Google Plus

One of the parts of the curriculum that the students in my DVC classes have difficulties with, is the notes and analysis that they have to do to go with their project and design work.

One of the things that I am trying this year, is to create Google Plus Communities for the Year 10, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 students. These are intended to be for support, where the students can put in their ideas in to share, or just read what others have put there. 
I have explained to them that what is posted into these communities will not be assessed but used for them to practice their analysis with others, get ideas for what to say about designs and to ask questions themselves when they need to.

Here are links to the communities :-
They are open for anyone to view.



Year 10            Level 1            Level 2            Level 3






Progress Diary

Term 1 ~ Week 5

posted Mar 6, 2014, 8:27 PM by Karen Ferguson

Level 1

We have used the community to analyse layout experiments all together.
I have written a reflection blog post about this here... LINK
This went much better than I expected it to so I will be using this to support the project work that they are on with at the moment.
The class are developing their thumbnail concepts by using Adobe Illustrator, with the real pictures of the architects work, the real title and fonts and placeholder text to get the feel of where the written information will go on the design. They need to do at least 3 of these, from different concept thumbnails. The designs need to be saved out of Illustrator as image files so they can be uploaded to their sites and the notes written about them. The students did this note writing on their own last year ( with support from me ), but this year we will put them into the Google Plus community for the whole group to comment on. The students can then use this feedback to inform their own note writing.


Level 2

We have used the community to compare each others'  collages of the main Art Deco key points. The students used Pic Monkey to create these collages. Blog post reflection here.
The students have also uploaded their answers to the comparison exercise that we did where they had to recognise Art Deco work from the 2 images on a slide.
Some comments coming through from a couple of the girls were that they were not too happy that the girls in the other group could see their answers. My level 2 group is split into 2, with some coming when I have the level 1 group and some coming when I have the level 3 group. 
I was hoping that the community would support them all, as they were not all together. I have had to explain to them a couple of times that the things that we do in the community is support for the whole group, and is not assessed or judged. It is there for them to reference later when they need to do their own project analysis.
It was an interesting reaction from them.

Level 3

I had a little bit of progress here this week.
I had uploaded some photographs illustrating a couple of the points we have to cover during this first "Starting Points" project. Their task in the lesson was to answer the question set with the "simplify" and "exaggerate" photographs. I got them to do this in the class as this group is not too hot at accessing their work out of lesson time, except for Sam. It is interesting that Sam is the only one in the Level 3 group that has done Level 1 and 2 DVC.

Year 10

I have been scanning the students drawings this week as they complete them and have been uploading them to a Google plus album for them to access their own drawings. They need to get their own work over the weekend and embed it onto their own sites.
I did this whole process on the board in front of them as they were working, to try and embed the "normal" use of Google Plus within the lesson and so out of the lesson as they have to get their own work out of the album.
Their task over the weekend is to get their work, put it into PicMonkey to crop the excess white page away and embed them onto their DVC sites.

New Community

I have created a new community this week. Design Talk ~ Link here.
The purpose of this is to expose the students to a wide range architecture. There is such a HUGE range of things that come within the scope of "design", that I always feel dismayed that they think that this is all you can do.
I have sent invitations to all my classes for this new community, and have regularly reposted the general invite into Google Plus. It is a totally open community, so no one has to ask permission and everyone is welcome. I have been trying to upload different interesting design work every day and look forward to the first student being brave enough to post something they find interesting for us all to look at. 

Small "Woo Hoo" Moment

posted Mar 1, 2014, 11:32 PM by Karen Ferguson

Sunday 2nd March

I have gone through the slide shows that the students have put on the Level 2 community on Friday evening, making short comments so the girls knew that I had acknowledged their posts. On one of them, I mentioned that one of their answers, recognising the Art Deco design, was incorrect.
While at SylviaPark today, just before 4.00 pm, my phone pinged, and when I looked, one of my lovely girls had taken down her post, changed it to be correct, and reposted it. 
On a Sunday tea time. 
It's the little things that make you smile.

Art Deco Key Points.

posted Feb 22, 2014, 12:57 PM by Karen Ferguson

With the Level 2 group, it was a bit of a FAIL when I asked them to load up a photo showing an Art Deco design element, as they found ones very similar to the example that I posted.

