Monday, February 20, 2012

Course Reflection

I feel this course has been the most helpful of all the courses so far at Walden University. Finally, we were able to get away from books, videos, and writing and get right into the thick of current technology available to us and get ideas from other educators about how to use technology in our own classrooms. While I have been a blogger to show student artwork, and help other teachers as they themselves are learning how to use technology in an art room, creating a wiki and podcast were new and exciting. The wiki was so easy to do, especially with the help of group members, and the podcast was so fun to record, and once a hosting site found, also easy to embed into my blog for others to hear! I can't wait to use these tools in my classroom, especially for music.

Technology has always been a big part of my life, but I struggle finding ways to incorporate it into my art and music classroom because school funding has limited the amount of technology available. I suddenly have found myself in possession of a document camera and ActivBoard that I use daily now that they are available to me and my students for use. I am also in the process of trying to adopt an iPad lab for my music classroom in place of new textbooks. The funding for this should come out of the student textbook fee and will actually be cheaper than book rental.

Over the next two years, I have two goals for my classroom. The first, is to secure an iPad lab for student use in my classroom. I plan to see my students using their individual iPads to do research, learn music and art, as well as compose and create their art to share with others. The second goal is to keep my parents involved by letting them know what we are doing in class by sustaining a classroom blog with student help, and scheduling more computer lab time for my classes to do research, promote internet safety, and share what they are learning with the community through blogs.

After looking back at the week 1 technology checklist, I have found that I can am now more secure in using technology in my classroom than I was at the beginning of the course. Many of the lessons in our course required us to search for internet sources and I found some excellent ways to incorporate technology into an elementary art and music classroom, as well as inspiration that helped me create some of my own ideas. I am looking forward to the new possibilities that have been opened up for my students to learn from using technology.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

How Much Technology are Students Using?

Recently, technology has become quite the hot topic at our elementary school. Teachers, students and administrators are looking at ways to incorporate more tech in our teaching. How much are students already using at home and at school? Well, since I have the entire school for my art and music class, I thought a good way to explore what we have is to poll our classes. My poll found that a staggering 90% of our students had used at least some form of iPod, iPhone, or iPad device, and nearly 75% of students had one of the devices in their own home (even if it was a parent's phone). Nearly every home also had at least one computer, and about 50% had some form of a tablet device as well. This information shocked me as our school isn't considered to be a part of a "rich" community by any means. I chose a sampling of four students, two from a lower grade, and two from our highest grade (although one got sick mid-day and had to leave). I chose these students specifically because I know their families, and that they have availability to technology at home. I was curious to see how much of that technology they were actually using, and how much. (my apologies for the dismissal announcement in the middle, but I left it in because I figured you other teachers would appreciate it!)