Pushing my Students to Think Like a CoETaILer

A focus on visual literacy in the classroom

Back in week two of course three I wrote about putting images into blog posts. I asked (myself) “How can we manipulate imagery to foster effective communication?” My thinking in week two was directly translated into teaching as I worked with my students and their blogs. I realised that they needed more time and more direct teaching so that they could improve their blog posts. I actually had the students do their own C.R.A.P analysis, they are ninth graders, they loved it. And here are some before and afters:

Blog posts from students in my 9th grade maths class. Used with permission.

Blog posts from students in my 9th grade maths class. Used with permission.

 

Used with permission

Used with permission

So we are making some progress with the images. Actually, the second blog post by Jonathan also underwent a design facelift after the CRAP analysis lesson. He decided to change his font and background colour – looks like he is keen to keep things simple for now. Lots of images and videos are being added into the posts and the majority of students are at least trying to cite appropriately. There is still the occasional post (like the one above) where the image does seem to be an afterthought. Sometimes blogger can be a right pain in the butt when you are trying to insert an image and wrap the text around it, perhaps he just gave up. But perhaps some more time could be spent really looking at post/blog layout. John Medina has some interesting ideas about vision (https://www.brainrules.net/vision) that I would like to share with my students. They seem to be realising that I’m looking for visuals in their posts and they are embedding away, but they aren’t looking for images for their other posts (for their other subjects) so I obviously haven’t convinced them that this is a powerful thing to do. All I’ve convinced them is that it’s necessary to score well in the rubric.

Our job is never complete 🙂

3 comments to “Pushing my Students to Think Like a CoETaILer”
3 comments to “Pushing my Students to Think Like a CoETaILer”
  1. It sounds like you have at least got them thinking and that is half the battle! Maybe they haven’t added images on their blog posts for other classes because they haven’t been given time? As you mentioned that giving them time and direct instruction makes a big difference. If we just talk about it and don’t give the time, it is like saying it isn’t that important. I am trying to get better at making time for fine tuning and, thinking like a COETAILER.
    (I couldn’t get your link to work for the brainrules.net)

    • Thanks for reading Mary! You are probably right about the time factor. We are trying to transition to digital portfolios for our 9th grade students (to carry on what is already being done in middle school) but there isn’t complete buy in yet from the teachers. We want our students to reflect independently and without teacher instruction but I really think that we are asking too much of them right now. 9th grade is busy enough! But it’s busy for teachers too, so when you are told to start incorporate blogging into your class without being given time to buy in to the importance of it, it gets tricky. Hopefully over the course of the year we will start to see more quality blogging happening on a more regular basis.

      I fixed that dead link too! Cheers.

  2. How about asking them to start with the image first when they start a blogpost…and then see how the image leads them to write in a certain way? I’ve done that on occasion. That way, they won’t forget about embedding an image.

    For videos, I almost always start with thinking about what music I will use for the background. The music ends up shaping the story I tell.

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