For most families, housing is the area of need that requires the greatest expenditure of money over the lifespan.   In the Family and Consumer Sciences classroom, students create a book that explains the process of making wise decisions about housing.  First, they analyze the needs of a family, including how their values, the type of family and the stage of the family life cycle, affect their choices. They’ll write the text, upload it into the Moodle as a rough draft, then I’ll edit it and they’ll revise.  In the second section, they use on-line resources (Google Earth, City Report, Zillow and Great Schools) to critique a particular location.  Following the same editing procedure, they save the final draft.  The third section of text explains the mortgage process, including cost of the house (realtor.com) down-payment, current interest rate, type of mortgage, monthly payment, and total expenditure over the life of the loan. They'll use the loan calculator in the Moodle for the financial calculations. The next step is to use an on-line floor plan design tool to lay out the floor plan.  We’ve used furniture stores free, on-line tools in the past, but right now I’m investigating other options, such as Floorplanner.  Has anyone used free, on-line floor plan software that you would recommend? To illustrate the aesthetics of the spaces, the students use Colourlovers and Color Scheme Generators.  All of these sections are added to Mixbook, or another on-line publisher.  They'll add photos from their own collection or search using Creative Commons, attribution and share-alike license or Google Images advanced search for images licensed for reuse. The students are totally engaged in the project, and the final products are amazing demonstrations of critical thinking and evaluation! 

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Tags: colorscheme, colourlovers, creativecommons, floorplan, googleearth, housing, interiordesign, mixbook, mortgage, zillow

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