Digital Opportunity Trust is a company that partnered with Americorps to send interns into many schools in Mississippi to help teachers integrate technology into their lessons – creating a more interactive and interesting learning environment for their students. Watch this video that I made describing the goals of the program and why I believed so fully in them. During my time with the program, I created an interactive one-stop-shop for the teachers I worked with to access not only the resources that I was creating for them; but also, other resources that I gathered over my three years with the program. For this portfolio, since there is so much to convey from this job, the portfolio item itself will discuss the website, and the blog area to the right will hold the media resources that I created.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner]
- Created an interactive website using JQuery and HTML 5 that gave the teachers a one-stop-shop to find the resources that I had been creating for them for three years, as well as the digital resources that I had found for them
- The interactivity involved interactive, artistic menu options, as well as interactive and animated way to present the many resources on each page (such as media galleries, tabs, and slideshows).
- The homepage included a simple flash animation and a link to the “Digital Classroom,” which was a page that had an interactive way to reach the various subjects’ pages of resources
- A link to to “The Digital Classroom” appears in the navigation, but not links to all of the subject pages. This is because all of those links would bog the teachers down. This is also the reason for all of the highly animated and interactive tools to organize the pages.
A large portion of my job was to create new, engaging resources for the teachers. Being a graphic designer who already knew how to work animation, video, and image making software, I excelled at this portion of the job
- Created 3D and 2D animations to use in videos, presentations, and teacher websites
- Created interactive flash tools that the teachers could either put on their websites and then use on their interactive whiteboards, or just save the files and run them in an internet browser
- Created animated comic books of literature from still animations (done by me) by using a tool called Prezi
- Created animated PowerPoint presentations that were interactive and engaging – often being interactive in-class games that resembled popular game shows
- Helped teachers to build interactive web tools, web sites, video sites, and educational social networks to use in their classrooms
It is important to note that this website is in a state of flux right now. The website started as having been written from scratch and hosted by GoDaddy (paid for by the school). When I left the program, I moved it to Weebly and lost some of my code, but I wanted to keep it going somehow. Recently, I have decided to bring it back to life as a user-generated content WordPress site, but it is in a between state. The old Weebly site has been quite ripped up, leaving me no choice but to only leave the intact pages in the navigation. The new site is still in its infancy. However, I am providing links to both sites with the disclaimer that they are both a mess during this transition.
The History & the Behind the Scenes
This website started from scratch with the support of my team at school and my team through DOT and Americorps, so it was very sad when leaving the program meant I could no longer keep it up normally. I decided to transfer it to Weebly because I honestly didn’t know much about free services. Sadly, a lot of the original functionality and design was lost in the transfer. This is what was under the hood of the original site:
- Even though I wrote the site in Visual Studio, I actually used very little C# or VB.Net
- I did have an old SQL Server setup that I was using, mainly to store teacher preference information
- All of the animations were Flash, because at the time, that was top of the industry
- HTML5 and CSS3 had made their big entrance, but I really used this site to dig further into how powerful they were
In the Beginning….
When the web site is first entered, there is nothing but a calming bit of flash, an inspirational phrase about digital classrooms, and a button that says “Enter the Digital Classroom.” The navigation is not full of various subjects or even really much that looks like resources, except “The Digital Classroom.” That’s because this page is a landing spot for all of the subjects to be sorted out. There ended up being such a huge number of pages in the navigation that teachers were bolting from the site because of the stress. I had to do everything in my power to make it calming from the beginning.
Enter the Digital Classroom
After clicking on the “Enter the Digital Classroom” button on the homepage, one is taken to an animation page involving a thinking scientist and some bubbles that are animated upon scrolling the page and upon scrollover. These bubbles are the menu that leads to the various subjects that have resources on the site (and I took many, many out to clean up the video). The purpose of the bubbles and the scientist was to keep the teachers interested enough to not bolt from the shear number of resources.
When a bubble is clicked, some kind of subject page will be reached. You can see from the video that I used many, many interactive tools to keep the site as orderly as possible: accordions, tabs, sliders, media galleries, etc. When the site was in its infancy, it was just a straight list, but I quickly learned that wouldn’t do at all.