Monday, March 30, 2009

Exam Prep

Our exam will be Wednesday April 1.  Here is what you will need to know:

At the beginning of class tomorrow you will be given a product to sell (shoes, a Senator, pizzas, etc..).  You will also be given an audience (teenagers, auto executives, students, etc...).  You will have the class period to create a website selling this product and to create a blog post "hyping" this product launch.  You will have to work fast.

I would study:
1. Defining and creating a website in Dreamweaver.
2. Basic Flash and Fireworks techniques that will improve the modern look of your website.
3. How to link and write effectively to your audience in a website and a blog post.
4. Check out the website rubric.
5. Prepare some templates.

Sample exam: Sell Box4Blox to young mothers who need to organize their house.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

How to write

Today we will again practice reading, synthesizing, and writing.  What is your message, and who is your audience?  Don't forget many of your readers do not live in the United States and might be five years old or fifty.

Choose one, some or all to write about:
What do you think? Tell me in your blog.  Include quotes, links, other info and your thoughts.  

Friday, March 27, 2009


I think this has been a good week.  I have enjoyed watching you create your Fireworks products.  As we transition from the more technical part of web design ("What does this button do?") to the creative side ("What emotion do I want to create?") many of you are struggling.  This struggle is essential.  Quality design does not come without sacrifice, thought, and perseverence.

In addition I really need you to focus much less on you and much more on audience.  Otherwise your work will not accomplish its goal of selling movie tickets, pizzas, or ideas.

Please answer the following questions on your blog:
1. What did you learn this week? Include link to assignment.  What score/grade do you expect?
2. Which product (poster, letterhead, etc...) are you most proud of?  Why?
3. Which product in the UDrive are you most impressed with? Why? 

If you complete this please hunt for red dots for your clustrmap and complete the fourth blogging challenge.  Check out some other blogs.  You could also write about the NYTimes article I posted yesterday.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Kids do stupid things and there could be serious consequences.  Check out the blog today from Gadgetwise.  

Remember, everything, and I mean everything, you do on an electronic device can haunt you forever.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fireworks Challenge

Here is the Fireworks challenge.  You get one point for every successful challenge.  Goal is five points but you can score up to seven (extra credit).   If you submit five successful entries your grade is 5/5.  Yes, you will have to move fast.  Computers available after/before school and during study halls.

Notice that I did not give specific assignment of tools for each challenge.  You have many choices. I am curious to see how your design process works.  Think about audience!

Keep all challenge assignments in a folder (bschneiderchallenge) to submit to the UDrive on Friday.

Some images you need are in the UDrive-WebSchneider-Fireworks Challenge folder.

1. Create a logo for "Acme Iron Works".  Here is a good idea tool for logos.
2. Create a letterhead for "Acme Iron Works" of Seymour, CT using a word processor (Google Docs or MS Word for example).
3. Put Barack Obama in the stands at a New York Yankee game.
4. Put Claudia in a green tube. (image in UDrive)
5. Create a cool business card for Mr. Schneider.
6. Create a poster for the new Star Trek movie.  
7. Change the girl's prom dress to blue.(image in Udrive)

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I enjoyed reading your blog posts about the TED talks.  I had fun pushing some of you who are stuck in a pragmatic definition of life.  Is life about "metabolic processes" or is it about having a soul?  Keep watching, and keep reading.

Good job to Gabriela and Alex for enrolling in the blogging challenge (notice their red dots?).  Keep up the good work!  Now that you have readers what will you write about?
Today all classes will work on Fireworks tutorials.  Whether this is new or review I would like all to do the same work to start.  You should move straight down the "image effects" category.  Then move to the other categories.  This is sandbox time today and tomorrow.  Create a fireworks folder to save all of your work.
Web 4 has completed their project and should answer the following questions in their blog:
1. What did you learn?
2. What would you have done differently?
3. Did you create a successful movie?  Why or why not?
4. Is this your best work?  Why or why not?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

TED Talks

Well, yesterday was brutal.  I slept almost all day.  I'm conscious today so I am here, but don't expect too much.  By the time you read this I am either feeling fine or I am realizing it was a big mistake to come in.

It was nice to be home yesterday and read your blog entries.  A few reminders:
  • Write in 3D.  Include links.
  • Leave comments.
  • Build on what other people say by linking to their articles.

One thing you want to do in life is get around smart people. I was lucky to go to a school that had really, really smart people around. Listening to them makes life interesting.

Many of you have seen some of the TED talks before. TED is a place where smart people get together and kind of do a show and tell.

I would like you to watch at least two videos today from start to finish. Everyone must watch the Theo Jansen video. I give you some prompts to start a discussion on your blog. Some of these videos are about 10-20 minutes long. They say teenagers can't pay attention to anything. Prove them wrong.

