Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Celebrating Malala

The students and teachers of the Visual Arts Department of Northbrook High School are excited about a project we are working on to honor Malala Yousufzai, the young lady from Pakistan who was shot for standing up for her rights to education. The students, after viewing an article about Malala's plight, are each creating an original work of art based on a picture of Malala. These pictures will be combined in a video tribute. The students are using twenty-first century technology to gain an awareness of the artist as world event commentator, and they have hadd the opportunity to see how valuable their own education is.
More to come as the project progresses.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tool #11 - Self Assessing and Reflecting

For your final 11 Tools post, answer these questions:

1. What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.
I think that Google docs will have the most immediate impact for me as a teacher, not only interacting with my students, but also with my peers. As mentioned in a previous blog, I plan to use Google docs as the collection method for assigning the students a project for collecting definitions of the Art Elements.
2. How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? How has your vision for your classroom changed? Are you going to need to make any changes to your classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner?
First of all, I really enjoyed the video by Sir Ken Robinson. It really encapsulated well the need fro a new paradigm shift. I would like to take a somewhat less linear view of my class and incorporate more flexibility in my assignments.One lesson I have taken from all this is that the student will gain more if they are accessing the knowledge, rather than me just spoon feeding it to them. As far as changes to the classroom, the new iMac and Wacom tablets will help, but I think I will also need to incorporate more visits to the library computer labs.

3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
I'm not sure that "surprised" is the right word, but certainly encouragement and confirmation that there are more efficient ways to reach our children and make our lives easier as teacher.

Tool #10 - Underneath it All - Digital Citizenship

For your Tool #10 assignment:
In YOUR blog post:
1. Discuss at least three things you would want to make sure your students understand about being good digital citizens.
First of all, I think Copyright laws and plagarism would be very important for my students to understand, since they often want to use images from the internet for reference and because their artwork may end up in the internet.
Secondly, I would like for my students to have a better understanding of using appropriate websites for research.
Thirdly, just as we seek to communicate clearly through and express ourselves visually, they need to understand how electronic communication can be misconstrued and become harmful.
2. Share at least one of the resources mentioned above or on the Ed Tech website that you plan to use instructionally.
The link below would be a good resource for helping my students to understand the importance of Copyright to the artist.
3. Explain briefly how you would "teach" the idea of digital citizenship to your students.
I think my students can relate to having their "Things" stolen or damaged, however they may not relate this to "ideas" being something that can be stolen, misused or damaged. The video used in Tool 3 which used Disney clips to talk about Copyright would be a good "hook" for the class to begin discussions about not only proper use of images, but good digital citizenship in general.
4. Explain briefly how you plan to share the idea of digital citizenship with your parents.
I generally send home a letter at the beginning of the school year outlining the rules and expectations for my students and which requires their parents signature. I plan to include a section on digital citizenship and our expectations regarding them in this letter.

Tool #9: Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices as Tools for Learning

Tool #9 Assignment, create a new post in which you respond to the following:
  1. Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective? As Sir Ken has noted, the future for our students will depend more on their ability for "Divergent Thinking" than on the number of facts held in their brains. Whatever career our children choose, they will be using technology and accessing information through technology. Therefore, our Objectives need to include not only essential knowledge, but also the technology for accessing that knowledge.
  2. Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers? This goes back to the fact that we are dealing more with process than product in the new technology paradigm. So, having benchmarks of some sort are important a.) so the student knows they are succeeding and b.) so that we as teachers know that we are sending them in the right direction. Because 21st century learning is more about the student accessing knowledge than the teacher providing facts, the student will need ways to know they are achieving their goals.
  3. Visit 2 of the applicable links to interactive websites for your content/grade level. Which sites did you like. How could you use them as stations? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations? I really like the Thinkfinity site. WHile there are alot of sites, that deal with core subjects, there are fewer that deal with High School Art appropriately. I will probably use this to help my students when we work on our illustration for a book they are reading. They may be able to use this site to get more information on the story they are doing. For instance I did see an applicable segment on "To Kill a Mockingbord" which is one of the books the students use. Also, within the SBISD Interactive Database. there was an application called Hero Machine 2.5 that looks very interesting, especially as we work on our self-portraits. I will be using the SBISD Interactive Database quite a bit because of its user friendly search function.
  4. List two to three apps you found for the iPod Touch/iPad that you can use in your classroom. What do you see that station looking like? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations? As discussed in an earlier blog, Animoto Video would be a fun way for the students to create something new with their artwork and would help them understand that their artwork is not necessarily the end product. Accountability is built in because they would have a product that can be shown with their own electronic devices, such as their cell phone. Colored Pencils is another app that I am hoping will also interface with the Wacom tablets the art department will have.
  5. What about other ways to use the iPod Touch/iPad? Share another way you can see your students using the device as a station. The iPod Touch/iPad would be very useful to have when doing the collaborative Art History lesson to connect with other classes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tool #8: Taking a Look at the Tools

I've been using a Mac for about 924 years now -- give or take 900 years:). Seriously, I did my first digital illustration on a Mac in 1988 - you do the math. So, I am pretty familiar with the Mac interface. Of course things change with every new operating system, but it is always very intuitive. I used to tease that I didn't know anything about computers, because I only knew how to use a Mac. I am very excited to have access to it at school.
As far as the Wacom Tablet goes, I haven't used one in years. It will be interesting to see how far they have come. I'm sure the students will really be excited about them. For me the more interesting thing to explore will be how well they interface with Photoshop.
As far as equipment management, they will need to be closely supervised, especially the Wacom Tablet. My biggest concern is losing the stylus and nibs that go with it. When in use, I envision a workstation set up very close to my own desk.
Right now, I can see this adding to our digital self-portrait project, but I also look forward to geting new ideas during our Wacom training next week.

Tool #7: Reaching Outside your Classroom: Online Digital Projects

Every year, Mr. Keairnes and I do a similar art history research project. The biggest challenges I have with this project is keeping the students from just copy and pasting the information. I want them to create something more meaningful to them. Working with other students may make them more accountable but also feel less intimidated.
This year it might be good to collaborate on the project, especially with our new Art Teacher coming on board. I think it would be a good project to explore this concept in a safe and comfortable environment. The actual lesson plan would be done collaboratively and subject to much change, but in general it could look something like this:
The students will research, with a team made up students from, separate classes, an influencial artist from a list provided.
We could use a Google form to create the research criteria along with Diigo to help direct the research.
The final product would be a team presentation using Skype to connect the classrooms.

I believe that this type of platform would allow the students more creativity, versatility and more importantly, ownership.

Tool 6: Using Web Tools to Promote Discussion in and out of the Classroom

Several of these tools will be useful. Two of them would specifically help in an area where I have found challenges.
First of all Diigo would help me, in that I am constantly pulling up resources to help  emphasize concepts I am teaching, but they get lost between classes. Diigo would help me keep track of them more efficiently. Also, Diigo would help me to focus my students' research. For instance I would like to assign different groups of students to research different Elements of Art. By bookmarking my preferred resources in Diigo, I can insure that they will be finding the right definitions and keep them focused on their search.

Students can use Google Docs to report their findings on their assigned Element and share them so that all students receive the information they need. Edmodo could also be used for the same purpose. The benefit of Edmodo is that I could create a group for each class and save the findings for that particular class.