Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thursday Think Tank: Technology in the Art Room

I just wanted to say that as an art educator sometimes people find it surprising that I use technology, in any form, in the classroom. I find that sometimes we ourselves settle for having second rate equipment. For example the first three years of my teaching career I had a chalk board in my room. Seriously a GREEN-OLDER-THAN-THE-STONE-AGE chalk board. In fact as I visited other schools I found out that mine was basically the only one still in the district. (Thinking back now you might say I got rid of a rare endangered species all for the sake of teaching more effectively.)

All that being said I was definitely the art teacher that would carry a clipboard and draw while holding it in the air so everyone could see what I was doing. Anyone else been there?  Then at a meeting our principal asked if anyone needed an Elmo and I finally got the nerve to speak up, at that time there were still classroom teachers who needed one and so a 5th grade teacher offered up her older model that was packed in a cabinet.

The dinosaur.
I used this for a while it was better than nothing, but it was fuzzy, had no lighting and had no easy way to move it around at all. I suffered in silence because it was more than I had had before so why complain. Then our Tech guy came in and was so appalled! He was able to get me on the list for this bad boy below.

The SHINY new ELMO!!! Top of the line! SO COOL!
Not only can you actually see whats going on, but it's so clear and mobile and it does so many cool things! The guy who sells these and the software that partners with it came in my room to give me a quick demo and it is amazing, you can actually project onto the screen and use the software to draw, highlight and even use a "mask" to cover up what you don't want the kids to see. Just like the old projectors back in the day, but with so much more flash! You can also record videos, so now when I do a demonstration I can record it and play it for the kids in a loop.

This has definitely opened a new door for me, especially since I've been thinking about the FLIPPED classroom model lately.  It might not be the best fit for my situation now, but who knows what the future will hold?

How do you incorporate technology into either your lessons or how you teach? Do you find it challenging as an art teacher?

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