Many teachers give handouts of some sort in the classroom. Whether these are syllabi, activities or homework, the content of the handout is only half of the document. The other half is the visual elements: graphics, page layout, typography, etc. While lots of thought and energy went into the creation of the content, often the visual elements of the document are ignored. Teachers should be concerned about these elements because research has shown that visual design affects both the comprehension and usability of teaching materials.
This workshop will urge teachers to think about these elements, and offer some simple, concrete suggestions in the form of best practices for improving the visual design of classroom materials. It is intended for any teacher, at any level, who creates his or her own handouts.
The workshop will begin by reviewing some key concepts related to visual design and why they are important. Next the presenter will offer some best practices for teacher-writers to consider. Afterwards the presenter will demonstrate how these best practices can be applied to materials using common word processing software.
Participants should come away from the workshop with a greater understanding of what the visual elements of a document are, how these visual elements affect usability, and how they can improve their own materials.
Cameron Romney has taught ESL/EFL in both the United States and Japan for the last 18 years. He holds an MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Colorado at Denver and is an assistant professor in the Global Communications Faculty of Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. His primary research interest is how the visual elements of language learning materials contribute to, or detract from, learning. He has published numerous papers on the subject, is a regular presenter at conferences all over the world, and will be a Featured Speaker at
the 2015 JALT International Conference in Shizuoka.