t ask me too much about its “real” or original meaning.

When I set upon my journey to create a website of teaching resources that I had made, I thought it was an easy thing. I had many resources already made. I just needed to get some illustrations done and put them on a website. What could be simpler than that?

Simple?

Every step I take drives me deeper into complexity, into the unknown. Unravelling the complexity demands that I be explicit, that I see and describe each minute step.

Being explicit

I always considered the ability to be explicit, to see and understand each step, essential to effective teaching in an early childhood classroom. If one was unable to see the exact spot where a child was going wrong, where a misunderstanding had been formed, or a misconception learned, or the potential for its occurrence, it was difficult to either prevent or repair it. I considered that ability to be one of my strengths as a teacher.

Over the past few years when I have been giving art briefs to illustrators, my need to be explicit was stretched anew. I had to describe in precise detail exactly what I wanted. It was no use saying I wanted a castle on a hill and expect that the artist would be able to fill in all the details I could see in my mind. I had to explicitly describe it in detail:  did it need a moat or a drawbridge, was the drawbridge to be up or down, were there turrets or flags, and if there were flags, what colour and design they would have, how many windows, how many people, and what were they doing and how were they dressed …

© Norah Colvin Artwork by Kari Rocher Jones

© Norah Colvin Artwork by Kari Rocher Jones

Then it was time to start thinking more specifically about what I required of the website … More complexity to unravel!

Oh for a journey across the seas rather than deeper into complexity!

It is said that it is darkest before the dawn. How much darker will it get?

A recent comment by Sarah Brentyn of Lemon Shark alerted me to the fact that although I have mentioned my website in previous posts, I had not made it clear that the purpose of the website is to make my resources available through subscription i.e. to sell my resources. While some will be available without subscription, many will be available only by paid subscription. I have received a quote for establishing the website, which I am considering. I have previously referred to it being my jetski. I think I was fairly explicit about my requirements in discussions with the designer.

However, I want some of my resources to be interactive, not downloadable, used only on the website by paid subscribers. It appears that creating the types of interactivity I have in mind will be more problematic, but they are what I consider will be my point of difference. I have had to learn to explain, very explicitly, the types of interactions I require. I even made videos demonstrating the interactions in the hope of achieving greater clarity.

However, it was while being explicit about these steps that I realised I had omitted something from my website brief that will be necessary for the interactions to be used effectively, if they can be made at all.

© Norah Colvin

© Norah Colvin

And so I go in my merry dance – up the ladders and down the snakes, hoping to fall into a pool of clarity rather than a puddle of complexity.

Thank you for allowing me to express my muddle through writing in an attempt to make sense of it all.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback and suggestions. Please share your thoughts.

 

Five Photos Five Stories — Day four

Back to Day one (books) and introduction to the challenge

Back to Day two (writing)

Back to Day three (Break out)

My retirement jetski

My retirement jetski

My retirement jetski

Geoff Le Pard threw me a challenge to post five photos and five stories over five days. He is probably just as surprised as I am that I took him up on it, especially as this week is particularly busy and significant.

Tomorrow I finally break up with a relationship that has been on-again-off-again for over forty years. Tomorrow is my last day working for Education Queensland. While I then become “officially” retired, some of you may know that I am not very fond of that “R” word and prefer to think of my life as taking a redirection.

In a couple of weeks’ time I commence another part-time job at the University of Queensland with the exact number of hours for me to remain “officially” retired, but nominally “working part-time”. The remainder of the week I will continue to write and work towards fulfilling my goal of establishing an online store of educational resources. This is where the jetski comes in.

There are many expenses involved with preparing content for the website including getting work illustrated, having the website designed and, hopefully, if I can figure out a way, having interactivity added to some resources. Deciding how much cost is acceptable is difficult when there is no guarantee of ever getting any return, and often the time I spend tapping away on my computer keyboard when I could be doing other things comes into question.

The fact is I love tapping away on my computer keyboard writing works of my choosing, and the expenses involved are necessary in order to make my “creations” available to others through a website. If I were to choose a jetski, a sports car or an around the world cruise as a retirement gift for myself, as many do, and spend hours each day riding the waves or the roads, no one would question my choice of activity or the cost of the initial purchase or ongoing maintenance. They would be pleased that I was having fun, enjoying my later years. Well, for the moment at least, writing is my pleasure and I (try to) justify the expense by calling it my “jetski”.

As my work targets an early childhood market, illustrations are an essential accompaniment to my work. When I first registered my business and domain name, my (graphic designer) niece designed my logo and beautiful banner, which you see at the top of my blog, and produced illustrations for some stories. Recently I have had other illustrations done by artists from 99designs so I am starting to make headway in that direction.

Kari Jones (ArtbyJonz), who did the S.M.A.G. badge has produced illustrations for two stories. Here is a sneak peek at one illustration from each:

ArtbyJonz ©Norah Colvin 2015

ArtbyJonz ©Norah Colvin 2015

ArtbyJonz ©Norah Colvin 2015

ArtbyJonz ©Norah Colvin 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and sneak peeks of illustrations for stories by Sketcherlady, Goetia and Tyohermawan, to whom I awarded the first contest.

sketcherlady ©Norah Colvin 2015

sketcherlady ©Norah Colvin 2015

Goetia ©Norah Colvin 2015

Goetia ©Norah Colvin 2015

tyohermawan ©Norah Colvin 2015

tyohermawan ©Norah Colvin 2015

I have been very happy working with each of these designers. They have all been very helpful and accommodating and worked hard to produce illustrations to match my requests. I am happy to recommend any of them if you are looking at getting some work illustrated.

The next step is to speak with a web designer. I must say I’m a bit fearful of the cost, but hey, it’s my jetski.

What seems to be more problematic at the moment is adding interactivity to some resources. PowerPoint has some facility but not enough. I looked at another program recently which promised any interactivity I could imagine. But unfortunately the program designers had not imagined what I had! I discussed some of my requirements with a friend who is learning to code and he thought it would even be difficult to code what I want. Since these open-ended interactions are to be a point of difference for me, if I can’t have them, I may need to trade-in my jetski on something completely different. Maybe a novel? (That must be pretty easy, eh Geoff?) I’m not sure I’m ready for that. If you have any suggestions about adding interactivity to resources I’d love to receive them please.

I nominate my lovely fellow local Queensland bloggers to take up this Five Photos Five Stories challenge should they so wish:

Irene Waters who writes memoir and blogs at Reflections and Nightmares and already shares many beautiful photos and stories;

Desley Jane, a girl with a camera who blogs at Musings of a Frequent Flying Scientist; and

Marigold Dicer who blogs at Versus Blurb but who has popped off the scene temporarily while she completes what used to be called “prac” teaching when I went to college.

Please be aware that your participation is completely voluntary. I know each of you already post frequent photo stories. However if you choose to participate, I hope you enjoy the challenge as much as I have. 🙂

The “rules” of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.