A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the Noun Project is a website that's creating a global visual language of symbols and icons. With the hope that this language will help people from all over the world communicate, they're accepting icons from numerous artists and designers. Kids may be drawn to the goofier icons (a guy on the toilet, a dog sniffing another dog's rear), but there's definitely the possibility for learning or, at the very least, reflecting on what it would be like to communicate only visually.
What's it about?
THE NOUN PROJECT is a website that aims to build a global visual language of symbols and icons that everyone can understand. Its creators believe that \"symbols can transcend cultural and language barriers and deliver concise information effortlessly and instantaneously.\" Users can either download previously created icons or add their own to the project. You can sign up for a free account with an email address and a password.
If you download an icon for your own use, you either must attribute it to the designer or pay a fee (usually $1.99) to purchase it unattributed. If someone purchases your design, the money will be deposited directly into your PayPal account monthly. The Noun Project uses Creative Commons licensing to give designers the creative rights to own and share their work as desired.
Is it any good?
Hundreds of artists and designers have contributed their own icons to the project, and, all together, the language they're creating is quite a sight. Some of the icons are silly, like the cupcake- and donut-laden Sugar Suite collection. Some are beautiful, and others are very clear visual representations. The project itself is a huge, ambitious undertaking, and it's neat to see it grow as more people add their symbols.
It's hard to figure out the end goal right now. Will the language become official at some point? Will the site include all the icons featured, or will it narrow them down? The Noun Project, a relatively new start-up, may still be figuring these things out, too. Some icon sets are repetitive; trendy moustaches and food items pop up everywhere, while more serious icons may not get the attention they need. Practical uses include helping autistic kids communicate; a fist icon from the Noun Project was used extensively during the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Talk to your kids about ...
Ask your kids if there are any symbols on the site they disagree with. How would they rather represent that idea in a picture? Give them pen and paper and ask them to draw.
Ask your kids to write a sentence, and then, while looking at the site, help them find the icons that match the sentence's message. What's different about communicating visually?
- Subjects: Language & Reading: naming, vocabulary
Social Studies: cultural understanding, global awareness
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: deduction, memorization, strategy
Creativity: combining knowledge, innovation
Communication: conveying messages effectively, multiple forms of expression
Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
- Genre: Educational
- Price: Free to browse
- Pricing structure: Free
For kids who love designing graphics
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