CEP811: Maker Experiment #3

This week I am reflecting on my experiences in my CEP811 class and the Maker culture. The emphasis on Maker culture fascinates me because I teach in a discipline that is and has always been about making. Art and specifically graphic design involves creating or making whether for personal pursuits or for clients. My students create almost every week in the class. I have struggled a little with making my Graphic Design Survey class more interactive than a traditional art history type class. This course has provided some thoughts about how to better incorporate making into this course that really doesn’t lend itself well to interactive activities. I chose the Makey Makey kit because I saw several artistic experiments on the site and felt it could be a good tool for use in my classroom. I still see the potential and plan to spend my break exploring it further beyond my past experiments. Additionally, I did try a few new things this semester including having the students create animations using GoAnimate based on researching art movements discussed in class. Some were successful and others were not. In general, the students respond better and learn better when actively creating as opposed to just sitting and listening.


Example of Maker Culture in my Classroom – This week in class my students created a design for a letter that they then carved into a linoleum block. They were then able to print the design using a letterpress.

Design is also based around on the creativity and problem solving Paul Gee believes is key to the next incarnation of education. (Gee) Students are given problems for assignments where they must work through a process to solve. We do not provide step-by-step instructions. Student must come up with their own original solutions and often these solutions involve problem solving such as answering a “How do I ….” question. My education was also oriented around this same methodology and I think it makes me better at problem solving and approaching new and unfamiliar situations. I can quickly make a plan to attack the problem and find the resources I need to solve it. It has also taught me not to view a solution not working as failure, but as a chance to grow. This skill serves me well both as a professional designer and as a teacher. I was able to my problem solving skills to work in class by finding a topic to unite my group of seemingly unrelated teaching disciplines. Art educators take great pleasure in this new focus on creativity because we have been advocating the importance of the arts and their role in developing these very skills for decades (should be STEAM instead of just STEM). The arts lead the way in developing creative problem solvers.

Grant Wiggins talks about how educators shy away from assessing creative thought. (Wiggins) I will admit it can be a challenge. It is difficult to explain to a student that an idea that them deem original may be an obvious solution to the problem or done before. This is why it is important for them to start reading about both past and present artists and designers just like CEP811 and the MAET program encourage us to further expose ourselves to past new ideas about teaching, education, and the use of technology. I try to show students examples of work similar to their solutions to provide support to my critique as well as point them towards artists and designers who push the boundaries. Creative thought can also be assessed on the outcome of it. Did it succeed? Was a problem fixed in a new or more efficient manner? How effective is the solution? There is a whole range of ways to evaluate creativity routed in objectivity. I use rubrics with my students like Wiggins advocates for in his blog. (Wiggins) They better assist students in understanding why they got a specific grade and on how they can improve than the typical “Good Job” or “Needs Work” comments I got in my undergraduate education (and they speed up grading). They provide specific, actionable feedback. Parts of the rubric focus on following directions, which is important in design, and parts are focused on the more subject part of creativity and execution. Great ideas also needs follow through. I tend to value the same thorough feedback on my own work. I want to be pushed to improve even when awarded a high grade.

While some of the material was review, the readings for the course provided confirmation of my own believes from a pedagogical standpoint and also often got me to think in new ways. Overall, the MAET courses continue to provide support for my beliefs and challenge me to push even further.

Gee, J. P. (2010, July 20). James Paul Gee on Grading with Games . YouTube. Retrieved December 9, 2013, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JU3pwCD-ey0

Wiggens, G. (2012, February 3). On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should. Granted, and… ~ thoughts on education by Grant Wiggins. Retrieved December 10, 2013, from http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/on-assessing-for-creativity-yes-you-can-and-yes-you-should/


CEP811: Choose Your Own (SoTL) Adventure

This week for class we discussed scholarly research, specifically Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) research. The goal with this research is to improve a teacher’s skills by conducting research about student learning and about teaching practices. As part of this, I needed to explore the MSU library and get in touch with a MSU librarian. As I’m not that close to campus, I used the chat function available 24/7 to students. The librarian was most helpful in narrowing in on terms to search to get the results I wanted and clarifying a few things about getting full text resources. I’m a fan of librarians. I have a friend who is a librarian and any time I need a resource I can’t find, she is the go to person to dig it up. The fact that a librarian is available 24/7 is quite helpful to night owls like me and students who wait until the last minute to start researching.

