Thanks for visiting my blog again! After talking briefly about a technological resource in my Graduate class I had several readers ask me to share some of the technological tools and resources I use in my own classroom. Just in case you haven't visited my blog before, I teach 4th and 5th grade art in a public school just outside of Boston, MA.
First I’m going to outline the tools I have been provided by the school and how I choose to use them. We have a program where each student is given a google chromebook from grade 3-5, from grades 6-8 they're given Ipads, and from grades 9-12 they have Macbooks. In addition to these we have 3 classroom carts of Ipads that we can borrow from the library. My classroom is equipped with a Ladybug, interactive whiteboard, and projector. All teachers are given a school issued macbook pro. In the past we have had a school designated Integration Specialist but the budget for that position has gone dry...to make another administrator position (figures).
How I use them:
Chromebooks: I'll be honest I hadn’t used chromebooks at all prior to taking this position last year...I’m not a huge fan of them. For those of you who aren't familiar with them, they’re Google’s version of a Macbook Air, compact laptop. To me it’s like an ipad but with less actual capabilities. In my classroom I generally have the students use it to create short presentations and do research since they all have their own but generally I try and reserve the Ipad cart from the library.
Here’s a link I’ve found helpful from Scolastic: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/chromebooks-classroom/
Ladybug: The introduction of the Ladybug in my classroom totally changed the way in which I give directions and demonstrations. For those of you unfamiliar with the ladybug it's essentially a document camera that links to you projector so the whole class can see what you have underneath it. It also has the capability of recording and saving videos and still shots. In the art classroom you used to have everyone crowd around a single table and students would be distracted and pushing each other while you attempted to show them the new technique or process. With the addition of a Ladybug I can do a demonstration for the entire class without anyone having to leave their seat, I can record that demo, and play it on a loop throughout the class incase students forget the technique. I’ve also included a helpful link for that below.
Interactive Whiteboard: There are tons of different brands and set ups for smart boards or interactive whiteboards, mine is simply a smart projector that makes my normal whiteboard interactive using special pens and sensors. I find this a fun and easy way to make my presentations funner! Scheibe and Rogow (2012) explain that adding technology and media can increase learner participation and increase retention and learning. I generally bring pictures of artwork on the board and allow students to come up and circle the things they notice or find interesting. It also allows me to ask them questions and they can come up to interact with the board making them all more engaged!
Ipads: I love Ipads for the classroom, I very rarely use my Ipad at home but it’s important to have one and be very familiar with it because students will have questions for you. I use them a lot in my classroom for a variety of reasons. The first is, same as the Chromebooks, is to make short presentations and conduct research but one huge benefit of the Ipad is students can photograph their artwork and put it directly into the presentation. I also use the Ipads to document and photograph their work for printing and sharing with parents. This coming year I intend on teaching a lesson in photography for my 5th graders that will happen entirely on ipads. I’ll also outline the apps I use below.
The Art of Education always has awesome articles here’s one on Ipad Apps!
Google Suite: The google suite is just a fancy way of saying all of google's web based programs including Slides, Sheets, Docs, and Drive. These are the programs I use the most! I’ve included all the information about how I use slides below (copied from a discussion in my Graduate class). Other than Slides, I use Docs and Drive the most. Docs I just use as a word processor (i’m typing this in Docs now) while I use drive for a few other things. The nice thing about Drive is it lets you instantly link any media in your Drive (photos or docs) to an email from Gmail no matter the size. If you have the Drive App on your Iphone or Ipad it also lets you take photos and upload them directly into folders on your Drive. I create a Drive Folder for each of my students and I compile photos of their work for reference and documentation. That way when I’m communicating with parents, teachers, or administrators I can link the child's art, my lesson plan, and the presentation for the day with ease. I also love the drive because I can access it from any computer or device with internet and have access to everything instantly.
