In addition to creating this blog, I have also created a portfolio of digital resources for teachers and students which draws on the knowledge and resources gained throughout this subject. Over the course of this session I have improved my technological and pedagogical knowledge in relation to classroom technologies, and feel more comfortable in using ICT to enhance, engage and extend students’ learning.
This is an interesting video about Mosman High School using online learning in the Visual Arts classroom using Edmodo. I particularly like the idea that online spaces give students who usually would not have a ‘classroom voice’ a chance to have their say simultaneously via an online classroom. I also like the idea of a short ‘Do Now’ online task to begin the lesson, or perhaps even a short homework task each week. As Ms McCarthy suggests in the video, the teacher must be on board with this online technology, and must continue to try to make it a successful, engaging online space, as well as provide classroom support, consolidation of knowledge and closure for the learning experience.
I found the videos about Dylan and Jalen in this module extremely encouraging, as the students featured seemed to be able to utilise the technology available to them on a deeper level than just ‘playing around’. Both boys seemed to have a good handle on how to use technology to design, plan, collaborate and communicate. Additionally, all of the teachers in the video seemed to have an excellent knowledge of technology and how to teach students to use it. Just as students are able to successfully learn a language at a young age, I believe that technology integration can be used at a young age.
I plan to use collaborative technology to encourage students to produce artworks and projects as a group. Rather than just group work, students can use tools to not only work with their peers, but collaborate in a way that everyone can plan, design, edit, assess, and evaluate and share their work. I like the idea of a ‘private’ school networking site which allows students to share content with the school community. A site like this could be updated by students, and seen by students, parents and carers, teachers and community members. This could be extremely useful in a Visual Arts classroom.
Personally, I have little experience developing lesson plans, having undertaken one professional placement thus far. I have noticed that lesson planning in the Visual Arts can be quite different to other subjects, particularly when completing a major artwork or project. I have often struggled to use preprepared lesson plan templates as the vast majority do not cover the necessary information in Visual Arts. In art making, students need to be afforded the time to experiment, plan, and develop ideas in relation to artworks. In this sense, rather than planning a structured lesson, student-centered activities are planned more fluidly. Rather than covering a certain amount of content in a specific time, students often define the amount of time used on a practical activity. I look forward to not only planning these types of lessons, but also planning more structured, theoretical lessons to cover historical and critical studies content.
A thought provoking video around using technology to engage students in the arts. The point I took from Tim Bateson’s comments was that in order to allow students to explore technology in an artistic way, teachers must learn to ‘let go’ of the traditional structured curriculum and assessment methods. Bateson also highlights that assessment can be more appropriately structured around the process in the arts, rather than the final product. This is an important point of emphasis.
Classroom Behaviour Management and Technology
Behaviour management can present challenges at any time, let alone when technology is involved. As the majority of secondary students now have access to a variety of devices both at home and at school, it can be difficult for teachers to keep ALL students on task simultaneously while using technological devices in class. However, if the lesson is planned in detail and the learning activity is engaging, the teacher should be able to manage this off task behaviour. As Johnson suggests, many schools have banned devices such as mobile phones, handheld gaming devices and iPods (2012, p. 137). This is in an attempt to minimise the distraction of games, social media, unwanted music and other media. Interestingly, a lot of schools that have banned such devices also have implemented a BYOD program, with many students using devices such as iPads with the same capabilities. This seems extremely contradictory to me. While there is some degree of control of BYOD devices because of their limited access to school internet and the like, it does seem rather pointless to completely ban the mobile phone. While I agree that a mobile phone is not suitable to be considered a BYOD device, there does seem to be an occasional use for them in selected classrooms. In my experience, some students have asked to use their mobile phone if they are having problems with their device, or need to quickly access relevant information. While I agree that students should not be able to use their mobile at any given time, I do not agree with students being unable to use them in situations such as the aforementioned, particularly with teacher permission. Thus, I believe that Johnson’s third method of combating technological distraction and inappropriate behaviour is the most effective (2012, p. 139). By ‘establishing clear expectations of how and when technology is to be used in ones classroom’, teachers can set reasonable rules where students do not feel totally banned from using a mobile phone or other device (Johnson, 2012, p. 139). Mobile phone use should be allowed at lunch time, perhaps, but only in specific situations determined by the teacher in the classroom.
