Trying anything new involves a certain element of risk. By veering off the well-traveled path of traditional teaching methods, I’m venturing into uncharted territory. Although many other teachers have become proficient at using technology in their classrooms, I am just beginning. So, in truth, the territory isn’t necessarily uncharted… others have been there. I’m a new resident learning the culture.
So far, so good. My first attempt to use technology is really exciting. Since I began this blog, I have enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on my teaching practice while setting new goals for myself. It seemed natural to combine my new ability with a goal in the classroom: create a class blog!
The grade 12 art class will be my guinea pigs. I explained that, in the past, my art students have researched art history and presented their understanding in a variety of ways: oral presentations, posters, seminars, etc. It went well, it was predictable, students learned… perfect! However, as the world adjusts to sharing information online, students should be encouraged to find ways to (safely) present their thoughts in new ways as well.
We discussed our project together and took a look at a post that was very helpful (found on www.IndianaJen.com — a huge thank you to the author!!). The example on the blog helped us appreciate the qualities that made a successful post, and we decided on criteria we thought we could use in our own project. Since the students helped to decide our learning goals for the project, they are developing a sense of ownership and responsibility (qualities that are so precious when learning!).
One of my first concerns was the issue of copyright. If we planned to analyze works of art online, we had to make sure to post pictures that did not break any copyright laws. Golden learning opportunity! At this point, I’m not sure who’s learning more: me or my students! Fortunately, two people helped to point me in the right direction. My principal not only shared her knowledge of safe sources to find images, she spoke to my class and guided us through the process of looking for resources. The author of Indiana Jen was also knowledgeable and very resourceful. It seems the best way to find safe images is to search through a site called Creative Commons.
I’m sure that there will be issues as my class and I learn how to become more tech-savvy together, but I can honestly say that I am so excited to learn with them!