For those of you who aren't familiar with google slides, it's essentially Microsoft Powerpoint but as a Google program which comes free with a free Gmail email (like our school address). If you aren't familiar with Slides then you may not be aware of Docs and Sheets which are Word and Excel respectively. Slides allow you to make presentations by building slides and adding text, audio, images, links, and videos to premade templates (or one of your own design). The nice thing about the programs in the Google Suit is that they all link with your Google Drive meaning that any file you create can be accessed anywhere on any platform that you can log into your Gmail account on. Also, because it's on the Google Drive it can easily be shared with other Google and non-Google users while also being able to invite other google users to view or even edit the presentation. It's extremely user-friendly to build and it's easy to share.
How to use it effectively:
I do use it to make my presentations for the classroom but I also use it in a few different ways that have proved to be great classroom experiences.
1. Every day I post the goals and expectations for the class on the board, it's a slide in a Google Slides presentation and every day I add a new slide so that all I can see and access the goals and expectations for all the previous days. Since all of the students have chromebooks and google accounts I share this presentation with them, that means at any time in class or at home they can access this presentation and check to see what the expectations were and what they need to work on or what they missed.
2. When I was teaching at the high school level I used to have students make a Google Slide presentation for each of their projects, for instance, "Jacob Ginga: Self Portrait". The students would be required to update it at the end of each class by adding a slide and explaining what they got done, what they struggled with, and what they still need to do. They shared these presentations with me so I could check to see how they were doing and even offer feedback or advice right into their presentation. This is a presentation that never gets shown in class, it's just for me and the student and documents their project from start to finish.
3. The final idea I have for you is making a collaborative presentation. What I do at the end of each project is I create a Google Slideshow with a slide for each student and I share it with all of them. The students can then use their own computers to finish their slide. The slide has to contain a photo of their project and a brief artist statement about it. Then we present it to the class and each student talks about their own project. I have also created a slideshow with a slide for each person and asked the class to each choose a different impressionist artist and make a slide that includes some information and a picture of their work. This helps students to conduct research and work together to create a very diverse presentation about a single topic or genre.
HELPFUL LINK: https://gsuite.google.com/learning-center/products/slides/get-started/#!/
Scheibe, C. L., & Rogow, F. (2012). The teacher’s guide to media literacy : critical thinking in a multimedia world. SAGE. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com
This is the technology that I use in my classroom but I would love to hear about what other technological resources I could be using! Any recommendations?
Have you ever seen an elementary school art room? If you haven’t then it’s something I highly recommend seeing, with the short amount of time we see the students we’re often running around and shouting orders like some sort of army general rallying their troops into a messy and seemingly losing battle. Despite the lack of time, lack of resources, and sheer chaos the students almost always impress us with the beautiful and thoughtful things they create. I know I compared to a battlefield, but in all reality it's a community of expression, collaboration, and constructive criticism that must be carefully tended to.
In this weeks blog post I’ll be talking the idea of Participatory Cultures in the art room but first let's talk about what a Participatory Culture is.
Jenkins (2009) highlights a few import attributes of a Participatory Culture…
The community should…
I did put these in simpler terms so if you do some research it may be worded differently but this is the basic gist of it. If you added mutual respect for the space, leader, and rules then I would consider it the perfect outline for a classroom motto! These Participatory Cultures can take many forms but the reason they’ve been discussed within the education field recently is because of the rise in these cultures through technology. They can be everything from web pages, online clubs, and forums to online video games. Depending on the culture these can have very positive or negative results on a person's development. For instance Pinterest can be a great site that promotes recycling and making new things, while a web forum that preaches hate could also be a participatory Culture with very different effects on it’s members.
The real question is “HOW IS THIS GOING TO HELP IN RELATION TO MY CLASSROOM?” Which is a very fair question. Like I said before many of the parts of a participatory culture are the same as our desired classroom cultures, especially in the art room. Aside from technology there are a few forms of creating/promoting a participatory culture that I use in my own classroom. The first of which is collaboration or group projects, every year my 4th graders get together and write/illustrate their own alliteration A-Z book. Each student writes their own alliteration for a letter and does the illustration to match and then all of them get added together so we have one large book that contains work from every student. This promotes the idea of self expression, makes students feel like their work is contributing to something larger, requires individuals to socialize, and allows students to work together to come up with alliterations and their matching illustrations.