Note: A study by Kuznekoff & Titsworth revealed that students who did not use mobile phones during lectures scored a full grade and a half higher than their peers who did. While this is to be expected, this result would most probably occur with any disengaged student, rather than one using a mobile phone alone. I think the real battle for teachers is to control what students are doing on devices when they are allowed to be using them, such as BYOD laptops or tablets.
It will be interesting to see if my thoughts change with my experience in schools and my increased confidence in classroom management.
Johnson, D. (2012). The Classroom Teacher’s Technology Survival Guide. John Wiley & Sons.)
As discussed in previous posts, there are a variety of challenges when using technology in the classroom. Some include copyright, plagiarism, cyberbullying, appropriate content and hacking. While there are also an enormous amount of benefits to integrating technology in the classroom, these drawbacks can sometimes overshadow the positive uses.
There a number of reports of hacking, such as this Education Week article from the US, into school systems both from the public and the student body. If the school systems are not properly protected and monitored, a large amount of personal information, grades and other files could be compromised. The ability of students to hack school files and applications is heightened by the Bring Your Own Device movement. Not only do students have access to their own personal hardware and software which is difficult to manage, students have 24 hours access to their device and may use it for personal use outside of school. There has been research about e-examinations on BYOD devices already, suggesting that this could be an ongoing issue for teachers. There could also be issues surrounding falsifying information, in terms of altering dates, times and other metadata to fit the necessary information needed for assessment. This is concerning as there is often no obvious way of identifying that the information has been changed.
Not only may the school network be susceptible to hacking, but students private accounts and connections are too. Students, as well as members of the general public, need to be aware and alert of spam and scams that filter into their email and social networking accounts. As ‘digital natives’, students many students are prone to being ‘click happy’ and clicking on spam links or allowing programs to access features that they should not need. Teachers must educate students about these cyber issues, particularly if the school has a BYOD program in place. Additionally, students also need to be aware of the dangers of providing personal information to websites and other applications.
There are a multitude of online, web-based learning site and software to allow students to engage with content and experience learning in a different way. Many of these are great for Visual Arts classes, as rather than hearing about famous artworks or places, students can experience these things. Some of the resources I would integrate into lessons are:
Google Art Project. This is a fabulous tool for the art classroom. Students can explore various collections and see artworks in high resolution. Students can create their own collections too! This could be used by the teacher as a brief activity within an historical and critical studies lesson, be used as a virtual excursion or form part of an assessment on particular artworks and artists.
Google Cultural Institute. This tool, has a variety of cultural content which could be utilised in Visual Arts or cross-curricula programs, particularly for senior secondary students.
Google World Wonders Project. Similarly to the Cultural Institute, this tool can be used to gather contextual information or to provide inspiration and stimuli for a particular project. Again, there are many cross-curricula advantages here.
Google Sketchup. This free software allows students to render 3D graphics of architecture, sculptures and other objects. This can be integrated into a unit on digital mediums, or used in senior secondary to propose specific projects before physically making them.
All of these interactive tools would increase engagement with the content, as well as developing digital knowledge and skills. When these tools are used to supplement Visual Arts content, students would benefit from the ‘hands on’, visual experience, rather than simply viewing artworks and content in a static way.
Cyberbullying is a serious issue in today’s digital society. There are many forms of cyberbulling, including prank calls, identity theft, posting inappropriate or hurtful content about another person, or sending insulting messages (Victoria State Gov’t, 2015). As a student, cyberbullying can be extremely evasive and hard to ignore. As a teacher, cyberbullying can be hard to stop. In order to deal with cyberbullying, I would suggest:
Teachers need to broach the subject from an early age. Cyberbullying needs to be taught to students when using the internet, along with other ethical issues. A clear policy should be in place with severe consequences for students found engaging in cyberbullying. In my professional experience, I have not yet been introduced to such a policy, although I am sure one exists. This needs to be clear and explicitly explained to students.
After identifying the issue and bringing it to the attention of a Head Teacher or Principal, I think the parents of the students involved should be informed in most cases. Often parents are unaware of what their child is doing online.
There are a number of useful suggestions for dealing with cyberbullying on the Victoria Government website. It is also worth taking a look at the activities and initiatives in place as incentives to stop cyberbullying.
Victoria State Government, Education and Training. http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/bullystoppers/Pages/cyberbullying.aspx