Wow! I think I made it!

This course has made me examine my approach to thinking about how to teach art lessons or projects, with regard to the use of technology.  I believe that the landscape of students and their needs are evolving rapidly due to the availability of technology.  It is an instructors responsibility to provide a platform for learning that excites, challenges, and rewards 21st Century Learners. Fortunately, Google Drive and the related applications provide educators and students a platform for sharing and collaborating in an educational setting.  I, now, have a more well-rounded view of how convenient and powerful such applications can be when used synergistically.  I must admit that learning how to produce a Screencast posed challenges, but I’m glad that I have a few in my portfolio!  There were a number of first encounters, with regard to my use of Google applications, such as the Sheets assignment and the use of Tech Tools. Ultimately, I see the skills that I gleaned from EDUC 407 as building blocks for the future of my journey as an educator.  One thought, is to build upon the projects and assignments, further refine engagement principles, use of technology and modeling.  Keeping the latter in mind while searching for ways to imbue lessons with various forms of text and preparing students for the 21st century work force is the challenge that I have chosen to pursue as a future educator.  The time spent with such strategies or processes allows one to further their mastery of such applications.  As new as the process may be, over time facility will increase; I liken it to playing scales as a musician or drawing from real models in an anatomy class.  I have reconsidered my approach to teaching the discipline of art and design, as a result of taking this course.

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copy this copy that, thievery is not an option

I was previously  unaware of specific copyright laws.  I was surprised by the fact that individuals or entities find it necessary to seek out educators who use copyrighted material for educational purposes.  It’s hard to speculate as to how copyright law will affect education in the future, with regard to the increasing use of technology.  As an educator, one should make their students aware of the issues that surround copyrights.  It seems that when it comes to creating truly original material of any media, the best approach is to do it from scratch.  Rather than scouring the internet for random photographs for a blog or presentation, I would urge students to compile a library of materials, photographs, and media that they make themselves in order to create original material.  One of the problems with this approach is, time;  students, instructors, and individuals in general find such endeavors time consuming.  For most individuals, the internet is a fast and convenient means for acquiring resources.  Personally, I have no desire to create blogs or web based media using other individuals creative work.  If I need a photograph of a particular subject or object, I’ll take it myself.  Seeking out such items in the real world appeals to me on many levels.  Here’s a question for musing: If an individual copies and pastes a project together using found objects on the internet, how original can the project be?  Aside from the latter, instructors should make their students aware that copyright laws were created to protect the financial interests of those who create original work; that financial rewards provide the incentive for the creation of more original works; and that obeying copyright laws benefits society by ensuring a steady supply of creative works.  So, the ultimate goal is to reach a point at which the artist or creator does not need to rely on the work of others, in order to create work of any type of media.  

Social Media

My relationship with social media is strained.  I’m recently divorced from Facebook and I haven’t used other similar applications for quite some time.  I don’t believe that social media is completely negative.  I do, however, feel that social media is an unnecessary component to an individual’s daily routine.  On the other hand, I do believe that such applications can be used for positive or constructive purposes in the case of education, business, or to simply keep in touch with distant relations.  When social media is monitored closely, it can be an effective tool in an educational environment.  It is hard to predict what the future holds with regard to the relationship of social media and education. It seems that time will tell of the impact social media has on culture, as well.  I have heard arguments praising and negating social media within society.  In general, I don’t find the topic very interesting.  I feel as though the topic of social media and the use of social media for my purposes, is time consuming and unrewarding.  There are a number of pursuits or topics that I find more rewarding and interesting.  Web based technology is saturating the daily lives of individuals and at some point, people will either choose to embrace that or not.  I’m beginning to grow bored with all of it.

ePortfolio

ePortfolios seem to be the next step in an ever increasing quest to proselytise the use of technology in educational programs.  I have played with ePortfolios in the past and found them to look and feel, a bit, underwhelming.  On the other hand, I do believe that any time an individual can add a positive note to their professional or educational reume, they should take advantage of instrument available.  I have experienced, both, educational and professional facilities that ask for some type of digital accompaniment to a traditional resume.  In which case, an ePortfolio might be the necessary instrument for the application process.

