Partnership for 21st Century

Eeeek!  I put off working on my application for week for knowing that I’d be around on Sunday afternoon, after returning from Cambodia.  I’m realizing that wasn’t the smartest idea, as this was supposed to be posted on Wednesday!  Hopefully you all can forgive me for my lateness, I must start looking at our applications before the weekend.

I found the website to be very informative, with quite a bit of information on their point of view of the 21st century.  Looking around the website has a very clear mission/belief statement, and they present it in a way that is not very threatening (no major changes).  I do wonder, if when a state adopts the P21 framework, will the state support the technological needs that will rise?  The P21 framwork involves the schools and teachers, and I think we will need training, and constant on-site support of any initiatives.

I was surprised to see that the “arts” is considered a core subject.  It claims that NCLB also see the arts as a core subject.  I completely agree that the arts are an incredibly important part of society, but I find myself thinking a little pessimistically.  We “arts” people are often one of the first to go, which is not indicative of a valued core subject to me.  I also found it interesting that they added the Career and Life Skills to the P21 overview.  However, there is very little mention of computer/technology skills (considering how many board members are technology-related…).  I think more than just being an Information, Media and Technology Skill, computers/technology should be a life skill.  Fact is (to me), computers and technology are part of everyday life, and should be taught as such.

Much of what this website discusses things that I teach in my classroom, although perhaps in a more passive way than they suggest.  In addition to making sure I’m meeting the National Art Standards, I now have a entire new set of standards to work into my curriculum.  I think that is it great that someone is looking into the future and trying to be proactive about it, rather than reacting to it.  I am concerned at the amount of responsibility that is being placed on our shoulders as teachers, however.  I think that many of these skills can and should also be reinforced (or taught) at home.

Reactions

First off, thank you all who responded!  You each had great ideas, thoughts and suggestions.  I am very appreciative that I have a community of people going through the same (nearly exact) experience as myself.  It is reassuring that when I have a question or problem, I know exactly where to go to ask questions.

Second, the several responses that I received made me very excited to start my own educational/school specific blog.  I hope that I will have a chance to get a blog up and running before the end of this class.  I would love to get everyone’s thoughts once it rolls out!

Thank you again.

Blogging in the Classrooms, Part 2

After much thought, research, and more thought, I believe I’m going to go for a combination of what was mentioned in the previous blog about working blogs into the classroom.  I would like to create a place where my high school students can find out about assignments, see their finished artwork, and comment on their work.  I would like the students to be able to create their own posts, but am not sure I’m ready to open that cans of worms at the moment…  Last, I would post links and/or images of interesting art for the students to comment on (rather than only their own art).

Here’s an example of a Middle School Art Blog that is similar to what I’m thinking about: Ms. Miller’s Art Blog, and another example: RJH Art Class.  As I’ve mentioned before, I would like students to be able to interact on the website.  Rather than creating a site in which my students can add their own posts, I’m going to encourage the students post comments, more as a criticism/conversation.  This would add to the student’s art experience as they will learn to discuss art, whether their own or someone else’s.  One of the main components of a good art room is discussion, and I feel that this would be a non-threatening way for students to learn to discuss art.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Blogging in the Classroom

As part of my master’s class, I am looking for ways to incorporate blogging into my art classes.  There are an amazing number of ways to use blogs in the class.

One way is to create a showcase for student artwork.  I can upload the student’s work, and explain the process and/or standards met.

Another option is to create a “this week in art” or “this day in art,” to give the kids a chance to learn about Art History outside of the classroom.

On the other hand, it would be very interesting to get the kids involved and invested in a blog.  I would really like a discussion to occur, rather than me simply posting for them.  I think blogs are a great way to post ideas, opinions, thoughts without actually saying them outloud in front of a classroom- much less intimidating!

I’m always open to suggestions!

Technology- The good, the bad, the ugly.

Contrary to what my title might imply- I really think technology is a good thing.  I just wonder how great it really is to get super gung-ho about it all.  I love technology- Computers are great and makes contacting people very easy.  There’s skype, e-mail, IMing, video chat.  Not to mention all of the resources available to anyone wanting to research something!

Here’s where I get concerned. Paperless schools.  Is it possible to have a paperless school?  Is it even a good thing??  Yes- using less paper is great.  We don’t have the massive filing cabinets of lessons, examples, and resources, which frees up lots of floor space for other things (like drying racks in my art room).  It saves on the environment- less paper, less trees killed, healthier planet.  (yay for being green!) BUT, there’s always a but.  But what about the kinesthetic learners?  All of us who learn by holding, touching, smelling?  And what about people who need to actually highlight, write, comment on to learn.  I get sick of sitting at my computer, and get a headache or tired eyes from trying to read all the articles on the web.  Not to mention I must have a leak in my brain because I just don’t remember by reading it online!

The ugly then.  I have to admit at this point, I consider myself something of a realist.  I’m not the crazy head-in-the-clouds art teacher that has fabulous, amazing, completely unrealistic (or expensive) ideas.  I like listening to those people and “refine” what they think into actual possibilities.  Back to the ugly.  What happens when the technology breaks down?  I find in my classroom, my teaching moments come to a standstill.  The kids can still work on their projects, but I can’t show them a website, or demonstrate something on my SMARTboard, or even check my e-mail and calendar!  And let’s forget about those students working in Photoshop or researching their next masterpiece- what do I do with them?  They can’t complete their project.  I think we become so hooked on technology, and fall in love with the next big thing that we lose track of what we can do without technology.  So many of my students have unbelieveable drawing, painting, sculpting skills.  I can’t forget about them in the technological race to the finish.

What about you.