I was tasked with completing research related to my teaching and interests. I decided to research a topic that piqued my interest from the reading I complete for the CEP810 class. One of the articles mentioned how Caucasians often misperceive the intelligence of African Americans as lesser because of different culture norms with speech patterns and linguistics. I can see the validity of these claims based on my experiences as an advisor. A higher percentage of African American students score lower on reading and English placement testing than their Caucasian counterparts. After reading these articles, I can’t help but wonder if this is due to the linguistic differences prevalent in their cultures. As I am Caucasian and teach in a urban setting, I want to find out more about this and how to combat it. I welcome any opportunity to learn how to better connect with my students and to eliminate any unintentional biases on my part.

Annotated Bibliography
Eller, R. (1989). Johnny Can’t Talk, Either: The Perpetuation of the Deficit Theory in Classrooms. The Reading Teacher, 42(9), 670-674. Retrieved December 6, 2013, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20200272
This article discusses attitudes prevalent in the classroom where students are perceived as deficient based on a theory called Deficient Theory that began in the 1960s as a way to explain why disadvantaged students had trouble in school. According to the author, this theory has helped perpetuate the belief of linguistic inferiority among disadvantaged populations, particularly minorities. She highlights studies that find students successful when allowed to learn within their own linguistic vernacular. The author highlights accepting alternate responses to questions that are correct based on the students understanding even if they are not what the student is supposed to respond. The author advocates that we examine our own biases and avoid labeling children as verbally inept just because their response is different than our own.

Lamos, S. (2008). Language, Literacy, and the Institutional Dynamics of Racism: Late-1960s Writing Instruction for “High-Risk” African American Undergraduate Students at One Predominantly White University. College Composition and Communication, 60(1), 46-81. Retrieved December 6, 2013, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20457044
The article focuses on how racist ideologies of language and literacy shaped the development of writing programs aimed at high-risk African American students in the 1960s and 1970s. (p.46) The author talks about desegregation in education and the impacts racism had on these efforts. He discusses how the result of trying to assist the African American community and respond to their needs was to create “high-risk” educational programs that worked off the belief that low-income and minority students lacked the skills to succeed at the college level even if they had the potential to be successful. He highlights that many of these programs did little to change the deeply inbred forms of institutional racism. The programs focused more on forcing the students to change to meet “white” standards for speech and grammar instead of working within the cultural construct of the students. He discusses in great detail several attempts by colleges at the time to create these “high-risk” programs as an effort to increase diversity on campus and opportunity within the African American community. In general, these efforts proved unsuccessful because they really only sought to perpetuate the belief of the superiority of white mainstream language and literacy skills. (p.66) The author asserts that he believes that while flawed, these programs are redeemable if they better address the institutional racism within the programs.

Pearson, B. Z., Connor, T., & Jackson, J. E. (2013). Removing Obstacles for African American English-Speaking Children Through Greater Understanding of Language Difference. Developmental Psychology, 49(1), 31-44. Retrieved December 6, 2013, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0028248
This article focuses on the acknowledge that there is a different, non mainstream dialect with the African American community and the fact it remains denigrated in popular culture and education. The authors also highlight examples where students are denied educational opportunities because of their linguistic patterns.  The authors mention court cases where the ruling favored providing resources to children who spoke African American English to better aid the students in completely the material.  The authors mention a document from the American Psychological Association that finds that “culturally learned systems of belief can create negative attitudes at a subconscious level.” (p.31) The authors define what AAE is by providing numerous examples of the differences in linguistics and who typically speaks it. The authors offer several solutions to combat the existing problems with the system including: programs that harness the power of high expectations instead of treating it as a deficiency, programs that appreciate linguistic diversity, and programs that develop different kinds of linguistic awareness, especially dialect awareness. (p.39)

Solorzano, D. G., & Yosso, T. J. (2001). From racial stereotyping and deficit discourse toward a critical race theory in teacher education. Multicultural Education, 9(1), 2-8.
The article discusses linkages between a theoretical framework–critical race theory (CRT)–and its relation and application to the concepts of race, racism, and racial stereotyping in teacher education. (p.2) Critical race theory is described as challenging the current discourse that subordinates certain racial and ethnic groups. CRT specifically has five themes that make up its pedagogy: the centrality and intersectionality of race and racism, the challenge to dominant ideology, the commitment to social justice, the centrality of experiential knowledge, and the interdisciplinary perspective. The authors advocate for teacher education that identifies the subtle negative attitudes and racism within the educational environment and then seeks to find ways to eliminate them. The authors also provide a number of examples of typical statements made to people of different races that demonstrate both racism and the fact that everything connects back to race within our existing culture.