Screencasting

 

My experience with screencasting has been limited to online courses that I have taken in post secondary courses.  I have never had the opportunity to create a screencast until, now.  It appears that screencasting can be used for any grade level that involves online delivery methods.  Due to constant advancements in technology, the growth of online education has continued to increase.  Supporters of online education point out the potential benefit that students have more control of their time schedules with infinite content availability.  On the other hand, opponents of online education often cite the lack of interpersonal communication between instructor and student.  Proponents of screencasting do not share the latter view, citing that the content in screencasts can, potentially make students feel as though they are part of a larger community.  Teachers have the potential of creating screencasts of any aspect of instruction, including hands on demonstration, direct instruction, think aloud, literary analysis, etc.  Obviously, the proponents of online learning believe that screencast videos have the potential for a more “personal” feel and give the instructor and online student a direct connection with an individual that goes beyond posting on a discussion board or email thread, due to audio component which most of these videos contain.

According to some experts, live screencasting, the activity of creating a live recording of a classroom activity can be an effective tool for teachers when they have students absent for extended periods of time.  Students and Instructors, alike, can rely on screencasting for reteaching and relearning information.

Formal and Informal assessment can also be done via screencast.  Some educators continue to search for improved or less time consuming ways to offer feedback on student work and believe that this can be accomplished through screencasting.  It seems that some proponents of screencasting believe that class size and time scheduling can be overwhelming to the point that they do not have enough time to sit down with a particular student and have a face to face conversation regarding a given assignment or work.  In this case screencasting might be an efficient alternative.

Screencasts can be archived to track student achievement throughout a given period of time.

http://www.schrockguide.net/screencasting.html

Wiki

I have accessed wikis in the past for quick information.  After delving a bit deeper into the mechanics of a wiki and how individuals can use them to  share information quickly, I can see why some individuals might employ wiki sharing in classroom projects for students.  Ultimately, when publishing or producing scholarly material, individuals should use reliable sources.  Technology has allowed people to share and communicate at an increasingly rapid pace.  And, while many individuals find this phenomenon exciting, which I would have to agree, it seems to  be easy to lose sight of the importance of true human interaction.  As an artist, who has committed a lifetime to learning how to make things by  hand using classical methods that have been in existence for centuries, I have hard time jumping on the technological wagon.  I wouldn’t recommend using wikis to my students for reliable information, nor would I have them partake in any digitally enhanced  projects.  Hopefully, I can create a learning environment where students can learn how to use  their minds and their hands without the luxury of technology.

Project Based Learning

In many classrooms around the country it is all too common for one to observe antiquated methods of instruction. Perhaps, this is a result of lack of knowledge or lack of motivation on the instructor’s part. It is difficult to pinpoint why drill and test methods tend to be the “go to” type of instruction used in the current classrooms around the country. Contrary to contemporary classrooms, Project Based Learning is a teaching method which promotes the retention of knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge. There are many types of learners in a classroom and one shouldn’t assume that PBL is the ultimate form of instruction, but it is a tool for educators to consider when designing instruction. PBL allows teachers the opportunity to step outside of the, typical text book type of instruction that he or she grew up with in their educational journey. In order to shed light on some of the Essential Elements of PBL I have listed them below:

  • Significant Content – At its core, the project is focused on teaching students important knowledge and skills, derived from standards and key concepts at the heart of academic subjects.
  • 21st century learners – Students build competencies valuable for today’s world, such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity/innovation, which are explicitly taught and assessed.
  • In-Depth Inquiry – Students are engaged in an extended, rigorous process of asking questions, using resources, and developing answers.
  • Driving Question – Project work is focused by an open-ended question that students understand and find intriguing, which captures their task or frames their exploration.
  • Need to Know – Students comprehend the need to gain knowledge, understand concepts, and apply skills in order to answer the Driving Question and create project products, beginning with an Entry Event that generates interest and curiosity.
  • Voice and Choice – Students are allowed to make some choices about the products to be created, how they work, and how they use their time, guided by the teacher and depending on age level and PBL experience.
  • Critique and Revision – The project includes processes for students to give and receive feedback on the quality of their work, leading them to make revisions or conduct further inquiry.

Public Audience – Students present their work to other people, beyond the confines of their school.