Info Me – Course 3 Final Project

For the final project, I decided to do option 3 “Create an “About Me” page on the COETAIL blog, including an infographic or visual resume.  I chose this option because I feel creating a resume is a highly relevant task for all professionals and especially so for educators working in the international school system where there is constant change and fluidity. Whilst not recruiting for the next school year, it will be something I will do in the near future. Not only that, to create a resume is to really take oneself through a highly reflective process as it is impossible to create any resume without considering some essential questions and filtering what is important and what is not important. I knew it would force me to consider questions such as:

  • Who am I as an educator?
  • Which of my experience, qualifications and skills are most important?
  • What information is no longer relevant?

My last resume was written and used for recruiting in 2010. Here is a link to that resume.   It is a traditional resume in most senses.  Now, there is new content to be added; moreover, things have changed in the international teaching world and the world in general with respect to information literacy which I want to infuse into the new resume.  The elements of the old resume that I liked include the quotes, the use of colour and that it is organised.  Other than this, the resume is pretty conventional and standard in terms of content and layout.

After almost 15 years of work experience the teaching experience (work history) section is starting to get lengthy. As is the core competencies and professional development sections.  I have been privileged to work at school that offer many onsite professional development as well as had opportunities to attend PD through various conferences, institutes and specialized programs; however, I felt that I need to find a way to consolidate all of this information and represent it visually.

My main goal with creating an infographic style resume would be to synthesize this information and present it in a more visually appealing way. However, I fear that some information (specific details which I think are important) would be lost in the process. That is why I’d also accompany the infographic with a full traditional resume. I’m proud of both my work history and the time I’ve invested in professional development over the years and am conscious that this could be lost.

I decided to take a similar approach to what @jutecht.  recommends from week 3 on creating visual presentations which is to start in analog. So to do this I considered elements of my resume that I valued and put each one on an index card in some visual form. I played around with the placement of the index card keeping in mind the principles of layout (CARP).  See below my design process:

[youtube]https://youtu.be/5vHFK4kRvY0[/youtube]

One big change that I wanted to include in my new resume was some interactive components to step away from a flat document style resume.  I thought this would also be a solution to not being able to include all information in a one-pager infographic. Therefore, I want to include one component that is a link to a video showing a typical teaching scenario in my classroom and places were more information could be found through links and pop-ups.

So after considering all these components I was fairly happy with my vision. However, I quickly realized that I didn’t have the tech skills to make it happen. That’s a real blow when you realize your abilities do not meet your vision. Although I could see how I could create some of the components using various tools, I did not know how to stitch the pieces together in a beautiful and professional-looking way. One of the benefits of Piktochart and other such software is the ready made designs and themes. But on the other hand, it doesn’t give as much control to the user and I knew that it would not give me the flexibility I needed.  So I found the most basic theme that looked easiest to modify to put in my elements.  It doesn’t at all match what I want my Infographic Resume to look and function like, but it is a start and a good practice applying various skills.

To represent all the professional development section of my resume, I decided to do a word art visual representation. Here are a couple of different versions. While I’m happy with the visual elements, I do not think it truly represents the extensive professional development that I’ve been a part of over the years.  Therefore I would somehow link this back to the traditional resume.

WordCloudWordCloud2

To represent my teaching experience, I wanted to include a map which when you roll over the places I’ve taught a box pops up with the school name, years taught, roles held. I could not make this and had to settle for a simple map created using MapChart.  I made a simple graph using Excel.  In addition, I selected a video I created last year showcasing Math Workshop.

I also tried some of the other resume generating web-based tools including:

visualize.me

re.vu

These do give a clean look and they take much of the design principle decisions out of the users hands to produce a clean and organized product.  However, the final product is a little bit predictable.  Any potential recruiter will recognise that this is a plug in your information type tool.  It does not show what the user can do in terms of applying design principles or creating own content.

In addition to the infographic Resume, I also wanted to rework my About Me page.  So far, I haven’t spent much time on it.  I have only really just added information as a placeholder until I had more time.  On the About Me page, I want to include the Infographic Resume, the traditional resume and a more detailed narrative about myself as an educator.
To end, I’m not at all happy with the final product.  It is not professional or polished.  It certainly does not match the infographic that I haven’t painted in my mind.  However, in my opinion… Process trumps Product.  So in terms of a learning experience this project definitely fulfilled my goals.  I’ll continue to develop my skills so as to be able to turn this into something useable come recruiting time.  I may have to ask for some help from an expert but I definitely know what a want.

Including Infographics

As a kid, I grew up on a steady diet of posters.  Posters were the go-to product at the end of units of work or when presenting data.  Right up to and including university we were making posters (that’s showing my age).  I loved making posters – choosing colors, what to go where, layout, styles, fonts etc.  I didn’t realise at the time, I was being exposed to and learning essential design principles.  To this day, I love to use visuals to organize my thinking by sketching, creating flowcharts etc.  While posters are out of fashion these days, as there are many way cooler ways to display information, there are still many of the same metacognitive skills to apply. Out with posters, in with Infographics.  Infographics are being used for many purposes including:

They have many educational uses as students can consume infographics (read, intepret, and discuss) or create their own.

Currently in class, we are just starting a new unit (Sharing the Planet) which focuses on biomes of the world and their threats.  We are using mangroves as a case study as it is a big local issue where I am currently located (Mumbai, India).  To learn about global threats through mangroves we use sources such as:

But I’d like to include an additional source of information as a result of the focus of this week’s course.  In this unit the purpose of including an infographic would be to learn more about our subject area and to focus on the key skills of <how to read and interpret> an infographic.  I found an infographic that supports our learning objectives at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health website.

https://inweh.unu.edu/mangroves/
Infographic From United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health

At the same time, we would be inquiring into ‘How this text compares to our other sources of information’ through these key concepts:

  • What makes an infographic an infographic?  Form
  • How does it work?  Function
  • Why is it like this?  Causation

What I’m really trying to do is set up a foundation for future units when students could have an opportunity to create an infographic.  A lot of groundwork is already laid.  They would already know what infographics are like and when is it best to use it as opposed to other forms of text.

When thinking about infographics I immediately thought of Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano who has written a lot of blog posts about the use of infographics as well as creating infographics herself for a variety of purposes for example this infographic on copyright.  She has some fantastic resources to help teachers use infographics in the classroom.  

A spanner:

When I was ready to push publish on this blog post, I came across one last article that I could have done without reading at this point in time.  But once read, I can’t hit the undo button in my brain.  Essentially, it is discussing the difference between an infographic and digital posters.  It’s possible that there are many digial posters disguised as infographics if you were to get technical on some of the features or even the purpose of an infographic.  So, I am going to have to rethink some of my work.  

  • Am I using an infographic or a digital poster?
  • Are students creating an infographic or digital poster?
  • Does it matter?  

I’m interested in your thoughts.  For now, I’ve got a plan and I’ll implement and reflect and modify for next time.  Teaching is like that.  You make decisions based on what you know at that point in time, and it is likely that you’ll acquire more information and experience and change.  If I think back 15 years ago when I started teaching, there are many things I cringe at (think tri-fold brochure – really popular back then).  

Well… “The times they are a-changin’ ” – says Bob Dylan… constantly…