Wei, M., KU, T., & Wang, K. T. (2012). A development and validation of the perceived language discrimination scale. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic minority Psychology, 18(4), 340-351. Retrieved December 6, 2013, from http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0029453
This article focuses on discrimination based on racial minorities and speaking English as a second language. The authors highlight the effects both on achievement and even mention the effects on mental health. The authors highlight that discrimination based on language can occur just about anywhere in everyday life. The article is more of a quantitative study of the issue than a sociological approach like many of the other articles I read. The study looked at a variety of factors included the impact of the discrimination on respondents’ physical health and mental health. In general, the discrimination is self-reported feelings based on the individual’s interaction with the community at large. The authors discuss how this can impact mental health treatment, quality of life, and other barriers to integration within society for those that speak English as a second language.

CEP811: Maker Experiment #2 – Universal Design

This week the focus of our efforts was to explore UDL, Universal Design for Learning. Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn (http://www.cast.org/udl/). This is important in the classroom because educators want all students to be successful no matter what physical or learning disabilities they may have. The goal for this week was to revamp my Maker Experiment #1 to meet the guidelines provided for UDL (View guidelines here: https://sites.google.com/site/udlguidelinesexamples/home).

I have the advantage that the college I teach at has a whole department devoted to disabilities. The disabilities services department provides any resources that students may need in the classroom or at home. They also facilitate communication with instructors so that the instructor knows the specific challenges a student may have and what resources the student needs. In the case of deaf students, ASL interpreters are provided for deaf students in the classroom.

I currently make all lecture materials available to my students in audio format, written format, and provide images or examples. The written format is pdf, which is accessible for text readers (Find out more: http://wwwimages.adobe.com/www.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/accessibility/products/acrobat/pdfs/acrobat-xi-accessibility-checker.pdf). This allows all students to have their choice of method to view the information. Additionally, students are provided with a weekly reading sheet each week that focuses on what vocabulary, people, and other highlights are important for the week. I would add an electronic resource that would include written definitions of important terminology along with images and audio files to support all learning styles.

In general, I believe the activity I designed meets most of the UDL guidelines. However, I would make some key adjustments to better facilitate learner success.

  1. Add more explanation of the Makey Makey including hands on demonstration in class and showing a completed project from start to finish.
  2. Break the project into four stages: initial concept, planning, production, and final presentation. This will help make the task more manageable and allow them to have smaller success along the way. It also allows for more self-regulation.

The activity itself was flexible enough to allow customization for each group’s individual skills and abilities and was designed to be hands on. By working in groups chosen by student interests and skill levels, the students have the ability to choose a solution that interests them and perform the tasks they excel at while having group members to perform the tasks they may not enjoy or excel at. Students will receive feedback from myself along the way as well as assistance at the level and frequency each individual group needs.

The biggest change to the activity was to add additional resources at the beginning of the activity to better introduce the Makey Makey in order to increase student success. The activity itself was already flexible enough to tailor it to individual students and groups based on their interests and skill sets. Design assignments are generally open enough for students to tailor to their own perspective. I encourage students to pursue solutions that interest them. However, we do discuss the role of clients and having to work within constraints.

Overall, the exploration of UDL has triggered some thoughts on how to better work with the students that are extreme outliers on the low skill set end. The high performers were always easy for me to work with, but the other extreme pose quite a challenge. I identify better with the high performers than the other so I am better able to adjust for them. It was good to see that many of the tools I use with my students by providing multiple ways to get the material are actually beneficial from a pedagogical standpoint. Unlike many others in my class, I do not have the same pedagogical training. I do follow my instincts and actively seek feedback from students to help improve my classes. I evaluate what is working and what isn’t. It also helps that I have department on campus to support me when dealing with students with disabilities. I look forward to putting this to work in the future.

“CAST: Universal Design for Learning.” CAST: About UDL. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. <http://www.cast.org/udl/>.