Hans Rosling: How data is cool. Think of your little Excel charts. Will you be ready to use data like this. This guy is fun to listen to.
Jeff Han: How displays will change. This would profoundly change how we use computers.  This is from two years ago.  How fast technology evolves (Hello iPod!).
John Maeda: A smart, funny guy talks about simplicity. Think about how simplicity is the driving force in design (hint: iPods).
Rives: This guy can talk.  Power of the spoken word.  I laughed out loud (also notice his use of powerpoint).  Check this poem about the internet by Rives.  Fascinating (and why you should work on your poetry).
Theo Jansen: Freaky. Mind-blowing. But pay attention. What is life? Can you make something that lives out of PVC pipe? He does. Cyborg alert!
Blaise Aguero y Arcos: Demonstrates Photosynth. Wow. The Notre Dame cathedral thing is amazing. Can you think of ways you could use this software?
Anand Agarawala: The BumpTop desktop. Certainly a different set-up! Would this help you search your photographs?
William Kamkwamba: Inspiring.  Many of you are 14.  What is on your resume?  Think about all that you have to work with here.

What did you learn? Share what you learned. Start a conversation. Can you add something to a discussion?

Be sure to have links to the talk on your blog.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Tuesday blogging

We will continue the blogging challenge today.  Can you make your blog a "must-read"?

  1. (this was posted yesterday--now unblocked). Watch a NYTimes video.  Respond on your blog.  How do they match sound and visual images?  Can you relate this to your greeting card project?  Are you listening to or watching the movie?  Try closing your eyes--can you still follow the movie (aha---the big secret!!)?? Try searching for somethng that interests you.
  2. Try new ways to improve your blog from the blogging challenge.  Can you get a red dot on your clustrmap from three different continents?  Ten different states?  How will you make those connections?
  3. Check out this website of Lewis Elementary.  Can you find other school sites that are highly usable?  What makes this site so interactive, useful, and efficient?  
  4. Cool site of the day.  Notice how you use the site, you don't read it.  Can you use these design techniques in your work (especially Web 4!!).


I am generally happy with the work Web 2 and Web 3 did on their greeting card project.  I would like to highlight a few things:

  • Story must be front and center.  Most of you have chosen CGallo as the best for this reason.  Its the whole point of a card; to tell a story in very few (or no) words.
  • Color counts.  Check out CWyskiel Easter page-- she nailed it.  
  • The most elemental mistake was using sound improperly.  Don't have the music loop!  Stop the film and have an ending.
  • If you want credit get your blog post in.
I have a list of things for you to do today:
  1. Leave a positive comment for your favorite greeting card on that person's blog.  Use proper format (First name-last initial, email is blank, the URL of your blog).  Improper format comments will be deleted.
  2. Read about the blogging challenge.  I think this is a great opportunity to improve your digital footprint.  I encourage you to tackle the entire challenge.  But at least tackle one of the suggested improvements.  This assignment goes to the heart of web design--can you be an effective communicator.  Your blog is a reflection of you; if it looks sloppy (typos, colors, etc..) that will be the readers impression of you.  Does your site look like this?
  3. Watch a NYTimes video.  Respond on your blog.  How do they match sound and visual images?  Can you relate this to your greeting card project?  Are you listening to or watching the movie?  Try closing your eyes--can you still follow the movie (aha---the big secret!!)?? Try searching for somethng that interests you.
  4. Watch this video.  Notice the Flash aspects. Then watch this one.  Then watch this one.  Do you need to step up your game??  

Friday, March 13, 2009

Blog Entry

When you finish your greeting card please answer the following on your blog:

  • What was your subject?
  • What techniques did you use?
  • Are you happy with it?  Why or why not?
  • Who has the best greeting card in the UDrive?  Why?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Some ideas

I'm going to post some cool tutorials (some hard, some easy) that you might decide to use for your project:

Thats probably enough.  Remember--the tools can be fun but are you telling a story?  Who is your audience?  Are you recognizing bias in your design?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Flash Assignment

This is week is crazy as well. Period seven meets three times, period four meets twice, and period five meets, of course, five times. Hard to keep track.

I will judge your work based on the amount of time you have in class. Period five's assignment should be stronger than period fours since they have more time.

Web 2 and Web 3:
You will create a Flash greeting card. This card will celebrate Easter, Baseball Opening Day, or Mother's Day. Your card should do the following:
  • Play automatically when loaded.
  • Include at least one of the following: zoom in, masking, or bouncing effect.
  • Be saved appropriately (folder--bschneidergreeting) to UDrive when done.
  • Include sound.
We will use the standard website rubric.

Web 4:
I will grade your rough drafts on Wednesday and your final drafts are due March 18.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Week of Crazy

Well, this week has been a bit of a challenge.  A snow day, a snow delay, CAPT test, an assembly, and a trip to Boston for a track meet.  Obviously I have decided not to assign new work this week as it would be almost impossible to keep track of.  I think we will ease back into our regular schedule on Monday.

Tomorrow (Friday) I will be travelling to Boston with the track team for the New England Championships.  Today we have an assembly periods 6 and 7 for most of you.

So here are the assignments:

Web 2 and Web 3:
  • Please continue with your Flash tutorial work.  
  • Make a blog post: What new techniques did you learn?  Include link to tutorial.  Was the tutorial effective?
Web 4:
  • I will grade storyboard on Monday.  If you are in class today I would like to see it.
  • How will you ensure continuity of your movie?  If you have a main character should that be drawn first and shared with all teammates?  What about backgrounds, color choices, etc..?  How will you set up the movie so your process is efficient?
  • Check what other CT schools are doing (acting locally!)