by Debbi Long
Recently one of our student support teachers did some testing on the students who struggle with the demands of the secondary school curriculum. She was testing how different colour filters affect the ease with which these can read. There was an amazingly high percentage of these boys who suddenly realised that they were not seeing text as others did.
It made me think about how many students (we are a boy’s school) might be colour blind, to varying degrees, and they may not be aware of this. Research has shown that many more males are prone to colour blindness, especially red-green. I have also seen some research that states that women, as a whole, can differentiate between different shades of colours much better than men.
I like to use images and colour when I am presenting to classes. All sorts of information – be it graphical, maps, whatever – are in colour. How inclusive is this material? Are the colours I am using making it easier or more difficult for my students?
This led me to have a look at the tool Color Oracle, which is a color blindness simulator. It is a free, runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.
When it is installed and you run it, a small icon installs itself on the menu bar. To see your screen the way that a color blind person would, you simply click on the icon and select one of three types of color blindness. You can easily toggle your screen colors to simulate three color blind conditions, deuteranopia, protanopia and tritanopia. By toggling between the various view modes, your screen is transformed to a new colour palette so you can evaluate how visible the colours you chosen are to everyone. Once you have done this it is a simple to click on any key to return to normal mode.
Will this make it easier for many of the students at my school? I don’t know but it can only help me make sure that the resources I create offer anyone the best chance of using them.
I have tried a new tool this week. It is called Jigidi and it creates free online jigsaw puzzles.
It is simple to use. You can go to the site to access the expanding library of jigsaw puzzles created by others. You can search for puzzles based on a theme, by puzzle difficulty (easy is 60 pieces or less and challenging puzzles have 240 plus pieces).
In the puzzle work space, you can zoom in or out to give yourself more room to work. The ‘full screen’ mode removes other distractions and helps to focus on the challenge at hand. The site requires the Flash plug-in to make the puzzles interactive.
If you create an account (it’s free) you can upload your own images to make your own jigsaw puzzles to share. This will also remove ads from the puzzle pages. The tool does not require an email address to register.
Once created you can add extra data such as title, description, attribution and if you are happy to make it public, category and copyright details.
Click on Solve and the puzzle comes up. You can have a timer added if you want and can enlarge to fit the whole screen.
It is fun to see how many solves you get. my Radcliffe Camera puzzle had 74 in just over an hour and the Ford Anglia from the Harry Potter films had an interesting comment about the car.
You could use it with classes as a way of introducing a topic via images or as a review activity at the end.
You could have mystery images of places and see how quickly students realise where they are eg. geography or language studies. The timer could be used to see how fast someone can finish the puzzle.
Students could take some relevant (topic) photos, upload their images and shared the puzzles with their classmates or even parents.
I have been following the Such Was Life blog from the State Library of Victoria (SLV) for a while now. The blog began in October 2012 and has been showcasing the material in the SLV’s collection. The blog explores items from the Library collections that relate to Australia’s past, and these are many and varied.
From their own description:
Such is life,’ bushranger Ned Kelly is reputed to have said in his final moments. These words are also a great way of defining history, and history (specifically Australian history) is what this blog is all about. Here we’ll explore Australian histories found in the collections of the State Library of Victoria. We’ll highlight both new acquisitions and classic resources, including: books, journals, newspapers, manuscripts, pictures, maps and ephemera
We will showcase resources that are available online, and those sitting in our stacks just waiting to be discovered.
I have found many of the post fascinating as they highlight different aspects of their collection. This year with the 100 year commemorations of the WWI, our study of the text “all Quiet on the Western Front as well as the Year 12 Australian history course, their WWI post have been very topical.
The list of post about items about WWI include:
- First shot fired There is some debate about where this actually happened but the is are a lot of documents that show that many in Australia believe that it was from Point Nepean as a German ship tried to leave Port Phillip Bay on the 5th Aug 1914
- WWI poetry Poetry spans all aspects of war, from enlistment to conscription, to loss and battle descriptions. Further information to the uses of poetry and to poems themselves.
- Death Ballots: Australia’s World War I conscription referendums Some description of the two referendums and other related materials. great starting point for understanding how Australians felt at the time.
- Greeting from the trenches: World War I postcards Postcards were a popular way to communicate with those at home in WWI. 1916, Corporal Thomas O’Halloran sent dozens of embroidered souvenir postcards from the front lines in France to his family. The Halloran postcard collection online.
- From Ararat to the Dardenelles: World War I through newspapers A reminder about the wealth of information about our history now available to us through the digitised issues of our newspapers. Over 70 Victorian newspapers covering 1914 to 1918 are now freely available on Trove.
- World War I colour patches Colour patches were worn on Australian soldiers’ uniforms to show which unit they belonged to. In WWI there were many different patches and this post offers links to finding out more about them.
- Commemorating your ANZACS. This was about a grant that recently finished but there was more useful information here about our service man and women. There was also advice about how to find out more about individuals who served in the Australian military.
If you would like to find out more about local servicemen and women, head to our research guide World War I: researching soldiers. It provides a step-by-step guide to finding soldiers’ service records, and discovering what battles and campaigns they were involved in. The guide also gives advice about researching the lives of Australian nurses. Our guide to key family history sources will help you to track down other key biographical details, like birth, marriage and death dates, what other jobs people held, and where people lived in their local community. Finally, our guide to publishing your family history will step you through the process of making your research available online or as a book.
There are links in the posts to primary sources available in in the library, digitised resources that can be viewed, the History section of the Ergo site and links to related material are also useful. It is a great resource and well worth following to remind you about what a fantastic treasure we have in our State Library.