“UDL guidelines examples.” UDL guidelines examples. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2013. <https://sites.google.com/site/udlguidelinesexamples/home>.

“Using the Acrobat XI Pro Accessiblity Checker.” Adobe.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. <http://wwwimages.adobe.com/www.adobe.com/content/dam/Adobe/en/accessibility/products/acrobat/pdfs/acrobat-xi-accessibility-checker.pdf>.

CEP811: Reimaging my Classroom for the 21st Century

This week we explored the possibilities for creating a 21st century classroom. Teachers across the country are rethinking how the spaces students learn in impact the process of learning and developing solution to address these changing needs. The classroom I chose to reimagine is the main graphics classroom in our building. The room serves many purposes from allowing traditional hands on learning experiences and creation, serves as a place to lecture, a computer lab, a place to conduct critiques of student work, and a open lab for students to work in when class is not in session. The other challenge is that 3 to 5 faculty members and the lab assistants share the classroom each semester. Each faculty member has their own needs from the classroom which means the room needs to be flexible. I also had to consider the fact that some equipment simply could not be moved to another location, like the screen-printing press in the corner. There are a few rooms off this room that serve as storage and one will serve as a washout sink for screen-printing shortly. There are two other classrooms used but this one is used the most.

Photos of Current Classroom


IMG_0656 IMG_0665 IMG_0655 IMG_0654  IMG_0658 IMG_0657In past weeks, I have talked about the fact that most graphics classes follow the learning theories of Constructivism and Experiential Learning. Students are given a problem and some foundational knowledge, but it is up to the student the find his or her own path to his or her own individual solution. The instructor and the classmates offer feedback along the way. My goal with the redesign was to facilitate the exploration process, to allow the students to have access to anything they might need to create their solutions. I also wanted to ensure the room was flexible enough to allow each faculty member to configure the room as they may need. The biggest issues with the room are the lack of storage and efficient layout. The instructor can’t see what the students are doing while demoing. There is not enough room for critique without laying all over the computers. There are two rows of desks that do little and offer little to the students. The equipment the students need like the Xyron machine, the button maker, the screen-printing equipment, cutting mats, book making equipment and everything else are scattered all over the room where ever they can fit. Bulky flat files and cabinets are also scattered throughout. Basically, there is a lot of stuff that works, but could work so much better.

My first goal was to set up zones in the classroom based on the main usage. At the very end of the room, I allowed for more room to conduct critiques. I also added these touch screens for looking at student work that Adobe is developing called Project Context (http://tv.adobe.com/watch/max-2013/a-year-before-the-max-keynote-envisioning-the-context-project/). These screens would eliminate the need to print things out all the time and allow for more productive critiques. I also reoriented the classroom to face that wall and put the instructor behind the students so that the instructor can see what is going on. The instructor has easy access to the front of the room and the whiteboards while going over material. The instructor station could also be used to run the third touch screen on the wall in the work area. I put all the printers and scanners along one wall with storage and corkboards for those wishing to pin work for critique. I eliminated all but the portable light tables because they can be moved to where ever they are needed. The main workspace features moveable tables with storage underneath and stools that can be reconfigured as needed. The very end of the room features tables for cutting, a variety of storage solutions, the smaller equipment like the Xyron machines, and the screen-printing equipment. The tables here are also moveable and feature cutting mats on top. I think this new layout opens up the space and allows for the flexibility for each instructor to meet the needs of their class. I tried to reuse as much as possible to reduce budget issues that may prevent this becoming a reality. This would most likely be done in stages and much of the new storage and tables could be built on site in the woodshop.

Proposed Classroom in Sketch-Up (All items at actual size)


classroom_workstation2 classroom_workstation classroom_work_area3 classroom_work_area2 classroom_work_area classroom_whiteboardclassroom_critiqueclassroom__computer_stations References

“A Year Before the MAX Keynote — Envisioning the Context Project.” Adobe.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. <http://tv.adobe.com/watch/max-2013/a-year-before-the-max-keynote-envisioning-the-context-project/>.

Architects, OWP/P , Bruce Mau Design, and VS Furniture. The third teacher: 79 ways you can use design to transform teaching and learning. New York: Abrams, 2010. Print.

Bill, David. “8 Tips and Tricks to Redesign Your Classroom.” Edutopia. N.p., 6 Aug. 2013. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://www.edutopia.org/blog/8-tips-redesign-your-classroom-david-bill>.

