Thursday, November 3, 2011

Doodling the News with DoodleBuzz

Arguably there are many news aggregators available today to use in the classroom, perhaps even too many, but selecting from those that have a unique way of presenting information allows students to think about the news from a different vantage point. As we mentioned in a previous post, Newsmap was one of our favorites. It helps students with the skills of decoding information based on size, frequency and proximity of events, as well as helping them learn to look at the news at a glance to make connections between currency and importance.

Created using DoodleBuzz


We recently started using another news aggregator called DoodleBuzz. This is no ordinary amalgamation of information based on a selection of criteria, organized into a pre-determined display, such as Newsmap. Although Newsmap presents the information from Google's news aggregator in an efficient, eye-catching way, it is still linear in nature. DoodleBuzz is anything but linear and bills itself as a typographic news explorer. It's designed to lead the viewer to explore information in an organic way through chance and discovery.
Created using DoodleBuzz
“You may start at Iraq but end up finishing on Britney, whilst taking in The Catholic Church, Global Warming and 50 Cent.”
Essentially, DoodleBuzz provides you with a blank canvas for drawing. To start, open DoodleBuzz, type your search term, and click go. For your results, simply doodle any shaped line you like to layout the information for your news journey. As the mouse rolls over each line in the results, the title turns red and becomes enlarged. To see an excerpt of the article, doodle a line from the title. Click on the excerpt to be taken to the original source of the full text article. Holding down the space bar lets you see your original map, and clicking toward the edges of the black square will bring back areas out of view, much like using Google maps.

The one thing to remember when using this with students is that it’s supposed to be a fun way to explore the news and not a search to a specific event. A good place to start is to give all students the same search term, but let them design the path they want to take. Invite them to share their findings as a way to demonstrate the connections they took in looking at the news.

DoodleBuzz is the dream aggregator for the visual thinker and relates to what we featured in an earlier post on learning by doodling with Sunni Brown. The process of organically taking information on a spontaneous path can lead to new discoveries and ideas. Using DoodleBuzz with students can allow them to journey through the news to make personal connections that they might not have taken if done in a more linear environment. It allows them to change the way they think about information by the sheer nature of how they draw their lines to extend their search.

Created using DoodleBuzz



Brendan Dawes is the creative designer behind DoodleBuzz. He explores the interplay of people, code, design, and art in his work. His website features an eclectic mix of digital and analog objects, including toys and projects. DoodleBuzz is also part of the recent Talk To Me exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

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