Design & Communication

Ch 4 & Ch 5 of Meaningful Learning with Technology

Learning through Design

"We are all designers in one way or another and most certainly are consumers of others' designs" (73).

Designing Process (73)

  1. Identify a need or opportunity
  2. Generate design ideas
  3. Plan and make a prototype or product
  4. Evaluate and reflect on the design

"Teachers themselves need a deep understanding of relevant principles of science and engineering as well as the "device knowledge of how the systems that students are designing work" (76).

Examples of Design Software for Students

Trebuchet: virtual design that can simulate experiences (78)

Scratch: users can create object-based programs that manipulate digitized video and audio (80)

iStopMotion: users (as young as elementary students) can create animated movies and time-lapse recordings (80)

GarageBand: Music composition software (83)

Impromptu: students can create music compositions (83)

Question: how would social studies incorporate design? Are there any models that apply to a socials studies point of view?
First Lego League (FLL) 2015 World Class Run (826 points)

FIRST Robotics and Lego Design Competition

The YouTube video above is an example of two students that participated in a design competition. A true example of "design to motivate students to build understandings of concepts in memorable contexts" (73).
"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn" - Alvin Toffler, 125

21st Century Media

In today's world, kids are surrounded by media and have become accustomed to multitasking. "In 2004, kids spent an average of 6.5 hours per day with media, and 8.5 hours a day of overlapping media use" (92).

Asynchronous Communication

Asynchronous is a type of online communication not in real time. (94)

Using Discussion Boards

"Asynchronous discussion boards are an excellent means for supporting second-language learning" (95).

Learning how to construct an argument (95)

  1. Relevance: is there an adequate relationship between the contents o the premises and conclusion?
  2. Sufficiency: does the premise provide enough evidence for the conclusion?
  3. Acceptability: Are the premises true, probable, or reliable?

With using discussion boards, as a teacher you may have to explicitly teach students how to explain and construct an argument.

With learning how to construct an argument, I believe that social studies is important and can help foster that skill. Especially when looking at point of view and depicting a bias.

Using Discussions Boards: Things to Consider

  • Include a grading criteria for writing mechanics
  • Be aware of shallow conversation (I agree or me too...)

As a teacher you can model how to use discussion boards.

You also might want to have another discussion thread that students can write any questions they have for the class or any other miscellaneous information.

-Pg 101

With using discussion board, I wonder how students like using them and if they are benefitting from it. Maybe if they are used to using a discussion bored they will use it better and to its full advantage.

Synchronous Communication

Synchronous communication tools provide instant, real-time exchange of ideas. (104)

Presentation Technologies


PowerPoint is the main tool used by teachers and students to present information.

"death by PowerPoint": "endless bullet-pointed slides that fail to convey connections or depth of thought" (106)

Effective PowerPoint Features

  • "AutoContent" wizard: sets of "canned" slides for a specific type of presentation
  • Outlining: a view that shows only the text and its hierarchical organization
  • Linking: Links to other applications
  • Notes: Students can take notes on their slides to help them remember information

Non-Effective PowerPoint Features

  • Font-itus: using too many fonts and colors
  • Overzealous slide transitions
  • Incongruous slide templates: the template not matching the information presented
  • Too many slides

Other Presentation Softwares


Interactive videoconferencing (IVC) or Web conferencing: offers great potential for connecting students in live interactions with experts to whom they would otherwise have no access. (116)

IVC: Things to Consider

  • Teachers may need training with technology
  • Students may need coaching on how to be respectful and taught the norms of IVC.
  • Plan follow-up activities with students


Are there any IVC specifically for social studies? Missouri had a civics programs for their state, but are there more programs that could be made available?


Podcast: audio recording that is saved as an MP3 and made available on the Internet.

Have students create a podcast.

Examples: Radio WillowWeb, Our City, Ram Radio

Podcast Process

  1. preproduction
  2. recording
  3. postproduction
  4. publishing