Kahl, Melanie. “4 Lessons the Classroom Can Learn from the Design Studio.” The Creativity Post. N.p., 9 Jan. 2012. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://www.creativitypost.com/education/4_lessons_the_classroom_can_learn_from_>.

Kahl, Melanie. “Remake Your Class: 6 Steps to Get Started.” Edutopia. N.p., 20 Aug. 2013. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. <http://http://www.edutopia.org/blog/steps-to-redesign-your-classroom-melanie-kahl>.

“Remake Your Class – The Third Teacher +.” The Third Teacher +. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <http://thethirdteacherplus.com/remake-class>.


CEP811: Creating a MOOC

This week we explored MOOCs, Massively Open Online Courses. The goal with these courses is to bring education to the masses. Free courses can be taken through services like Peer 2 Peer University and Coursera. I have also personally experienced something similar specifically targeted at those interested in the arts and design through Skillshare which offers a range of courses for free or for a small fee (less than $30). In both cases, these courses offer interested learners a chance to gain access to material and industry leaders that they may not otherwise have access to through the traditional education model.

Create Your Own Typeface
In my Create Your Own Typeface course, my peers will master developing a typeface from initial hand-drawn concept to completed useable font by beginning with sketching and then moving to a finished digital format of the typeface. As part of the course, the students will learn about type anatomy and terminology, which are essential for successfully developing a typeface. By the end of the course, the participants will make a complete typeface including uppercase and lowercase letters and basic punctuation in digital form.

This course will be designed to attract anyone interested in creating their own typeface for use. The course will target beginners who may or may not have familiarity with typography and type anatomy. The course will be mainly aimed at graphic design students or professionals who are interested in the subject but may not have known where or how to get started. While the course would be targeted more at those with at least some graphic design background, the course will not assume any previous knowledge so that anyone with an interest in creating a typeface could do so. As the target audience is graphic designers or graphic design students, the course materials will focus on industry standard software, but will provide links to resources for those who may not have access to the software.

The course participants will interact with each other via forums. Each participant will set up their own thread explaining the typeface they are developing. The participant will continue to post sketches and other images along the way for continued feedback during the project. Their coursemates can then offer feedback at each stage to help the participant improve their work, solve problems, and other feedback.

Week 1 – Typeface Anatomy and Terminology
This first week is designed to familiarize all participants with the basics of type and the terminology associated with it. Participants with design education/experience may not need to spend much time on this, as it will most likely be review. However, for those without the experience, it would be essential to their success in the course. The goal of this week is to provide the participants with background information.

You will learn:

  • What is a typeface? Font? Type family?
  • Basic Type Terminology
    • X-height
    • Baseline
    • Serif vs. Sans Serif
    • Readability
    • Legibility
    • Leading
    • Kerning
  • Type Classification
    • Serif
    • Sans Serif
    • Script
    • Decorative/Display
  • Type Anatomy
    • Ascender
    • Descender
    • Arm
    • Leg
    • Terminal
    • Counter
    • Bowl
    • Tail
    • Spur
    • Loop
    • Link
    • Ear
    • Stem
    • Stroke
    • Crossbar
    • Swash

Materials for the week:

  • Videos on terminology, type classification, and type anatomy
  • Reference sheets for type anatomy and classification

Tasks for the week:

  • Review videos
  • Post introduction on discussion forum, set-up thread student will use in coming weeks

Week 2 – Defining Your Project
This week the participants will define the goals and theme for their typeface. The participant will determine what type of typeface he/she wants to create—serif, sans serif, script, or decorative. The participant will also define what the typeface may be inspired by or what will influence the design decisions. For example, the participant may want to create a typeface inspired by chromatic fonts found in letterpress spec books. Participants will also be provided with things to consider when making decisions about the typeface and pitfalls to avoid.

