4C's & Learning Environment
4C's: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking
By using the technology within my classroom, I am seeing critical thinking skills being honed, communication between peers, creativity being maximized, and collaboration taking place throughout the classroom.
Jenga Team Building
Throughout the year, I have used creativity and team building exercises to encourage student growth in critical thinking and creativity while working on their collaboration skills. I would like to build on this in the future by creating similar activities and relating them to graphic design.
The students that participated in these activities grew socially and built their intrapersonal skills. This is especially important in the graphic communications field where understanding how to work with other people is an integral part of the job.
I think that using this type of activity has been a beneficial addition to the everyday curriculum, especially to help students work on "soft skills." I think I can improve by using these types of lessons more often throughout the year. Also, I would like to relate the activities directly to specific lessons that I am teaching so that it would help give the activities more relavance for the students.
My class works at length with the 10th grade English Zines class. The Bazaar is a replica of a job fair in which VIT students use their online portfolio to get hired by a magazine to be their graphic designer.
My students get an opportunity to collaborate with students from another class that they do not know. They work as freelance designers creating logos, layouts, interesting text, etc. The single most important skill that is developed during this lesson is communication. Just as it is in the graphics industry, communicating with clients is very important for a designer. We talk about professional communication via email, phone, and face to face interactions. It was interesting to see the students work through this important social skill.
I discovered that many students don't understand how to proffesionally communicate with clients, whether they are peers or adults. I think that I will need to create a lesson on professional communication and have students practice this very important skill.
Throughout the year, I have tried to incorporate special, larger, hands-on projects. These projects require students to think critically about what they need to accomplish and expand on the basic knowledge they already have.
It is very interesting to see students work outside of their comfort zones. I have seen many students thrive in these situations. Often times students that are not the best in traditional academic situations can shine in these problem solving situations.
These are often some of my favorite projects because they are open-ended (even I don't always know where the project may go). It is the most fun when students choose to be creative and ask me questions like, "Can we try this?" or "Is it possible to do this?" My favorite response is that anything is possible if you put in the time and effort to make it happen.
We have had the opportunity to go on multple industry related field trips. We went to Cedar Point to tour their design, photography, and printing facilities, Art Prize in Grand Rapids to work on Design Thinking with Christpher Bruce, and the Toledo Museum of Art to see the Sneaker exhibit amongst other things.
These opportunities outside of the classroom give students the chance to experience art, design, creativity, and so much more. They can then relate some of these experiences to their work in the classroom as well as give them a better idea of what the real world industry.
There is real value in the trips we have gone on. For example, when at the Art Prize, we worked with an edcational specialist, Christopher Bruce. He worked with the students on a creative thinking process called Design Thinking. It was very interesting, and I am working on figuring out how I can work this into my own lessons.
Final Project Critiques and Exams
At the end of a large project, we take a class period to present our work to our peers and discuss and write about the work. We critically analyze the work and share that with the artist. This helps both the artist and the critiquer to improve their design skills. We have also been working towards earning our Adobe Certified Associate certificates which is an industry standard.
It is always interesting to see how much the students improve as designers after just a few rounds of critiquing. I also give students a short period of time to consider the critique and make changes to their design before a final hand-in. You can also see how students have grown in their technical skills with the Adobe software.
I am always looking for new and creative ways to do critiques. Verbal is quick and easiest but sometimes difficult for some students. Written critique is usually the most beneficial for the critiquer and usually the most time consuming. Group critiques are often fun and can provide great feedback, but it is the hardest for me to keep track of student participation. I have gained insight on which areas the students need improvement on for the future.