Saturday, December 11, 2010

Balancing Creativity Via the Web

There's a lot of background thought that has to go into planning something as big as putting yourself out there on the web for the whole world, let alone the students you are teaching, to see and use as a base-camp of operations within the classroom. I chose to take my website development a bit further than this class asked of us, not simply incorporating one lesson to be accessed and participated in, but the start of a site that I could use more frequently throughout the school year, within any school setting.
My eCoach was a great tool to use. The templates were somewhat (because I don't quite fall into the category of a novice, nor a native when it comes to technology) easy to navigate through, adding images, links and subcategories where needed. If I had found this site a few years ago, my classroom would have been that much more technology driven. Why is it that no one ever shares this kind of pertinent knowledge with the rest of the "common" teacher-folk, that we have to invest in our graduate degree to experience it (I ask myself as I write)?
The program takes a bit of time to develop, I have found, but is well worth the effort. In the end, my students will be able to interact with my class in and outside of school, administrators will be able to view a portfolio of my past student's work and my own, and parents will also be able to include themselves in this education conversation, because all of the information will be there (linked from whichever school district I end up teaching in), so hopefully their support of the arts will increase ten-fold as well. That is my hope.
Art is a language that is everywhere, but if kids are never exposed to what else the world has to offer them, beyond the small expanse of their known world, they'll not understand the importance of thinking creatively and critically, just going about their business in the areas of Reading and Math, forgetting the facts that letters and numbers were derived from artists and then came the rest.
I'm glad to have had this opportunity to grow my knowledge and to begin to take steps toward a more technologically-friendly tomorrow. Your feedback is welcome.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Real World Applications

Any individual person, not just those who are endeavored for learning, or for that of higher learning, are looking for purpose to the life that they are leading. We, as teachers/educators, have our wok cut out for us these days. Students are crying out for relevance to what they are learning and regurgitating to receive that final grade. When the material does not relate at all to the world they are living in, constantly battling, each day they quickly loose interest and become complacent, resorting to just going through the motions. So, it is our duty to incorporate as much of what they are engaged in outside of school, within the brick and mortar of our educational institutions. By tapping into the technology-laden society and incorporating tools that they can also use later on for other endeavors outside of the classroom, a.k.a. hybrid learning, teachers will find that their students will begin learning without knowing that they are learning. Art teachers have an opportunity that is more vast than the regular educator, in that their hands-on dimensional projects within the classroom can be aptly enhanced by incorporation of technology. Students are never bored with what they are learning, if they think that they are having fun, and enjoying what they are learning. The Arts provide this for many people, through enjoyment and satisfaction of producing something that comes naturally, that of expressing themselves. The inclusion, rather than expulsion of technology, whether through online discussions, reflections, or self testing of the material, relevant information that is related to the topic at hand will not only enhance but produce higher level, critically-thinking learners in an environment that a majority of students may know better than the instructors themselves, therefore providing an opportunity for growth on both sides of the learning spectrum.