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?