Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Microsoft Paint and my first app

So as part of the clmooc, I've decided to build my first app (I'm using Infinite Monkeys) and I chose Microsoft Paint as my subject. Why? Because in the ICT curriculum in Canada and the US, Grade 1 is where you start using Paint. Those of us in the Educational Technology field are often playing with the latest and greatest new tools. We have a tendency to forget that not everyone is as comfortable with just the basics. And that's where you start with any learning isn't it? At the beginning? So if we're not teaching our teachers the basics of how to create on a computer, how are they going to do the same for their students?

So back to Paint. Paint is a simple program but you can do some very sophisticated drawing and editing with if you spend some time getting to know the program. There are not too many lesson plans for Paint out there only 3 million+. In the land of the internet that's not a huge number and it was already starting to give me Grade 3 lesson plans within the first 10 hits but I'm hoping to compile a list of the better ones for the app.  While there are lots of videos on how to use Paint for adults, I have yet to find a video designed for Grade 1 students on how to use Paint, which really surprised me. (So I will be making one soon I expect.) But should it surprise me? I think we're still dealing with the myth of the digital native and some resistance at the Primary levels to technology integration. And how many schools in Canada have a dedicated technology teacher? (If anyone knows, I really am interested in the answer.)

So for Grade 1, what can you do with Paint that you can integrate into the curriculum? Drawing and painting of course! Understanding colour for another. Shapes as well for math (very, very good for that!) Story writing, remixing images, fine motor control, the list goes on. While it is easy to find examples of student work in Grade 1 created with actual paint online (and the lesson plans that guided the creation), finding examples of student work created digitally in Paint is not so easy. I would love to see us create art using Paint and then transferring the idea to a paint/drawing project for instance. Perhaps have the students create a primary colour wheel/drawing in Paint and then do a similar project using paint or crayons in class? The possibilities for integration are there (the link is to a Blackboard session where a teacher is explaining how she integrated technology into her classroom for the first time.) We just have to become comfortable with the tools and use our imagination.

As to Infinite Monkey as an app tool? I'm working my way through it. As the video mentions you do need to have all of your links ready to go ahead of creating the app (and that is always a lot of work!) And it's not as intuitive as they make it out to be ( and isn't that always the case? Someone builds something and says, "It's easy!" and you're scratching your head, thinking, "Oh, I must be stupid?!") I made my first mistake on the first page when I wrote the title for the app (which automatically saves it as the url) and then realized I needed a different title (but the url remains the same even after you've changed the title.) So my advice, if you use this program, is to really think about what you want to name the resource and what it's purpose is, rather than do what I did, which is jump in with both feet (violating all of the rules of backward design! Designer, heal thyself!) I had also created a playlist for my app of YouTube videos but finding your RSS feed for You Tube is not as easy as you would think. (Hopefully my Twitter PLN will get back to me shortly.) However, I successfully attached my blog feed to the app and as many of you know, that's a big deal for me. So, as usual, one needs to play with a tool first, make mistakes and keep trying, before you can master it. Learning in action!

I'll post the link to the app when I am finished.

1 comment:

  1. I love your advice about not jumping in half-cocked, but sometimes I actually give the opposite advice--jump in half-cocked, just like an online game. Fail is baked in so don't worry. However...your advice here is good. I actually made a mistake as I have started my app. I wanted to call it FroshComp because I teach first year comp but I called "FreshComp" Hmmm, a happy accident.