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Assignment 3

Constructivist Lesson Plan: Logo Exploration and Design in a Secondary Digital Media Class

Jonathan Nilson


ETEC 530-65B

Diane Janes

Part A – Statement

Lesson Context and Summary

This lesson is intended for a secondary school digital media class, ranging from grade 9 upwards, falling
under British Columbia’s applied designs, skills and technologies (ADST) curriculum. It takes place within
the greater context of a unit introducing graphic design principles and the creation of common design
objects. The focus of this specific lesson is a brief exploration of the logo as a design object, including its
ubiquity in society, its links to the broader concepts of symbolism, the elements it can consist of, and
how one creates an effective example. The lesson generally adopts a project based model, as described
by Kokotsaki, Menzies and Wiggins (2016) with the primary question or problem consisting of “What
would an effective logo for our school consist of?”, followed by an opportunity to create said logo as a
learning artefact. The lesson concludes with an opportunity to share the artefact and reflect on the
learning that has taken place via a digital portfolio.

Situated within an ongoing unit, the lesson takes advantage of previously acquired learning experiences
and large-scale scaffolding to support student success and maintain focus on the specific learning
objectives. As such students will have already explored and developed knowledge of basic design
theory, including typography, colour theory and element composition. Further, students will have had
the opportunity for an initial investigation into the contextual nature of symbolism, and how different
cultures and social groups may view various design elements such as colours and particular shapes.
Finally, previous design experiences will have provided students with the skills and competencies
necessary to utilize design software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

The lesson itself consist of three primary sections or activities, reflecting a need for students to
personally define what a logo is, plan the creation of an effective logo for the school, and execute said
creation. The first activity consists of a group mind-mapping session where students identify and share
their existing knowledge around logos, followed by a comparison to a common definition, permitting
the syntheses of a new common understanding of the term. The second section focuses on paired web-
research, with the students utilizing the inquiry question, the shared results from the brainstorm, and
their experiences as members of the school community to guide them in identifying potential imagery
and design ideas that would speak to the context of the school. The research and identified ideas will
from the basis of a design proposal which will be shared with the teacher and receive formal feedback.
The final activity will be the actual development of the logo, with students individually utilizing the
digital tools of their choice to execute their design plan. Opportunities will be provided throughout this
activity for students to receive formative feedback from both the teacher and their peers. Completed
designs will then be uploaded to digital portfolios for further comments and a final reflection/self-
assessment on the part of the student.

Established Practices and Classroom Structures

The lesson takes place in an environment where digital portfolio use and regular reflections have been
established, and reflections on learning provide the primary basis for assessment. Students are also
familiar with the regular occurrence of brainstorming/mind-mapping activities and the use of digital
tools, such as personal smart phones and class based iPads, to document the process and results. The
classroom itself is a computer lab with access to graphic design software. However, there is also open
space available for seating to be rearranged to facilitate group discussions.

Links to Core Concepts: Epistemological and Constructivist Views of Knowledge

This lesson attempts to approach the concept of knowledge in manner that acknowledges the validity of
both epistemological theories and constructivist concepts. Working first from the constructivist
perspective, this lesson treats knowledge as the product of learners seeking to find meaning through the
continual reorganization of information acquired through learning experiences, and avoids what von
Glasersfeld (2013) describes as the “…widespread notion that conceptual knowledge can be transferred
from teacher to student by means of words.” Further, by identifying and exploring their existing,
personal concepts of logos during the initial mind-map activity, students are given the opportunity to
have their own personal contexts, or what Ruitenberg (2012) describes as their “ways of knowing”
validated. This also acknowledges the potential relativist nature of students’ existing knowledge due to
being what Swoyer (2003) describes as “culturally and historically situated creatures”.

However, this lesson also recognizes that knowledge, from an epistemological perspective, can be
viewed as externally acquired, objective, justified, empirical truths, as outlined by Pritchard (2014).
There are generally accepted facts and commonly agreed upon definitions regarding logos, and these
must be acknowledged in some part by students, less the personal understandings they develop fall too
far outside conventional meanings. To facilitate this, students are provided a common definition of a
logo near the end of the mind-map activity to compare to the meanings they have developed and
modify them if necessary.

