Can’t Live without ‘Em

Reflect on your own use of laptop in the classroom.

In many ways I feel as though art class should provide a reprieve of sorts for students, a chance for them to disconnect from their laptops/technology and work with their hands.  As we heard from Joann Deak earlier this week, it is so important to stretch students’ brains to use the weaker modalities.  Since the visual learning modality is often strongest, the time for students to engage their hands in motor and bodies in kinesthetic activities is essential. I designate the majority of my class time for studio work.  However, a one-to-one laptop program is integral to how I organize instruction and plan for and facilitate student learning.

Students use their laptops daily to document their progress on projects.  It is standard operating procedure that students take a quick photo or two of their project with Photo Booth before their set up their workspace and beginning to work.  After a few class periods of studio time students take a class or two to reflect on their work in a blog post (example 1, example 2) and they include their pictures in their posts.  The first time students wrote blog posts I didn’t provide enough support for them, taking for granted that they knew how to troubleshoot, provide proper attribution for pictures, and add tags, links, etc.  In the meantime I’ve developed self- and peer review checklists to ensure that students include all the required elements in their posts.  These have led to a big improvement in the quality of their posts.

I use Google Docs to share rubrics, activity forms, and project expectations.  Initially this was cumbersome as it was necessary to create email lists from our rosters and students would inevitably forget to change the title of the documents, but our school has recently decided to test Teacher Workspace for Google Apps and I’m hoping this solves some of these logistical and organization issues.

Between projects students use their laptops to research art-related topics in preparation for their next project.  I provide specific questions and links to provide structure and avoid random searching.  This has proven to be the most difficult laptop use to manage.  Students are working on their own and are easily tempted to get off-task.  My random check-in’s help curb this, but I know it still affects their ability to complete the research in a timely manner.

Overall, though, the management issues I have are fairly minimal.  I ask that students lower their screens when I am explaining something.  When they aren’t in use, students store their laptops in in designated spaces away from their desks.  I always review and reinforce appropriate behavior and expectations for technology use and I feel that because there is a common message about these expectations from the staff in the middle school, students understand what is appropriate and not.

The careful planning and preparation for the laptop program is a key reason for its success.  Students all receive the same laptop from the school so there are no issues of software compatibility or program access.  They also receive a case which is color-coded by grade level.  It seems like a small issue, but providing the case thwarts a number of problems such having parents find reasonably priced quality cases.  At the beginning of the year students spent one period every day for a week (about five hours total) learning the basic software on their laptop and getting very specific instructions about the care and use of them.  Students are aware that at any time during the day the work on their laptop can be monitored by our technology department.  They are not allowed to use their laptops during breaks and lunch and they were stored at school over winter break.  These measures help maintain a mentality that the laptops are for educational use.

Laptops are an essential component to the work and learning in my classroom.  I no longer have to worry about booking a lab, checking out cameras, and sharing thumb drives because of the hardware available to each student.  The most important part of our one-to-one program, though, isn’t the actual laptop, but rather how easily it connects us to resources.  It’s the ability to share and collaborate instantaneously via Google Docs.  It’s the ability to document and share our learning via teacher websites/blogs and student blogs.  It’s the ability to share and search pictures via Flickr and other picture sharing sites.  It’s the ability to use programs such as PhotoShop, iMovie, and Garageband to create original works.  And it’s helping give students more responsibility and ownership over their learning.

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The Future’s So Bright…

Will education as we know it change because of technology? Where and how will you be teaching in 5, 10, 15 years time?

Technology is changing education.  It is providing unprecedented access to information and connections with humans all over the world.  Niche communities are thriving and will continue to do so.

But what does it mean for the brick and mortar schools of today?  In class we’ve discussed the shift happening in education, a move from industrial era content-laden teacher-led instruction to more customized, problem-solving focused and creativity enhancing teacher guided places of learning.  Seth Godin‘s manifesto recently caught my eye and he also (in a much longer-winded, example-ridden, tirade-tended way) writes about how imperative a shift in education is to help prepare our students for the future.  He concludes, like we did in our class discussion, that college/university as we know it will soon expire because of the more nimble, connected access to knowledge we have via the internet.

