Friday, 20 April 2012

Rainbow WordArt - per-leease not...

Ask students to design something using Office on a computer and like as not someone, somewhere, will use Rainbow WordArt. Sometimes more than one student. Sometimes lots. Ask them why they have used it and they'll reply "It looks nice." or "It's cool". Now aesthetically speaking I can't stand it, but that's not a reason for my campaign against it - well... maybe a bit. What I can't stand is its inappropriate use. When I was eight years old I expect that I, in common with many eight-year-olds across the world, thought writing your name in felt pen, with each letter a different colour demonstrated the height of taste and discrimination. OK, maybe it does...when you are eight. But many students continue doing this regardless of audience and purpose. I'll bet there's a Funeral parlour somewhere with Rainbow WordArt in its publicity. There's an entire website dedicated to banning Comic Sans, for similar reasons. So, I made the poster, put it up, explained why it was there and told students that when they used it, I expected them to be able to explain to me how it was appropriate for their audience and pupose. Within a day or so of posting it I overheard someone looking at a peer's work say "Oh per-lease not Rainbow WordArt..." and it gradually began to disappear. Result.
If you want to join the campaign, click on the thumbnail top left, to open it full-size and save the image somewhere. The one on my classroom wall is enlarged to A3 on the photocopier.
This post started by way of a thank-you to two members of the Linkedin Handheld Learning group. In the midst of a discussion about Powerpoint alternatives the redoubtable Mark Allen (EdintheClouds) mentioned the simplicity and the absence of glitz of Google Presentations was sometimes advantageous. He also mentioned SlideRocket an online slideshow app, which had I tried some while back and forgotten about. On visiting the SlideRocket site I noticed that it was available as a free add-on for Google Apps for Education and in a few moments had a link to it on our Google Apps Start Page. We used it this morning as part of our MAD project - for a Magic Box Slideshow - it was great and the Year 8s loved it. So, thanks Mark.
In response I mentioned my horror of Rainbow WordArt and the poster above. Bob Gilvey asked if he could have a look at it and told me I had a good wit. Flattery will get you anywhere Bob...