Smartart Case Study

Business processes, hierarchies and goals can be difficult to effectively communicate.

While many applications on the market can help you in the design process, the cost of entry for these can far outweigh the need.

For example, you might have a medium to large business hierarchy diagram that is constantly changing. With employees constantly coming and going, you need an easy way be sure that the information in the graphic is kept up to date.

If this is a need that your business has, Microsoft Word, the most popular word processing program, has many features that can help you get started. There is a graphic feature called SmartArt that can help you create simple, flexible diagrams. Going beyond Microsoft Word, SmartArt is also available in several of the other Microsoft Office programs including Excel, Visio and PowerPoint.

SmartArt includes a graphic solution for lists, processes, cycles, hierarchies, relationships and more. After you decide the appropriate format, SmartArt includes two contextual tabs that allow you to control the design and format of the graphic. The items in the graphic are controlled through the Text Pane and work similar to a bullet list, where you can create top-level items and then sub-items as needed.

The individual shapes of a SmartArt graphic can be designed independently, or you can control the overall design to maintain a consistent look. In addition, when you change a font size of one SmartArt object, all related items will change their size proportionally.

One of the best ways I have implemented SmartArt at the Digital Workshop Center is to create a simple infographic to help explain our certification programs.

An infographic is a graphical way to describe our services, combining text and graphic elements to convey the information in a unique way. SmartArt allows me to create a simple infographic within an existing Office document and avoid the time involved with using a graphics program such as Adobe Photoshop.

SmartArt is one of the many tools that are underutilized in the Microsoft Office suite. One of the comments about SmartArt I regularly hear in our classes is “I had no idea that existed in Microsoft Office!” I encourage you to try inserting it into your next Office document and start creating a SmartArt diagram for yourself.


A Road to Follow: Methods, Structure and Tools for Replication

Project SMARTArt Students using Media, Art, Reading, and Technology) represents a significant break-through for implementing media literacy programs within schools. A federal demonstration grant sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts led the Center for Media Literacy, the Music Center Education Division, AnimAction, Inc. and Los Angeles Unified School District's Leo Politi Elementary school to a new understanding of media literacy, and to a new guiding principle for implementation programs: that media literacy and the arts inform one another as disciplines for teaching and learning, and that these disciplines can be integrated with all other academic content areas, while meeting state education standards.

With ongoing professional development and with appropriate tools, teachers are able to internalize information process skills. Once they understand these process skills, they are able to apply them to any media content and to transform their teaching, without the need for a "cookbook" approach, reliant only on textbooks. Instead, teachers can use fresh media content while teaching to state standards. With a deeper understanding of a media literacy framework, teachers help their students to learn in a new way, preparing students with lifelong learning skills of critical analysis and self-expression applicable in a global media culture.

Project SMARTArt yielded steps forward both in teaching practices and in theory that impacts the fields of media literacy and the arts.

Continue with, "A Road to Follow: Methods, Structure and Tools for Replication":

by Tessa Jolls and Denise Grande. 
As featured in Arts Education Policy Review, Volume 107, Number 1, Sept/Oct, 2005, pp. 25-30

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