Prototype of App Review Template. Seeking Feedback and Logo Design

I am in the midst of adding reviews for apps that I am testing out, reading, evaluating, using, etc.

As I continue to write up my reviews I feel like a broken record spewing the same phrases over and over.

Nobody has time to read these phrases and descriptions.

This weekend I came up with a new plan. This plan will be simple, easy to read, easy to digest, and take little time while providing honest feedback.

I sketched out a basic template in my Stimulus Queue book that I was going to share for feedback, but my 2 year old decided to do some of her own artwork.

Opened my book where I record ideas, questions, sketches, and prototypes of new concepts to find my 2 year old decided to record her ideas as well! #scribble #shestolemyvibe #doodle #journal #sketch #ideas #creativity

I am in the process of developing an icon for each category. Each category will then have a very short description of honest feedback. Simple phrases and words.

Here are the categories

1. App Icon
2. Color/Layout of book/app/design
3. Ease of use
4. Overall Feel
5. Good
6. Not So Good
7.Yahoo or Boo
8. Hall of Fame
9. Price
10. Use It Again

Each one will be graded on my own biased feedback.

What do you think? Thoughts on these categories. Do you think this will be helpful? Should I eliminate or add?

I will be sampling these 10 categories with the next few app reviews. In the meantime I will be working on designing a logo icon for each category. If you want to create one and submit it to me I will gladly use it and make sure you are given credit.

Carry on my coffee consuming legion!

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Why Thinking About Design in Education is Vital Part 2 #coffeechugPLN


I scribbled a bit on one of the interview titles and share this on Instagram a few weeks back, but I think it raises a very valid point.

How do we get students to take the leap of faith? I should add to this How do we get TEACHERS to take the leap of faith? We need to challenge the boundaries of how things are currently being done. It scares people. There is comfort with staying the course. This is needed to a certain extent, but we have many students and kids that we are losing because they are pushing the envelope and we are losing ground more and more every year.

The first thing that has to happen is to “engender trust”(page 94). This is nothing new, but we have to connect to the emotions of people(students and teachers) and bridge in a quality product(lesson or project). As we push the boundaries we have cannot lose sight of keeping things simple and the focus of the goal. It is easy to fall off the course and make things more complicated than what it needs to be.

As we try out new ideas and push the boundaries we cannot be so narrow in our vision. We must look big picture and figure out how all the “different pieces of the experience need to be fused into a cohesive whole?”(page 97) With this thought I think of staffing. Each educator brings some unique and different to the landscape of education. Not every teacher can be the same. Educators need to make up several different roles. We must learn and figure out how to blend these educators into “Design Teams” that create an experience for each student to gain maximum learning opportunities.

You can read Part 1 here

Part 3 drops tomorrow.

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Why thinking about Design is vital for Education! Part 1

The other day I tweeted the following

Really questioning why topic of “design” is missing in landscape of education? #coffeechugpln
— Aaron Maurer (@coffeechugbooks) October 30, 2013

I have become fascinated(alright obsessed) recently with the whole notion of design and how important it is becoming in the business world and the landscape of innovation. Design is becoming so important as people realize the whole complete package of any idea or product is essential to being one unit from the packaging material to how the product actually fits into the package.

As I read one of my new favorite magazines Fast Company the whole issue just so happened to be the 10th Annual Innovation by Design Issue(my first issue sent in mail for my new subscription).

Below are the key ideas I marked and highlighted this issue that I feel are vital to not only innovators and business, but more importantly to education as we prepare students for the job market that will require this type of thinking. I have taken the information and shifted the angle to meet the perspective of education. These ideas are not directly quoted from the articles, but read, adapted, and modified to fit the world of education.

  • Design is not just about creating new products, but new ways of working, leading, and seeing. I think that in terms of education that “products” are the students where we must infuse new ways of working, leading, and seeing to develop more advanced and visionary students.
  • The best teachers are effectively designers – those who grapple with ambiguous challenges, probing for creative solutions,
  • “This is what I’m thinking.” I might gut-check that with him and say, “Is my gut right or wrong?” (Nike article, page 90) This is vital. This once again fits with education. We have to stop teaching in isolation and network with others to find the answers. We as educators can do a much better job of collaboration. We think we do this, but really so much time is wasted complaining and comparing barriers.
  • “It’s important to have a culture that doesn’t punish you if you make, eventually, a mistake. It’s part of the innovation process. I always joke, saying, “What scientists call experiments, marketers call failures or mistakes.”” (Pepsico, page 92) Love this! We have to have a culture in our school for educators and students to make mistakes. We live in such high stakes environment that all of us are afraid to make a mistake so instead of pushing the envelope we just stay status quo to avoid any potential conflict.
  • “But every time you try to infuse a new culture into a very successful and efficient organization, it’s going to try to reject the new. You need the sponsorship of the CEO.” In the case of education we need the support of administration and for educators to be willing to try something new. How else can we model learning to our students if we don’t shake things up ourselves?

Part 2 will come out tomorrow.

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