Over the last year I was fortunate to be in a school that had mobile ipad labs that could be checked out and used in my classroom. Scheduling conflicts and time restraints made incorporating the technology into our class routine difficult. In late spring a Transforming Technology Grant opportunity was shared by my district and I jumped at the chance to apply for resources for my classroom. Drum roll please, I won! August will bring the return to a classroom set of ipads for the Capitol of Creativity! Thirty ipads will now transform the way I teach, assess, and how my students will create in art.
The debate has begun among #artsed peers between those embracing new technologies vs those immersed in traditional mediums. My own beliefs stem from looking at history and how new technology tools have changed the art world. Technological advances have made an impact on art creation can be seen in the invention of the printing press, camera lucida, photography, to digital creation and interactive virtual reality environments of today. It would be difficult to list all the innovative ways artists' have adapted new technologies into their mode of expression throughout art history. We as art educators can not ignore the quickly changing way our world is interacting with technology.
I started teaching twenty years ago in the fall of 1994 as an itinerant art teacher in five elementary schools in rural Virginia. My five elementary schools started getting computer labs and the discussions of how teachers would incorporate the computers into their day was heard throughout the halls. I did not have a computer at home but my principal Mrs. Carpenter allowed me to stay after school to figure out these new computers and to get on Virginia Pen boards to connect virtually to other art educators, I was fascinated. Four years later "You've Got Mail" is seen in theaters and AOL is in my home. The ways we connect to each other quickly changed my perspective on professional development. Networking with art educators started with the Incredible Art Department yahoo list group to the variety of social media sites like #artsed PLNs on Twitter, FB art teacher groups, google+, Art Education 2.0 ning, and instagram. Now, I have the opportunity to bring the benefits I have embraced in my own learning into the hands of my students.
My journey of transformation is just beginning in how the new additions to my program will change the way my students learn, create, are assessed and even how we share. Fear not, for the art room will still be a place to squish our fingers in clay, to learn to see color mixing on the tip of a brush, and a place for our students to be makers. The future is what we are willing to embrace and what we make of it. I am fortunate to be part of the innovative #artsed PLN that share ways of incorporating technology into their classrooms and they will serve as great resources throughout the year ahead. The swirling list of applications I will chose to use is growing thanks to Tricia Fuglestad, Janine Campbell, Cathy Hunt, Theresa McGee and Hillary Andrlik for helping to inspire ways of incorporating technology into my classroom. Last week I took part in the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching Fine Arts Academy at George Mason University and part of my project for the year ahead will be how to best embrace the new media and art standards into my new technology rich classroom. Consider this summer my cocoon where I am researching to prepare for the fall when my classroom will hopefully emerge to fly to new heights of technology integration.