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Heather Kaplan (November)
Heather is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Education at University of Texas El Paso. She holds a BFA in Art and a BS and MS in Art Education from the Pennsylvania State University, teaching licensure in the state of Pennsylvania, and a Ph. D in Art Education from the Ohio State University. She is an artist, educator, and researcher. Heather has worked in the schools, museums, community education, early childhood education, and in higher education. As an artist Heather works primarily in ceramics but also enjoys other sculptural materials, drawing, and watercolor. Heather’s research focuses are studio art making and early childhood art education, and she considers her research to inform and be informed by her teaching and artistic practices. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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« Pointers on Video Production | Main | Planning for the Best Year Ever »

June 26, 2015

Transitioning to Technology Integration

From: Janine Campbell

This upcoming school year will mark the fourth year I have worked with a Learning Management System to put it all online. And when I say all, I mean all. Lesson plans, examples, presentations, quizzes, as well as the way students turn in their work has all been facilitated through online means; I use Schoology to facilitate this. My school is a 1:1 environment and students have access to their computers all day, everyday.

In order to make the most of this resource and to ensure it works in a Visual Arts classroom, here are three considerations as your classroom or school transitions to more technology integration.



Start with the end in mind: Backward design is nothing new. Art teachers do this naturally because we often start our work with an understanding of how we would like it to look in the end. This ability to visualize end results before starting is an advantageous tool to employ when deciding to put your class online. When starting, I was most concerned with students being able to access information when they were absent or need remediation. I was also focused on student publication through Artsonia (www.artsonia.com) and wanted students to be in charge of taking pictures and uploading the work on their own. Using online tools not only help students by empowering them with information and access to tools, it also gives me a chance to keep a pulse on learning by monitoring activity in a different way. Having a clear vision for how you want your class to work before you get started will help you select the right online tools and use them to build your model.

 

Build up to it: I have been using a blended method of instruction through technology for years. I did not arrive at my current method overnight. It started through the implementation of Artsonia, then the use of a website to keep resources and tools, and it has lead up to my current use of Schoology to organize all of those pieces in one place. I am not sure I would have been able to do all of it overnight, or even in one year. By selecting one or two tools each year to implement and building off of those experiences to introduce new tools and methods, I allowed myself the opportunity to explore ideas without being overwhelmed. There are so many different online platforms and tools to work with, do not feel like you have to learn them all at once. The key to making it work for your classroom is to give yourself the space to explore and adapt.



Have a backup plan: One thing you can guarantee about using technology in your classroom is that there will be a moment (or two, or three) it will not work. As planned as you may be as a teacher, the lesson you spent all weekend on may not work due to a network issue or blocked website. Having a backup plan is important. I would also recommend checking your posture towards any technology problems that arise. I strive to model appropriate calm behavior when something is not working because it is a life skill all students will have to learn as we become more and more dependent on a variety of technology tools. Teaching students how to behave in crisis is just as important as how we behave when all is well and can translate to almost any situation.



Technology has transformed my classroom into a more student-centered environment and has given me the opportunity to work with students in many new ways. Although I have enjoyed this transition, it is also important to regulate the ratio of screen time and hands-on work time you are giving students. I have a specific place in my classroom where computers are stored so that they are safe from messy materials like paint, clay, and the like. Giving students a clear space for how and when to use computers is just as important as any other material being used in the classroom.

And although new digital tools can be great, integration is not about the technology itself; it is about what you do with it. By having a clear vision and building up a strong pedagogy of how it can be used to push learning further, you and your students will find reward and success along the way.

How do you incorporate technology in your classroom? What are some ways you have made it work to best serve you and your students?

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