Where is the Content? Razzle Dazzle and Computers

Razzle dazzle! Kids love it! They can spend an entire class period making their WordArt, text boxes, pictures, and shapes look amazing. But where is the content?

I am nearing the end of the TechnoEnvironment unit. I was away last class so the Grade 8 students worked on their standing pamphlets on their own. At the beginning of class, I had the opportunity to view their accomplishments. To my surprise, each panel was full. I saw colorful borders, eye-catching WordArt, and stylish pictures. Missing from the panels were environmental FACTS!

Students were supposed to create an informative pamphlet that explained an environmental issue including causes, harmful effects, solutions, and interesting facts. They had been given a checklist to keep them focused on the task. Half the students followed the instructions perfectly while the remaining students inserted text boxes to act as placeholders, left them empty, and then spent their time decorating the page.

Microsoft Publisher Pamphlet
Razzle dazzle wins! Students prefer to format design elements instead of type content.

Have no doubt, learning has taken place. On their own, students discovered how to format the background of a Microsoft Publisher document. For example, the student completing a pamphlet on wildfires has an attractive gradient that starts out black and then gradually changes to red. Other than the text boxes empty of information, his publication looks fantastic!

Other students have taken the time to discover the range of options accessible using the Design Gallery Objects command. They have created some unique designs using the objects. From a technology skills perspective, the kids are doing a great job.

However, a good publication must have substance. In our case, the information pamphlet actually needs information. I let students know that although I am very proud of how they have applied their computer skills, no more design elements can be added until all facts have been placed onto the page. By the end of class, all the pamphlets have information. Now students will dazzle their audience with their knowledge of environmental issues!

TechnoEnvironment Articles:

  1. Planning to Teach an Environmental Technology Project
  2. Frozen Computers Foil Internet Research
  3. 12 Tips for Internet Research
  4. Five Issues Associated with Assigning Computer Homework
  5. Guided Discovery and Computer Education
  6. Establish an Authentic Audience for Technology Projects
  7. Direct Instruction and Computer Education
  8. The Struggle to Have Students be Their Personal Best
  9. Flexibility is the Key to Success in the Computer Lab
  10. Where is the Content? Razzle Dazzle and Computers
  11. Celebrate Success!
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