I hope that age-level classrooms are soon out the window and students are in courses where their needs are met and they are challenged and empowered.  It seems simple enough, but when the current slow-changing system is based on a one-size fits all model it’s a bit more difficult.  I will avoid painting a picture of the future with tablets (or whatever the latest processor is) in all children’s hands by the time they are 3 because I think that ignores a very key question – what are students’ needs?

The importance of this question was made crystal clear by the visit of an amazing woman, Joann Deak, to ISB this week.  In a couple of her sessions this neuro-psychologist shared the implications of technology use and various instructional methods on the brain.  We’ve discussed a lot in class how important visual literacy is and how many of our students are visual learners, but Deak indicated that while our students are in the brain development stages of their lives (particularly middle school) it is important to expose them to their areas of weakness (auditory) in order to grow a more balanced brain.  She also shared how the use of laptops and games triggers the same area of the brain as cocaine or other drugs which makes them potentially addictive.

An awareness of results from neuroscience research and continued advancement in technology is what I hope leads our schools to meet our students’ and society’s needs in the future.

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Sharing Our Expertise

Initially I struggled with developing an idea for my Course 5 project.  It seemed that every idea rested squarely in the Substitution/Augmentation levels of technology use as defined in Transformation, Technology, and Education by Ruben R. Puentedura.  I quickly began to regret that my one class with a natural technology connection, Digital Photography, was a quarter-long course and would soon be ending.  That would leave me with ???? a forced technology infusion just to meet the COETAIL course requirements?  As many of us have noted in our posts about integration, it just doesn’t work to force technology into the classroom just for the sake of technology.

But in talking with Jeff, he mentioned a key shift that could move an idea to the Redefinition level and that was audience.  Expanding the community with whom students share their learning is a fundamental change that technology allows and encourages.  With this in mind I decided that 7th and 8th grade students in my third quarter 3-D art course could share their expertise in creating hand built ceramic projects via video.  This project would allow students to further develop their skills and deepen their knowledge of ceramics because teaching others would require that they carefully examine and check their own understanding.  At the same time it would provide them with more experience with different technologies, iMovie, flip cameras, and Google Docs, and provide them with an audience larger than one they would typically have.

My first question was, ‘with whom would we share them?’  Of course, YouTube could provide a large audience, but I was looking for a niche audience, one that would find the videos useful and hopefully use them to engage students in a deeper discussion about their work, knowledge, and experience.  After searching for a site suited to sharing students’ videos and coming up with nothing I turned to my own PLN.  I posted a question to the Ceramics Group on ArtEducation 2.0, ‘where would could I share students’ videos?’  This led me to an unexpected solution.  A University of Florida graduate Photo by Trista Meisnerstudent, Jeni Hansen, responded that she was creating a ceramic resource website for art educators and, perhaps, we could coordinate.  I’ve since been in touch with Jeni and we’re waiting for the final results of students’ work to see if they might be a helpful addition to her site.  Our middle technology guru is on board and will be working with us for the duration of the project.  It’s just a matter of getting to work.

The outline for my unit plan is below.  Any suggestions and feedback are most welcome!

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Flipping Out – or Not?

What is your understanding of reverse instruction and how does it apply to your curricular area, grade level, and own theory on technology in the classroom?

Much of what I have been reading about flipped classrooms and reverse instruction seems to be focused in higher level, traditionally lecture-driven classrooms.  And I’ve gotten the feeling that despite the integral part vodcasting and videoing play in the whole concept of flipped classrooms, the founders/discoverers Johnathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, might prefer that they never mentioned it.  From Flipped Learning by J. Bergmann:

But in short, we realize that the flipped class is NOT just about the videos.  In fact, the flipped class is so much more than the videos.

So, what is it?

In their recently published manifest they state that the flipped classroom mainly involves two things: transferring ownership of learning to students and identifying how to best use class time to get students actively engaged in their learning and shifting the ‘lecture’ to outside of class time.

This all makes perfect sense, but in the end I feel like it’s all about effective teaching and maximizing in class time to meet the varied needs of our students.  Flipped classrooms are another way to do this, but as they mention it depends on the school’s culture and learners’ needs.

The flooding situation in Thailand gave many of us insight as to how e-learning or more video-based learning might look for our students.  One thing that it taught us and our students is how important the face-to-face time is.  Many students struggled with working online.  They found it difficult to stay motivated and manage their time.  These are important issues to consider when moving to a flipped classroom.  Yes, the lecture outside of class can prove to be an excellent tool for relaying concepts and information to students, but will they have the motivation to watch and learn?  Certainly in higher level courses, they might, but for my middle school students?  For an art class?  Is this a valid expectation?  As Jesse Scott mentioned, “these kids will have plenty of time to work too much.”