Links to Core Concepts: Constructivist Oriented Learning Activities

So (2002) states that “Constructivist theories of cognitive development emphasize the active role of
learners in building their own understanding of reality”. With this in mind, the lesson places the learners
at the centre of all the activities, with an emphasis on active, personalized knowledge development
through questioning, discussing, investigating, constructing and sharing versus the passive receiving of
facts and information. In an acknowledgment of the value of collaboration from a social constructivist
standpoint, Kokotsaki, Menzies and Wiggins (2016) state that students “…achieve their goals through
social interactions and the sharing of knowledge and information”. Two out of the three activities
therefore involve students working directly with others, while the third makes provisions for peer
feedback. Based on the research of Kwon and Cifuentes (2009) regarding the benefits of technology
enabled collaboration, students are also encouraged to utilize both personal and classroom devices to
record discussions and facilitate documentation.

Links to Core Concepts: Teacher as Facilitator

Fosnot (2013) states that “…teachers need to become facilitators, provocateurs, and questioners. They
must turn classrooms into workshops and structure discussions around big ideas and efficient
strategies.” Based on this definition, the teacher’s function in this lesson is to provide the necessary
supports for students to engage in collaborative dialogue, inquiry based research, and the creation of
artefacts that represent their understanding and learning. These supports include facilitating student
discussions in both the initial mind-mapping session and subsequent pair research, prompting students
to “confront new possibilities and generate new questions” (Forman, 2013) as they expand their original
concepts to include ideas from fellow students and other sources, and providing continual feedback to
overcome obstacles and correct misconceptions in what So (2013) describes as “active interaction
between teachers and learners.”

Links to Core Concepts: Assessment of Learning

Assessment for this lesson is based upon the changes in students’ knowledge and understanding of the
concept of logos and their effective creation. The initial mind-map activity is intended to provide
students the opportunity to identify and articulate their existing knowledge on the subject at hand,
preparing the way for disequilibrium. Subsequent pair research and the following solo design process
provide the additional information necessary for what Fosnot & Perry (2013) describes as “…the undoing
and reorganizing of earlier conceptions” as students seek to either assimilate or accommodate what
they have experienced and understood. Fosnot & Perry (2013) further states that “Reflective
abstraction is the driving force of learning”, supporting the inclusion of a reflection opportunity once the
final learning artefact has been submitted. This reflection will function as a self-assessment where
students express how their understanding has developed through the learning process, with the mind-
map activity and submission of the learning artefact bookending the experience.

Part B – Lesson Plan

Lesson: Introduction to Logos and their Design

Unit: Graphic Design – Design Basics
Class: Digital Media 9-11

Lesson Description Constructivist

Preliminaries Relevance
Objectives  To explore and define the concept of the logo,
including: The points allow for the
o Its ubiquity and relevance to students identification context
o Its links to the broader concepts of symbolism and relevance to help
o Its interpretation and analysis through establish meaning for
individual and group contexts students.
 To identify the unique design requirements of logos
and link them to students’ previous design
experiences. The creation of a logo
 To apply previously acquired design skills with newly allows for inquiry/
developed ideas about logos, to design a new school project based learning
crest. as defined by Kokotsaki
et al (2016).
Req. Previous Students will be building on their previous learning Scaffolding is embedded
Learning experiences that include: throughout the unit,
 Exploring and applying basic graphic design concepts with the lesson relying
including typography, colour theory and element heavily on previous
composition. learning and
 Identifying the role and importance of symbols in educational skills.
everyday communication.
 Identifying cultural perspectives that may influence or Establishes the validity
be interpreted from particular design elements, such or relativist viewpoints
as certain types of imagery or particular colour and alternate “ways of
combinations. knowing”.

Class Set-Up  Lesson will take place in a computer lab, with the
necessary software to execute the design of logos.
However, there is space to rearrange seating for both
class-wide discussions and small-group collaboration.
 Prior to the students arriving, the room is organized
with all the chairs arranged into small groups of 4 or
less, to facilitate conversation.