You will learn:

  • Defining goals for your typeface
    • Choosing a type classification – serif, sans serif, script, decorative
    • How will the typeface be used
    • Will it be readable at small sizes or just at larger sizes
    • What will it be inspired by
      • Book
      • Movie
      • Art Period
      • Historical Type
  • Pitfalls to avoid
    • Don’t just base your typeface on an existing typeface
    • Don’t just digitize your handwriting
  • Searching for inspiration
  • Setting up a Pinterest board with your inspiration

Materials for the week:

  • Videos speaking about how to get started
  • Resources for finding inspiration
  • Guide to using Pinterest

Tasks for the week:

  • Write a two or three sentence statement about the direction you plan to go with your typeface including what type classification it will fall under
  • Create a Pinterest board and pin images that inspire the direction you plan to take with your typeface
  • Post your statement and link to your Pinterest board to the forum
  • Comment on fellow participant projects

Week 3 – Sketching Your Typeface
This week the participants will begin sketching their typefaces on paper. The week will start with a guide to how to get started. The participants will be encouraged to start with pencils and other tools like protractors, compasses, rulers, and French curves. The participants should use their statements from last week as a jumping off point. The participants should feel free to explore beyond the statements if they find they are not satisfied at that point. The material will discuss the creative process and how ideas can evolve from where you start. Participants will post their sketches at the end of the week for feedback from fellow participants.

You will learn:

  • What to start with
    • Establishing the x-height for the typeface
    • Ascenders and descenders
    • Cap height
    • What letters to start with
    • How to use consistent elements
    • Paying attention to type anatomy
    • Double and single story lowercase a and g
  • Tools to use for assisting with the sketching process
    • Pencil and paper
    • Ruler
    • Protractor
    • Compass
    • French Curves
    • Other tools
  • Creative process
    • Evolving ideas
    • Changing direction

Materials for the week:

  • Video tutorials on getting started and the tools to create your sketches with
  • Feedback from instructor and fellow students as participant works through the process

Tasks for the week:

  • Sketch typeface – may not sketch every letter, but should sketch enough to work from when creating the final digital version
  • Post sketches to the forum including questions, challenges or issues you want assistant with from other participants
  • Comment on fellow participant sketches

Week 4 – Perfecting and Scanning Your Typeface
This week the participants will finish perfecting their typeface sketches based on feedback last week. The participants will then scan in their sketches using a scanner. Participants will learn how to improve their scans using Photoshop or another photo editor. By the end of the week, participants should be ready to begin digitizing the typeface.

You will learn:

  • Inking your sketches to help improve the process of scanning
  • How to scan your typeface
    • Scanning using your scanner’s software
    • Scanning using Photoshop
    • Settings to help create a cleaner scan
  • Cleaning up your scans using Photoshop or other photo editing software
    • Focus on using Photoshop and how to get the cleanest file to work from in the next step
    • Provide students with resources to complete the task for other common photo editors

Materials for the week:

  • Video tutorials on scanning and cleaning up the image using Photoshop
  • Additional resource list for other photo editing programs

Tasks for the week:

  • Finalize sketches of typeface
  • Ink typeface
  • Scan typeface
  • Clean up typeface to get in ready for next week

Week 5 – Digitizing Your Typeface
This week the participants will work on digitizing their typeface. The participants should have already scanned in their sketches last week. They will then use them to create a digital version of his or her typeface. The participants will have a variety of software options to choose from to complete this task. Some will free and some will cost money. Participants that are designers will most likely already have access to Illustrator so my tutorials will revolve around that particular piece of software. However, I will provide links to reference materials for the other software programs. By the end of the week, the participants should have a complete digital version of their typeface. They will then post it for feedback by their fellow participants. Participants may choose to tweak their typefaces after receiving feedback.

You will learn:

  • Software to assist with creating a digital version of their typeface
    • Illustrator
    • FontLab
    • Font Forge
    • Font Creator
    • TypeTool
    • Fontographer
    • Glyphs
  • Assist students in deciding on the right software option
    • Cost
    • Ease of use
    • Functionality
  • Using the software to work from scanned in sketches
    • Choose one software program to provide getting started videos to assist participants
    • Direct participants to resources for other software products to assist them if they choose one of the other options
  • Address completing the typeface if participant did not sketch the entire typeface

Materials for the week:

  • Video tutorials on digitizing typeface from sketches
  • Pro/con list for comparing software choices
  • Additional resource list

Tasks for the week:

  • Create a digital version of participant’s typeface
  • Create the typeface in software program of participant’s choice
  • Post the finished typeface in participant’s thread in the forum for final feedback
  • Comment on fellow participant typefaces

Week 6 – Distributing Your Typeface
After designing a typeface, most people will offer the typeface up for use by the public. This week of the course will discuss both free and paid options for distribution. The course will also go over licensing and basic legal considerations a participant should know about before distributing their typeface. Participants will also create a graphic to promote their typeface.

