Now anyone can redecorate their homes! I was amazed at the simplicity of creating a floor design using Gliffy, an online diagramming service. According to the site, “Gliffy” comes from the word “glyph”, a pictograph or symbol that communicates information non-verbally. (Clicking on the image enlarges it to see the detail more clearly.)
While my initial plan when I discovered Gliffy was to completely remodel my house, I found it was not as easy to visualize a new design as I had hoped. Working on this was consuming a lot of my time. I therefore went with the same floor plan, just moved some of the furniture around and threw in some new rugs.
Once it was done, I also noticed I had made some a few errors in the floor plan. For example, the house is not an exact rectangle, the garage is missing and I forgot about the fireplace. The beauty of Web 2.0 is our ability go back and edit, redesign, reshape, rethink, rediscover and improve! I think I will add a few more plants to the front entrance and of course make the windows a little bigger with my next attempt.
I think that viewing this floor plan is much more interesting for someone who actually knows the house. My language learners could get to know their classmates’ houses using Gliffy to create similar floor plans. They could share their plans in the Vista forums or blogs where they could write about and discuss what they see using any number of language functions (furniture, rooms, directions, prepositions of place, comparatives, superlatives, etc).
What is particularly attractive about this exercise is that learners do not need any interior design skills to create a decent looking plan they can be proud of. I find that my adult learners are often hesitant to share their drawings, especially if they feel they lack artistic talent. The software enables users to easily create and share a much more attractive artifact than they could have done by hand. Furthermore, current course managements systems (CMS) do not have these design affordances built in. Thus, our learners learn to become digitally flexible as they come to know the differences, experiment and refelct through CMS and Web 2.0 (Anderson, 2008).
Alexander, B. (2008). Web 2.0 and Emergent Multiliteracies. Theory into practice. 47(2), 150-60. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume41/Web20ANewWaveofInnovationforTe/158042