Lesson Sections Description Constructivist

Opening Hook  As students enter class, the teacher asks, based upon The hook establishes
(from prior to the what they already consider to be a logo, how many the relevance of logos
bell to 2-3 minutes logos they have visible on themselves, such as on their based upon their
after) shirts or shoes. The teacher then asks them to make a ubiquity in students
corresponding number of hashmarks on the front lives. While students
whiteboard, before inviting them to sit down. may not initially be able
 Once all students arrive, the number is tallied and to articulate this, they
written on the board. can observe how logos
 Once all students are seated in their small groups, the are an omnipresent
teacher invites the students to consider the total element that permeates
number of logos on display in the class and holds a 2-3 their daily existence.
minute conversation on whether this is important or
not. No recording of responses is necessary at this
Activating Previous  Once the initial discussion is complete, students are
Knowledge/Group then asked to consider the following questions:
Mind Map o When you look at a logo that you are familiar
(15-18 Minutes) with, what does it make you think of?
o Based upon your previous responses, what do
you think the role of a logo is?
o Based on your design knowledge, what
elements are logos composed of? Point at which students
 Students are given 3 minutes to individually come up consider their existing
with one 1-2 points responding to each of the knowledge and how it
questions. might relate to the
o To assist with responding to these questions, learning at hand. Sets
8-10 logos can be set to display as a rotating the stage for
slide show for students to observe while disequilibrium.
 Once the individual consideration of the questions is Allows for specific
complete, students turn to their small groups sharing of a relativist
(preferably 4) and share their responses to each of the points of view or unique
three questions. “ways of knowing”.
o Responses to the three questions are
synthesized and recorded on a digital device. First opportunity for
o Additional ideas are permitted to be spun out disequilibrium as
of the discussion and added to the responses.

o During the brainstorm, the teacher will new/other ideas are

circulate and help facilitate the conversations encountered.
while offering informal feedback on their
responses. Technology enabled
o Each response should take approximately 3-4 collaborative scenario,
minutes. incorporating social
o Once the responses are complete, the constructivist elements
students will be provided with a common, as group seek to reach
accepted definition of the term logo, and consensus on meaning.
asked to annotate or add to their initial
responses if they feel it is necessary. Throughout this activity,
o Once finished, group members will ensure the teacher is actively
each has a copy of the brainstorm results. engaged with students,
 Students are once again invited to consider the providing feedback and
ubiquity and role of logos, and reassess their initial supporting the
opinions on their importance. discussion.
Developing a Line  Students are presented with the goal of designing a Students are provided
of Inquiry new school logo and determining a line of inquiry to with an opportunity to
(5 minutes) guide their research. determine how they will
 In a short, facilitated discussion, students use their approach their research
mind maps and their knowledge of the school to and end goal in manner
similar to Reggio Emilia
determine what they feel the needs of the school are,
(Forman, 2013)
considering elements of tradition existing school
symbolism, changes in culture and style, etc.

Paired Researching  Working in pairs students will return to their Teacher maintains
& Ideating computer work stations and begin to: “active interaction” (So,
(30 minutes) o Research (15 min): Using the line of inquiry 2002) with students
ideas, students will explore existing school throughout the research
logos, and consider based upon their mind and ideating process,
map criteria what about them is suitable or but also provides
not suitable for their own school. documented written
o Ideate (15 min): Based upon research and feedback to help later
existing design requirements (such as school reflections and continue
colours, mascots and existing icons), students to prompt exploration
outline an idea and develop a design plan for
a logo, including font options, specific colour
hues and interpretations of graphics. The
design plan can be in either text or sketch
form, but must be digitally documented.
 Students submit the design plan for formal, but non-
summative assessment.
Implementing  Students utilize a graphics program to implement Teacher interaction and
Design Plan their design plan and create their logo. feedback is continued.
(30 minutes)  Halfway through the design process, students are The inclusion of peer
invited to formally observe and comment upon each suggestions maintains
other’s designs. ”Post-it” are left at each station for the collaborative

students to leave suggestions as students rotate atmosphere and

through the classroom. encourages dialogue
between students.
Portfolio  Documented mind-maps, design plans, and completed Illustrates Fosnot and
Submission designs are uploaded to students’ portfolio to Perry’s (2013) concept
illustrate the learning process and support that learning is not a
subsequent reflection. product of development
but is development.
Reflection &  Students post a reflection on the learning process Completes the lesson’s
Assessment guided by their documented evidence and the learning process by
following questions: allowing for the
o In what ways does your finished school logo “Reflective abstraction”
reflect your original ideas of what logos are? identified by Fosnot and
o In what ways does your finished logo NOT Perry (2013) that
reflect your original ideas of what logos are? enables the
o How has your definition of what logo is and restructuring and
does been altered? reorganization of
 Assessment for the assignment is based upon the knowledge as it
student identifying how their knowledge has changed assimilates or
and how closely it aligns with expected curricular accommodates new
learning outcomes. information.
o Deficiencies can be addressed with additional
formative assessment and feedback, and Assessment is based
opportunities for additional reflection. upon what students
o Summative assessment will be applied at the have actually learned
end of the unit. While this lesson is not through the
directly assessed at this time, it will form a inquiry/project based
part of the spectrum of learning that will be learning expereince and
considered during summative assessment. it fits within the broader
spectrum of learning
within the unit, rather
than the results of a out
of context test or other
traditional form of
summative assessment.


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