So, I’m flipping out in another way – more in the style of Marvin Bartel than Bergmann and Sams.  I’m spending more of my time in class helping students learn how to generate their own problems and ideas before working on polished products.  Bartel calls this an Inside Out Art Curriculum.  Is there a technology component to this kind of flipping out?  Not really, except that the web is such an amazing resource for students to explore their interests, share and expand their ideas, and find ways to bring their ideas to life.  I’ve never been one for cookie cutter art projects, so by placing the focus on developing problems and ideas hopefully I’m providing students with skills they can apply in other areas of their lives and giving them the opportunity to create works that are meaningful to them.

Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

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Quality Assurance

How can teachers and schools ensure are meeting standards in an integrated model?

At the beginning of this semester twenty-four new middle school students attended ‘technology boot-camp’ to ensure they would be able to function in their classes. A survey of their experiences prior to starting at ISB indicated a wide range of skills sets. How can our school ensure that these students are able to function in their classes? Does a boot-camp of this kind work or do students need more ongoing support? Is it even necessary to explicitly teach all of the things students need to know to operate (i.e. Google Docs, WordPress, etc.) because they are digital natives and will pick up on everything quickly anyway?

Perhaps, because there are so many factors that might prevent seamless integration, we should continue separate tech courses. I don’t mean traditional tech classes focused on a particular software, but rather, flexible time or modules offered to meet students’ tech needs. For example, student A doesn’t know how to use Google Docs or WordPress, so he takes a 1 or 2-week intensive course during his Tech Time on these. Then you have B who is a tech whiz and she is enrolled in a iMovie module and then something about some tech something I don’t even know about. Or Teacher C is doing podcasts in his Science course and would like students to have more time working specifically on the tech side. His students use their Tech Time to do that for a week. Sure, it could be a scheduling and logistical nightmare, but it could also be amazing with the right planning. As it is, I’m probably already dreaming, because this Tech Time would have to come from somewhere in schedules already pressed for minutes. Because the ability to adapt to and be comfortable with new technologies is an essential skill for students, we should ensure that they leave school with them.

These classes would be need to be taught in addition to an integrated model of technology throughout the school.  Using the NETS as a framework schools can determine section (ES, MS, HS) or grade level expectations.  These should be clearly communicated and reviewed.  Ensuring that they are met is a difficult task, though, which requires a dedicated team and well-constructed plan.  The Connected Learning Community Team at YIS seems to be off to a good start with these ideas which sprouted from their work with Dr. Mary Hayden.  From Always Learning by Kim Cofino:

  1. Create a list of goals/desired results in practicalities, based on our Vision for the CLC (here’s how we developed our vision). Remember to focus on not just technology, but habits, including: social and emotional wellness, and digital citizenship.
  2. Create an audit or survey to determine if we’ve met those goals, consider running this at the beginning, (middle?) and end of the year to see where we’ve started from, as well as where we’ve gone.
  3. Create a form/format for all stakeholders to regularly record what they’ve seen based on the desired results – basically a way for us to continually gather evidence about our successes and challenges through multiple perspectives.
  4. Develop a case study group, to ensure regular reflection and feedback with a specific group composed of students, teachers and parents (similar to the team that worked together to develop our program).
  5. Add software to image that tracks when students are online and what they’re doing – we can ask students to run the software during orientation. (What does this mean for student privacy?)
  6. Use student blogs as a record of their development, interest and use of technology tools to connect, communicate, share and collaborate.
  7. Try some experiments: for example: run parallel classes: same class – one with tech, one without – to see the impact that technology is having on a day-to-day basis. Or use text messaging to see how students are using text messaging (What are you doing now? What do you think about what you’re doing?)

So often in education plans are implemented, but reviews of their success or challenges somehow get lost in the shuffle.  This program seems like a multi-faceted approach that allows for reflection, evaluation, and experimentation.  It will be interesting to watch as this vision gets translated into reality.