So...plan B

I have put this post into the Level 2 community to try and get them to think of more of the design elements within Art Deco and to find a range of pictures of designs to illustrate each one.
I want them to use PicMonkey as they are all familiar with this so they can concentrate on the content and not the how to.
I am hoping that when they see each others posts, using different images for the same elements, then they will get a much better idea of what constitutes Art Deco before we move into comparing it to another design era and saying what the differences are.


Use PicMonkey to create a 9 square collage.
In each square put a DIFFERENT Art Deco picture / design to illustrate the word shown in the boxes here.


Term 1 - Week 3

posted Feb 20, 2014, 5:49 PM by Karen Ferguson   [ updated Feb 20, 2014, 9:00 PM ]

Level 1
I have posted up a photograph for them to analyse. They did not know that it was in the community until I prompted them to look there. It had been there a couple of days before I did this to see if they noticed themselves. They are obviously not going into the community without me nagging them to yet. When they were writing the comment on the picture that was posted, they were not comfortable doing so until we had had a group discussion about what they could possibly put there. Much more practice needed here to get them to be comfortable to just put in what they think.

I posted an image similar to ones we had been producing ourselves in class today, and they have to comment on it before they come back on Monday. We have chatted about it a little at the end of the lesson today to support them a little with their thoughts.


Level 2
The Level 2 group are spread across two different classes so it is not so easy to talk to them all about what is in the community.
I set them the task today of posting a picture of an Art Deco design and talk about what Art Deco design element was shown in the design. I put up an example, which was apparently a mistake as some of the group have just found something that is very similar to mine, which was not the point.
Rethink needed on that one.

Level 3
The Level 3 community has been a bit of a fluid thing over the last 2 weeks as students come onto the class and move into the correct NCEA level.
I sent out more invites first thing this morning in a bid to try and get this up to date. We are nearly there with that one. 
I have loaded up a question about one of the things we have to start looking at with their drawings. I hope to go through them all in this way then they understand it more when we do the changes to their drawn work.
Link to Level 3 community here (not quite full of all its members yet)

Year 10
Surprisingly, this has worked the best so far and we haven't done too much here yet.
I asked one question in the classroom which they all answered.
I have loaded up a question ready for next week when I see them next, which one student has answered already.
Another student has publicly posted a link to a good maths site.
Some of the Year 10 group are showing to be more comfortable just going onto Google Plus and getting on with what ever is there.

The First Week

posted Feb 6, 2014, 5:27 PM by Karen Ferguson   [ updated Feb 6, 2014, 5:31 PM ]

4th February 2014 ~ Setting Up 


We spent today's lessons setting ourselves up on Google Plus, joining the community and making a post.
The first thing I had to do was put all of the students into a separate sub domain on the admin dashboard so that access to Google Plus could be done. The general school access is off so that under 13's can not get accidental access.
With that done, I then invited them to the community I had set up for each group. I found this easier to do by putting them into circles via Gmail ( using the "compose email box" to get their email address then choosing "add to circles" from there ). I could then invite them as a whole circle to the group.
"Do I have to add you Miss?" was a popular question today.


5th February 2014 ~ Having a Go


They are all finally loaded onto Google Plus, in circles and in the level communities.
They have an introductory activity loaded into each of the communities and I have shown them how to upload a picture and write a comment with it.
I know that they have all searched for an appropriate image to answer the task, as I saw them do it in the lesson as I was helping new arrivals to the class.
It is a confidence thing now.
No one wants to be the first one to post.

7th February 2014 ~ First Postings and Photo Albums


Over the last couple of lessons the students seem to have got over their shyness and posted a photo to answer the task and written a reason to go with it. I showed them how to up load the picture, referencing back to their knowledge and skills on Facebook so the could apply them here.

What we also did today was start the picture research section of the projects. I want them to find the photographs and load them into a Google Plus album so that this album can be embedded onto their Google sites. I showed them the basics today ~ uploading, making albums, adding new photos to an album. They can now get on with that by them selves at any point but they just need to make sure that they remember to put new pictures into the album that they have already created. ( A few stumbles on that one today. I forget the same thing myself when I am uploading. )
The good thing here is that I can keep an eye on these albums on the Teacher Dashboard so I can scan the whole class really quickly.

1-5 of 5