You will learn:

  • Places to distribute your typeface if you so choose
  • Distributing your type face for free, donations, or for a standard amount
  • Licensing

Materials for the week:

  • Resources for distributing their typefaces
  • Examples of graphics to promote typefaces
  • Survey for feedback on the course

Tasks for the week:

  • Distribute typeface through one of the provided sources if participant chooses to do so
  • Create a basic graphic using Photoshop or other software to promote the typeface and show the theme for the typeface established in week 2
  • Complete survey to provide feedback on the course

Instructional Theories
The course, like most art and design courses, will utilize Constructivist principles. Constructivist learning theory purports that learners should be actively engaged, that activities should be interactive and student-centered, and that the instructor facilitates the process of learning. The student’s learning is self-directed and relies on them to explore their own interests or take on the material instead of just one prescribed approach. (http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/constructivist.html) While the course gives the users a set of tasks, the manner in which the student approaches the tasks is up to the individual participant. For example, each participant will develop a font based on his or her personal taste and interests. There is no right or wrong solution to the project. The instructor and the fellow participants provide feedback along the way whether in the form of critiques and suggestions to help improve the work, but the final solution, or typeface, is completely up to the student. Participants demonstrate interest in the material be choosing to start the course.

The course also fits into the TPACK framework. The TPACK framework involves the interplay of Content, Pedagogy, and Technology. (Koehler) Ideally, the three work together to provide the most effective educational experience. In my course, the content will be basic typeface anatomy and terminology along with the process of creating a typeface. The Pedagogy comes in the form of using Constructivism learning theories to develop the course structure and materials. The technology comes in the form of the course deployment software (whether I was to use P2PU or another service), the forums, the videos created to demonstrate concepts, and the software used to create the final digital version of the font. All elements come together to form the basis of what I hope is a positive, beneficial experience for participants.

“Constructivist Theory (Jerome Bruner).” Constructivist Theory. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. <http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/constructivist.html>.

Koehler , Dr Matthew J . “What is TPACK? | TPACK.org.” tpack.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Nov. 2013. <http://www.matt-koehler.com/tpack/what-is-tpack/&gt>.

Note: Image is my own created using Illustrator and Photoshop.

CEP811: Thrifting – Creating a Quiz Buzzer System

This week we were tasked with visiting a thrift store whether virtually or physically to come up with ideas for re-purposing materials. This is something I’ve done for most of my life. Artists are masters of re-purposing whether it’s using old jars as paint containers or finding a tackle box to store art supplies. It’s a great way to save money and to reuse materials that might otherwise end up in a landfill. At first I was a little perplexed because I teach adults not children, so it didn’t seem like there were as many possibilities to do this. However, the perfect answer came to me when I was thinking about playing Jeopardy to review for exam. I have done this in the past, but fighting always ensues when relying on my judgment to see who raised their hand first to answer. I saw a system of lighted buttons that locks out after the first one was hit. It was perfect, but cost $250 for the system. As usual, necessity (and cheapness) is the mother of invention.

After a little bit of play, I realized the Makey Makey kit would be the perfect tool for creating a buzzer system. I went in search of possible ways to do this online. No one had directions for using the Makey Makey, but I did find a variety of directions for other homemade buzzers. I wanted to figure out what might work for buzzers and what I else I might need before shopping. I typically approach projects in this manner. I figure out what I might want and what might work and then hit the store. I have more success when I have a better idea of what’s needed. Luckily, I found some Staples Easy Buttons at a thrift store. There were a number of them, but I only needed three. It seemed a little serendipitous, but I’ll just be thankful that no one else was interested in them. Based on my explorations, my other idea was plastic bowls. The remainder of the items were gathered from Radio Shack as I did not locate them during my shopping trip. I figured that would most likely be the case. If I wasn’t using the Makey Makey, I would have looked for a USB keyboard to use for the processing. I found several sites that mentioned that was an option.


At this point, I went to talk an electronics instructor that I know to make sense of the electronics part it. I am not an expert on the electronics. I understand the programming part, but needed a better idea of how the electronics worked to reconfigure it to the materials I wanted to use. I showed him some of the examples I found and he drew out the below diagrams to explain how it worked. This helped me better understand some the flaws in my initial thinking and to work out how everything needed to be wired to each other. I’m at the point where I’m ready to start creating the physical parts, but need a little more time with the programming. I would like to have the ability to use this soon with my class.

