Exploring the Continuum of Project Complexity
Sometimes a simple solution is the best solution, but as technology advances and you become more confident explore more complex solutions.
Focus Your Efforts
Ask yourself: What do you want your students to be able to do or talk about? What's simple and easy, realistic, efficient, effective, and appealing? Why are you using technology?
Explore the eagle project and ask yourself whether it was worth the time. If so, how? What skills would you need to build this type of project?
Complexity Issues
Consider you and your students, standards, time, knowledge and skills, and interests. You may be ready to use a word processor, graphics package or build your own web pages.
Be ready to enter unknown territory… one step at a time
Transforming Projects
Expanding Projects
Exploring Complexity
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Project Tools
There are many project tools you can use. The key is building your skills over time rather than jumping into a project that might be overwhelming.
  • Multimedia Presentation
  • Web Publishing
  • Print Publishing
  • Audio/Video
  • Visual Mapping/Graphics
  • Data & Calculation
Multimedia Presentation
Multimedia projects can involve tools such as HyperStudio, Kidpix, and PowerPoint. You can add text, audio, video, and graphics as you build skills. Start by using existing multimedia presentations. Ask students to interpret, tell about, explain, and critique the work of others. You can find many student projects on the web such as the Pioneer HyperStudio project and the Kentucky Powerpoint project. The next step is to expand a project by adding slides, expanding ideas, or editing slides. For example, you students might go to the Earth Science Picture of a Day site and add a picture every day. Over several months you'll build an interesting presentation. Or, use the Discovery Channel picture of the day. For more ideas, do a Google search for "picture of the day." Next, build a project from a template. Give students that text areas, background, graphics, and navigation. You can find templates in most software such as AppleWorks and PowerPoint. Or, have students build the project from scratch, but provide starters such as prompts, questions, or graphics. Imagination Express is a software package that provides some good starting points. The next step is to add multimedia elements such as audio, video, or animation. Check out a simple animated slide show. Finally, create interactive multimedia projects that include branched, webbed options, and open-end projects. Check out the following jeopardy templates that you can use to build an interactive jeopardy game in Powerpoint.
Web Publishing
Web publishing involves creating a project that can be posted and shared on the Internet. Explore lots of examples of student projects at Thinkquest like the Sea Otter project. Start by interpreting including telling about a website, explaining, and critiquing. For example, visit a student project such as the Mythology project. For your first web creation project use some simple automated tools that only require you to open the tool, enter the data, and edit the page. For example, create class web posters like the one on Sandra Day O'Conner. Next, try using templates that include a text area, graphics, and links ready to use. Then, try a project where you add links within a page, between your own pages, and to other sites. Check out the Thinkquest project on medicine. Add multimedia elements such as audio, video, and animation. Check out a student project on claymation. Finally, add interactive elements such as collaboration, a guidebook, a quiz, or a survey. Many Thinkquest projects contain forums that you can join.
Print Publishing
Print publishing involves creating a project that can be printed on paper. Again, start by exploring and interpreting existing projects. Next, use templates with text areas, master pages, and graphics. Try providing starters, prompts, questions, and sample graphics. Check out the prompts page for ideas. Once you feel confident using the software add special features such as tables, charts, columns, and outlines. Create multiple page documents that involve pagination, master pages, and alignment. Try making class books or step-by-step instructions. Finally, try a folded project such as brochures that require you to use landscape layout, tight margins and folding.
Audio & Video
Audio and video projects involve using audio and video recorders. You might use a video camera and record on tape or directly to the computer. Start by watching and listening to existing resources and ask student to tell about, explain and critique. Next use resources in your project such as playing a video clip, converting a file to another format, or adding a clip from the web to a Powerpoint project. Check out the videos on NOAA on topics such as tornadoes. Try composing your own video or audio including recording, saving, and playing. Next, try linear editing. Select a video clip, set the start and stop time, and save it. Then, try some nonlinear editing that includes audio and video editing and a few transitions. Finally, build in some special effects such as text and graphic titles and credits.
Imaging Tools
Imaging projects involve using all kinds of visuals including drawings, scanned pictures, digital camera photographs, and clip art. Start by interpreting visuals. Ask students to tell about, explain, or critique a picture. Next ask students to select and use a visual. They need to choose, insert, and align the visual in a presentation, web page, or print material. Next, explore composing including taking a photo, downloading the photo, and arranging it on a page or screen. Check out a Thinkquest project. Now, have students explore the tools for modifying visuals such as brightness, contrast, and cropping. Start transforming visuals including making them abstract, changing, or combining pictures. Get visuals at Yahoo Gallery. Finally, express yourself through creating new pictures using a variety of tools to create unique visuals that tell a story.
Data & Calculation
Data and calculation projects involve using a variety of technology tools to help students collect and organize data as well as calculate. Try web-based tools, databases such as AppleWorks, Filemaker, and Access. Consider spreadsheets such as AppleWorks, Excel, and Crunchers. Again start with interpreting, using, and expanding existing materials. For example, try an online database such as Biography. Expand an existing project including adding and editing data. Try a sample project. Next, use a template to create a project. Set up the fields, layouts, and visuals and ask students to enter data or modify the template. Use Claris Downloads as an example. Create your own project adding multimedia elements and interactive elements such as outside user contributes and expansions. Collection information online. You project might evolve overtime. Check out the polls and survey page for data collection ideas. Or the online survey example.
Learn from each experience. Try a project then add to it:
  • Add critical thinking
  • Add creative elements
  • Add a new menu option
  • Add graphics
  • Add sound or video
 Don't expect a polished project the first time you use technology. Instead build your skills over time. The Cannelton history project was done after several years of technology integration projects.
Use the CPDUQuest to learn more about developing successful student projects.

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Created by Annette Lamb, 02/01. This last section is also the last section of the Pigeon Power workshop.