My summer professional development challenge for myself was to expand my understanding of design, including graphic, physical, instructional, etc. It was my Independent Inquiry for the last several weeks and I'm happy to share my findings.
The first thing that happened to me was the Making Learning Connected MOOC. The values I learned during that collaboration of Equity, Social Connection, and Full Participation, create an excellent frame for designing learning activities and opportunities for my students. By ensuring that these values are represented in my classroom at all times, I'm confident that engagement will be enhanced.
Please view my Laziness Map and other posts for the collaboration. The spirit of the Making Learning Connected MOOC will continue to thrive in the Educator Innovator Network and I look forward to following and participating in that endeavor.
Another exploration I made was of the remarkable depth of design resources available on tumblr and Pinterest. In addition to being entertaining, these social networks are teeming with artists, designers, brilliant teachers, and other interesting people who are happy to share their excellent work and resources. I still consider myself a beginner 'pinner', but I have enjoyed discovering and following new boards, although I must admit that I've been mostly attracted to the food... Much of design sense, as with any aesthetic appreciation, comes from viewing and experiencing many examples and constructing one's own understanding and social networks provide a rich selection.
There was also this timely post, which I have yet to fully explore.
My wife, Yuka, was an invaluable teacher this summer. We had many discussions about color, layout, font selection, and many other topics related to the visual appeal and usability of my instructional tools. As I continue to prepare presentations and materials, it's exciting to apply the her tutorials about using Adobe Creative Suite.
Finally, she discovered and shared with me the Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit, which I immediately downloaded and began reading. Many of the principles remind me of my own notion of metateaching, but from an informed and more highly developed perspective. It's exactly what I can use to realign many of my own ideas with developed theories and concepts of design.