Electrical Wiring Drawing courtesy of Terry Taebel

3 Staples Easy Buttons
Red LEDs
LED Holders
Project Box
2 conductor wire
Glue Gun
May need a soldering iron w/solder
Arduino Software



  1. Remove the pads on the backs of the Staples Easy Buttons to get access to the screws. Unscrew the screws to expose the wiring of the buttons. I can disable at the sound at this point either by removing the connecting wire or simply remove the batteries. The batteries are unnecessary for making this work. I will also need to drill a hole for the alligator clip to run to the button when the button is reassembled.
  2. I then need to connect the buttons to the Makey Makey via the alligator clips included in the kit. When the button is pressed, it should generate a feed to the program written for the Makey Makey to process the information.
  3. The Makey Makey then needs to be connected to the LED that will light up indicating which buzzer rang in first. (I realize this step may be unnecessary as I may be able to program it to just put a message on screen, but I think the light may be more beneficial with students.
  4. The LEDS than need to be secured inside the project box. I will start by drilling three hole the LEDs in the top of the box. I will feed a LED holder into the whole. Then, I will place the LED inside. I will need to also make a hole in the side to feed the wires back to the Makey Makey. It was suggested that glue be used to secure the items in the box.
  5. Write the program for the Makey Makey. You will need to download the software posted here: https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/388. This software will give you an editing window to reprogram your Makey Makey for a new purpose. The site also breaks down the basics of working with the console. It will be helpful to have some understanding of programming for this step.
  6. Continue testing your program as you go until the pressing one of the buttons causes the corresponding light to light up and locks out the others.
  7. Test out in class and enjoy the fun.


At this point, I’m still testing the specifics. The electronics instructor thought I was crazy to try to get it done in a weekend and it looks like he may be right. I will update with more specific instructions once it is completely worked out. I think this would be a great tool for teachers of all grade levels. In my past experience, Jeopardy is a great tool for reviewing for an exam. My hope is this project can help others teachers implement this into the classroom and eliminate disputes about who “rang” in first while still being affordable. Right now, the project is costing my under a $100, but I would like to reduce the price further.

Arduino – Learn the basics. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage>.

“Cee’z Blog.” RSS 20. N.p., 25 Sept. 2008. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http://my.opera.com/ceez/blog/buzzerlockout>.

Chrétien, Philippe. “public pchretien / quiz.”GitHub. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <https://github.com/pchretien/quiz>.

“Electronic Games.” Game Circuits. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http://www.techlib.com/electronics/games.html>.

“Game Show Buzzer System.” uosuıqoɹ ɯoʇ / projects / easybutton / buzzer.php. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http://tlrobinson.net/projects/easybutton/buzzer.php>.

Hoover, Dan. “DIY Game Show Buzzer System.” DIY Game Show Buzzer System. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http://http://danhoover.net/dh/index.php/diy-stuff/diy-game-show-buzzer/21>.

“MaKey MaKey Quickstart Guide (Part 2) – SparkFun Electronics.” MaKey MaKey Quickstart Guide (Part 2) – SparkFun Electronics. N.p., 14 Aug. 2012. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/388>.

“Quiz Show Buzzer System using Staples Easy Button.” Instructables.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http://www.instructables.com/id/Quiz-Show-Buzzer-System-using-Staples-Easy-Button/>.

“Quizshow buttons on the cheap – Intro.” Quizshow buttons on the cheap – Intro. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http://hackadayhttp://spritesmods.com/?art=quizbtn&f=tw>.

Robinson, Mark. “How to Create a Lockout Buzzer System | eHow.” eHow. Demand Media, 30 Sept. 2011. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http://www.ehow.com/how_12112065_create-lockout-buzzer-system.html>.

Szczys, Mike. “Building a Quiz-show style buzzer system.” Hack a Day. N.p., 1 June 2012. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http://hackaday.com/2012/06/01/building-a-quiz-show-style-buzzer-system/>.

“basbrun.com.” basbruncom. N.p., 30 May 2012. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. <http://basbrun.com/2012/05/30/quiz-buzzer-system/>.