Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tips for the NZ Doodle4Google Competition

Doodle 4 Google
yesterday, carl lidstone posted that google is offering the doodle comp to nz school children again this year. i am so excited about this! my year 9 students entered the competition back in 2009, the last time it was offered in nz, and my students last year competed amongst themselves with the north american "football" themed doodle, as they were so disappointed that they weren't eligible to enter.

carl asked if i'd offer some tips and pitfalls to look out for, so here they are. i've had more time to think about it since yesterday, so i have a little more to say than what i tweeted. if you're looking for those, you'll find them in the #DUedchat hashtag.

Pre-tip: enroll your school asap. the deadline for registration is 19 August 2011.

Tip #1: This is an opportunity for authentic audience, so rev them up with this fact: a national audience (and even international)! make contact with your local newspaper and have someone come out and take of photo of your kids and their doodles (don't forget permission slips) for a local story. Put it on your blog/class website/school newsletter.

Tip #2:  google offers a lesson plan. don't remake the wheel. it's supposed to be fun, not a chore.

Tip #3:  the contest will be judged by the "original doodler" Dennis Hwang. use the info page and short stop-motion video of him to generate interest.

Tip #4:  include a pre-task co-construction of the meaning behind symbols or metaphors for their own heritage, then link to creating same for the doodle theme.

Tip #5:  however tempting, don't use computer generated, unless you have some fancy, arty programme. most of the winners appear to be hand drawn, so i believe those are preferred (though i imagine some of this depends on the age bracket as well - check the info for schools).

Tip #6:  do use the opportunity to engage with other parts of the curriculum. kids can write/orally present their choices (based on static image features: colour, symbol, placement, background, etc). good opportunity for a podcast if you're  doing that. create a slideshow of finished images. play it at your open night/put it on your class blog.

Pitfall #1:  time.  don't allow too much time for the final project. Two/three 1-hour periods is enough for secondary kids. Really arty kids doing an exceptional job can finish at home or during another time you find suitable. The other kids don't need it and their finished images don't benefit from having any longer.  

Upside to pitfall 1:  A short time keeps them focused.

Pitfall #2:  be mindful of the deadline: 23 September 2011. you need to have had an in-school comp (if there is more than one class doing it), and select the ones you're going to enter. Remember you'll want to scan all the images before they have to be posted, and fill in all the paperwork!  

Upside to pitfall 2:  student involvement.  in my class, we laid out the images without any names, just numbers, and the whole class voted for their top 8. i tallied all the votes and the 8 with the most votes were the ones we entered - you could do this interactively as homework as well, or even involve the community if you are more organised than i am! and it'll get the scanning out of the way. helps if you have a super-duper copier that will take all of them and scan them at once. not as much fun if you're doing it one at a time!

above all else, have a good time with it and enjoy what the kids bring to their drawings. 


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