I could talk forever about using curriculum to help create a positive culture in the classroom but I would rather offer you a technique in which you can combine a participatory culture that exists on technology and the content your covering in class. One really important aspect of art education is that we aim to teach students how to talk about their own art, offer advice, and accept and apply criticism in a positive way. This is something that can be very challenging especially in upper elementary school and middle school when students are growing and changing and becoming very self conscious and nervous. In my district we use an app called Seesaw that allows students interact via their cell phones, computers, or tablets in a closed group that can monitored by the teacher. It allows students to upload things and respond to posts on the discussion board and comment on other students work. For instance while I was teaching middle school I would have a weekly assignment due on the app and it would be a creative prompt such as Photograph something that contains two complimentary colors and comment on two other’s photos. The app makes this VERY easy to do and the students enjoy taking pictures and conversing on the discussion board. This is just one way we can use online participatory cultures to promote and transfer learning!
How do you use Participatory Cultures in your classroom?
SeeSaw - https://edshelf.com/tool/seesaw-the-learning-journal/
Social Media - https://www.theedadvocate.org/22-ways-use-social-media-classroom/
Jenkins (2009): Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture. Retrieved from https://www.macfound.org/media/article_pdfs/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF
Welcome to the first post on my new blog! In this blog I will be explaining the importance of Digital and Media Literacy in the Elementary School Artroom. This first post will cover the basics: What is Digital and Media Literacy and who is responsible for educating students about it.
What is Media Literacy?
Scheibe and Rogow (2012) describe Media Literacy as a collection of skills surrounding the absorption, processing, and reflecting on media experiences, their outlined skills are as follows…
I understand it as basically an individual's ability to understand the entirety of a media resource from its intended message to who is creating it and why. I also understand it as a person's ability to effectively use the media and internet at its highest function and accuracy.
Who is responsible for educating students about Media Literacy?
Just the other day I watched a TedX Talk by Andrea Quijada (link below) who spoke about the importance of Media Literacy and even a little bit about how she got into being a media literacy educator. The short story she told was insightful, basically her mother and father would deconstruct the meanings and intents of commercials as they were watching them. It had me thinking about this question again...Who is responsible for educating our youth about media literacy? For Andrea it was her parents that originally educated her about the dangers of media and how to appropriately use and decode it but I feel like this isn't that common.
As a millenial and only child I was often the one who used technology the most and was the most adept with it. It was almost unfair that I was I was so much more fluent than my parents because it made it hard for them to offer advice, guidance, and restrictions when they didn't fully understand the implications themselves. In Andrea’s case it was her parents that began her media literacy training and I find that very impressive since it didn't start till much later for me. I first began to understand and process media literacy when I began showing an interest in visual art and design. In art history we view and question artworks very similar to the way students should be viewing media resources, by analyzing them and asking questions like “who made it”, “why”, “who paid for it”, and “who is the intended audience”.
Once I had the ability to deconstruct and decode artwork it was an easy transition to other media such as commercials, ads, and movies. This skill was only enhanced when I pursued a BFA in Art Education and was introduced to Visual Media Literacy as a way of decoding all things visual art and design from paintings to dance to architecture. So in my own life it was my art teachers who inevitably introduced and educated me about media literacy but I have a feeling that will change.
The question doesn't have an obvious and single answer, for me it was my art teachers and for Andrea it was her parents. I will say that seeing some of my friends and fellow tech savvy millennials beginning to have kids does make me feel like the next generation of kids will have parents that grew up learning about media literacy and will have a much better grasp of media and technology than my parents did. I would have to say its a group effort but it should certainly start at home and at an early age. As a teacher myself it's clear that even the new educators entering the field will be better equipped to handle the changing media and educator our young students on good habits and add to their toolbelt.
I will end each blog post with a question…
Who in your life started educating you about media literacy? Or atleast began to inform you that there is more than just meets the eye?
I will also offer resources and citations for what I’ve talked about!
Scheibe, C. L., & Rogow, F. (2012). The teacher’s guide to media literacy : critical thinking in a multimedia world. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com