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To integrate

It was 1988.  As I peered out of the dingy bus window I saw him, the hot new high school guy.  I didn’t know his name or story, but I knew he was fond of INXS.  He wore a shirt emblazoned with “Kick”, their latest album, along with his black and white Vision Street Wear shoes.  Ahhh… what a dreamboat.  I needed to find out about this band, INXS, and in a small, farm town before the days of the Internet this was a bit of a challenge.  So, I did the best I could and I bought a cassette tape.  Soon the lyrics of every song were implanted in my head.  Living in the country we didn’t have access to cable, so I taped Friday Night Videos in hopes that they would feature a song from the album.  None of this got me any closer to the hot guy, but at least it introduced me to an excellent band.

What does this have to do with technology?  Nothing, really, besides an illustration of how different the access to music and popular culture was for 12-year old Trista (1988) and a 12-year old (2012).

Actually what really brought this long forgotten experience to mind was the word INTEGRATE.  Thinking and reading about got me singing a song from that INXS album, Mediate.  They never once mention integrate, but it would fit right in.

YouTube Preview Image

All teachers should be integrating technology.  It’s a tool for learning and like any tool it should used where it best supports and facilitates what is being learned in the classroom.  As an add-on, forced into curricula where it doesn’t fit, it becomes awkward and cumbersome and essentially takes away from learning or changes the focus of the learning solely to the technology itself rather than in combination with the other learning goals of the course.

Completely embedding technology within the curriculum is one of those ideas that sounds great in theory, but currently doesn’t quite do what it’s intended to do.  Ideally technology would be seamlessly integrated in what students are doing and learning in the classroom. However, this requires a number of integral components that don’t always seem to happen.

Right now I think the biggest roadblock to successful integration is a staff that is sufficiently educated about technology.  Many of us are creeping along with technology rather than embracing it and flying with it.  Often this isn’t an intentional, but with so many demands and other concerns, finding the time to become comfortable using the different forms of technology and integrating them into the classroom often ends up at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list.  Using technology also requires a mind-set that is open to risks, mistakes, and failures which reflects that major shift that is happening in education right now.  It’s an opportunity for teachers to model life long learning skills.  Schools and their districts have to provide the time, training, and support for teachers to reach the goal of successfully embedding technology.  In a recent post Clarence Fischer referred edtech as developing Makers and Connectors and I agree that that should be one of the major goals of tech integration.

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Casting It Out There

I first realized creating screencasts might be in my immediate future when we had our extended October/flood break.  The Digital Photography course I teach had started just a couple weeks before and there were so many logistical protocol issues that we hadn’t quite worked out.  Students were uploading their photos to Flickr and writing blog posts about their work, but I feared that without some support and guidance my written online directions would fail miserably in helping students complete their work.  I started toying with Screencasts, but I was never able to devote the time necessary to learning the in’s and out’s of that service during our extra week off.   Missed opportunity.

Fast forward to our return to school.  Some students were able to decipher the written instructions and create high quality work.  Others were stumped by a technical issue here or there which was easily resolved by an email, but could have easily been avoided with screencast.  And other students didn’t realize that e-learning applied to all their elective classes.  We spent the first week reviewing and catching students up.  I felt like this was another missed opportunity because some of the issues we were dealing with in class could have been resolved or at least eased if students had had the ability to watch or review a screencast at home or on their own.  More class time could have been designated to other discussions or problems that were encountering if the basic and logistical issues were covered by a screencast.

Shortly after our return we started using Photoshop and I found that there are wildly varying abilities and skill levels with the program among students in class.  There are a couple students with a great deal of experience and several with some, but most of the students were beginners.  I used short step-by-step demonstrations of a particular tool or option and then gave students time to experiment and create mini-projects as a gauge for what skills they were acquiring.  This seemed like a solid plan, but as we began working I started to worry that it was becoming an epic fail.  Even with two highly skilled in PS part-time IA’s I was having trouble making my way around to help students with individual questions and issues.  Although I included links to websites and tutorials on my class website, I discovered that they were often even more confusing or it was difficult for students to find the information they were searching for.

Enter screencasts.  (finally)

It took me a while to jump into screencasts.  I felt intimidated by putting my voice with a lesson online.  Working on videos in our last COETAIL class helped ease me into the whole idea, but I really just didn’t want to have to expose myself any more than necessary.  Now that I’ve a chance to spend some time creating and experimenting, I think I’ll soon wonder how I taught without them.  They will such a helpful resource for students who want to move ahead, review, or just catch up because they’ve missed a day of class.

I decided that for each lesson I did in class I would produce a short screencast of the same material so students could easily review on their own at home or in class.  With brief videos students should be able to find the information and assistance they are looking for quickly and easily.  My goal is for students to use the screencasts to help them become more proficient and confident in their skills.  Once they master the basics they will be more aware of the potential of Photoshop and they can wrap their minds around what they can creatively do with it.

It’s taken me a while to get comfortable and I’m still not there yet, but I’m on my way.  The screencasts may be too late for much impact this quarter, but there’s hope for the future.  This is not my first attempt, but my most successful thus far.  I’m not happy with the audio coming from the computer  – the clicks and typing are distracting – and the keypad entry showing up onscreen doesn’t work as well as I’d hoped, but overall I get the point across.  I’m still playing with which screencast software works best for me (so please disregard the ScreenFlow watermark – I haven’t committed).  Suggestions for improvement are most welcome!

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The Sgt. Pepper Sprayer Story

The crux of Course 3 has been about the message – how to best use design and technology to get the message across.  It’s also been about gaining awareness of how the message reflects the values of the people sending it and how advertising and media can skew the message in one way or another.

"Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth edited by Brady Hall via Pepper Spraying Cop Tumblr

The story of Sgt. Pepper (Lt. John Pike, U.C. Davis campus police officer) may have been just another Occupy Wall Street news clip if  Pepper Spraying Cop (warning: comments inappropriate for school use) hadn’t been created.  The power of Pepper Spraying Cop is in the visual and satirical representation of the pepper spraying event, but it’s also in the collaboration of the community via the web.  Across the States people are contributing their own mash-ups to the cause.

This week in Digital Photography (grades 7-8) we are going to take some time to discuss the outbreak of Pepper Spraying Cop via Tumblr and numerous other media outlets (i.e. Huffington Post, The Washington Post) .  Students have been learning about the use of Creative Commons and dabbling in Photoshop for the past couple weeks.  I’m looking forward to hearing their perspectives and reactions to how this all applies to the ‘real world’.  I’m not expecting that many are too familiar with the OWS movement, but from the images they’ll be able to infer some of the main issues.  We will use some of the strategies from Visual Thinking and questions from The Visual Literacy White Paper to help with this visual literacy lesson.   Hopefully students will connect the work they are doing in class with the potential for raising awareness and affecting change (or at least decide they’d like to attempt their own rendition of Pepper Spraying Cop).

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Everything Zen

It wasn’t surprising to discover that Garr Reynolds lives in Japan.  The principles he established for Presentation Zen reflect the simple, subtle, and practical, yet engaging and complex characteristics of traditional Japanese aesthetics.  I also wasn’t surprised when further digging in the Presentation Zen website lead to articles relating design and presentation to Japanese art.

The following are a couple of my favorites:

10 Design Lessons from the Art of Ikebana

7 Japanese Aesthetic Principles to Change Your Thinking

These posts got me thinking about my presentations, yes, but as a very visual person* many of my presentations followed his principles (not because of any genius on my part, but merely because that’s my learning style).  They also got me thinking about the spaces I work in, live in, and my students learn in.  It made me closely consider how I organize the all the information I pass along to students, not just a presentation here and there.

Maybe it’s because our furniture was perched high above ground because of the impending flood waters or simply because I had some time to gain perspective on everything during October break, but since returning to school I’ve been working on making my classroom set-up more intentional and student-friendly.  Of course, this is something I thought about at the beginning of the year, but since it was a new room in a new school I wasn’t sure how everyone and everything would flow.  Now we’ve been in school for over a quarter I have a much better idea of how it can be organized.  Labels have been made, unnecessary supplies put away, a projector moved to make better use of the space. The same has been happening at home.  Moving the furniture for the floods has given me fresh ideas on how to better arrange and organize our house.  Now we just need some time to paint.

AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by Ame Otoko

Some rights reserved by Ame Otoko via Flickr

Now that I’m officially addicted to the PZ site I am finding more and more articles that resonate with me.  Although creativity is one of the four Learning and Innovation Skills 21st century skills, it tends to be the one that people find most threatening.  The ‘you’re either creative or you’re not’ mythology holds firm deep in the hearts of many.  As an art teacher I feel one of my most important duties to my students (middle school as they are, that ‘make or break’ phase) is to help them see themselves as creative individuals.  It is a skill (like others) that can be learned and improved with practice and guidance.  I struggle with providing them with the time (it’s always about the TIME!) to work through their problems, challenges, and mistakes, to incubate an idea for a while, to fully engage in and enjoy the process of creating while maintaining a vigilant watch on standards, term deadlines, and grading/reporting.  That’s why I enjoyed reading the You Are Creative posts #1 and #2.  They’ve reminded me of and helped solidify my ideals.

Here’s to taking some time…
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Additions to reading list:  Presentation Zen (the book) by Reynolds and If You Want to Write:  A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Ueland  (This is why I’m scared to get a Kindle.)

*

Some rights reserved

 

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Do You Love Technology?

I’m no Kip.  I’m a self-diagnosed technophobe.  It’s not that I don’t see that value in technology .  It’s just that my person tends to create all kinds of issues with anything technology-related.  Similar to learning Thai and trying to impose English grammar conventions on the language, my brain over-complicates and confuses things that are really quite simple and efficient.  Hardware issues abound in my presence.  It’s as though I were composed of techno-kryptonite.  I’ve learned the presences of an outside observer is necessary to determine the true source of techno-issues because I assume any problems I have with technology are because of me and not another more-easily solved solution.

It’s with this handicapped state of mind that I am using technology in my classes.  I had started using Google Apps a few months before joining COETAIL and could immediately see how they could impact my teaching and student learning.  I used a Google site as my class website and it was an excellent tool for communicating homework and class activities and sharing resources*.

Since joining COETAIL I’ve introduced students to Netvibes and Flickr in addition to maintaining class websites.  The value in the class websites has expanded to provide students with the opportunity to have more choice in their work and allow them to work at their own pace.  They have much more autonomy because they can follow the steps described for reflecting and assessing their work and research using the resources available for them.  I think it’s our 1-to-1 laptop program, our school’s emphasis on technology, and the widespread use of it in all classes that helps students be savvy enough to navigate through the site on their own.  However, having said that, I’ve also made assumptions about students’ proficiency and found that I’ve been way off target.  (for example, me:  “Hey class, are you familiar with Google Docs? Can you __,__, __?” Class: (resounding) “YES!”  Me two days later thinking: “why didn’t anyone bother to share their work with me?”)  I’ve learned that even if I think and students think they know how to do something, it’s best if I go through it with them step-by-step the first few times.

I’ve started using diigo and have signed up for a Twitter account (that’s it, just signed up – oh, and checked the #thaifloodeng feed a couple times).  I’m still in the early stages of figuring them out.  I love Netvibes for keeping me up to date on what is happening on the blogs I enjoy reading.

More important than the applications I am using with my students or on my own, though, is a shift in my thinking on a number of levels and topics.  I am more convinced that our concept of schools and education is just beginning to undergo a huge change.  One-size fits all education shouldn’t be imposed on our students.  It’s not a one-size fits all world and they certainly don’t have a one-size fits all future.  The increasing amount of sharing and collaboration via the Internet is exciting and has so much potential.  I am constantly asking myself if what is happening in my classroom reflects these changes.  More and more I’m finding ways for students to work to their skill level and at their own pace rather than expecting everyone to work together on the same thing.  I am trying to clarify and focus on the main visual art and life skills that students will need and find multiple ways of ensuring students develop them rather than zeroing in on bits and pieces of factoids and information.

Technology is a major part of this change in education.  However, as I think our week of e-learning has shown, we can provide resources, guides, videos, lessons, and work via websites and Moodles, but students need the social setting a school provides and the support that can only come from the adults who are around to help them.  In the end, technology is a tool and merely a tool.

* I’d love to share the site with you, but in my unique way of complicating things I thought I had to purchase a domain name to create a Google site.  I did so for a mere $10/year.  I also had aspirations of our families joining the domain, sharing calendars and private family blogs – a ‘seeing the potential defect’.  I was constantly switching between this account and my regular gmail account and I was paying for something that was easily had for free.  By the time I realized the purchased site wasn’t necessary I was in too deep, but didn’t realize I could transfer it to another account.  I’ve since let that account expire without ever transferring it over to another account.

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