Saturday, September 28, 2013

ELMO Technology

           There are so many technological devices that can be integrated into the art classroom.  I came across one particular product that I think is worth writing about, the ELMO Visual Presenter. I first was introduced to it by my son’s teacher. We were working on decorating the hallways for Multicultural Day at my children’s school, when she gave us a demonstration of how it could be used to project an image to be traced, among other things. I had never seen that specific kind of projector and was impressed, I think mostly because of how small it was.
        As an art teacher, I will be doing many demonstrations. Usually the students gather around the teacher so they can watch the presentation. This is not always the ideal situation for the student or the teacher because it does not give every student the same view, and sometimes it does not give them much of a view at all! Being able to project the demonstration so that everyone can clearly see it is a great advantage. This also gives the benefit of allowing the students to practice while you teach or work along with you, rather than going back to their seats and trying to remember all the steps. In addition, the Visual Presenter allows you to zoom in and document objects. Images can be stored on the SD card which permits you to show all the saved images. I also like the fact that you can pause on an image. I believe this would come in handy if you would like to walk around the class to see if the students were able to complete the step. Another great aspect about it is that it is extremely light weight and folds down for easy storage and portability.   

       I went to the website to look into the price and to see if they offered any other products. The least expensive Visual Presenter was approximately $350, which I thought was not too pricey. I also came across the Wireless Tablet. This is another product that looked interesting. It allows the teacher to walk around the classroom while drawing or pointing out specific points on the image that is being projected. I think this would be great for comparing artworks or a certain detail of an artwork.

      I think both of these items would be able to be used by the students also. The Visual Presenter allows you to project a pretty large image, so they would be able to project their artworks for the class critiques. This would again, give the whole class a better view of the piece. The Wireless Tablet could also be used by students and the teacher to point out the particular critiques that the classmates and teacher may have about the work. I think it would add to student participation because it would make the critique more interesting with the added interaction the tablet creates.

      I know there are similar technologies that perform the same job as these do, but I always think it is important as a teacher to be aware of the many different possibilities that are available to enhance our teaching as well as our students learning experience.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Technology Autobiography

     The three most influential communications technologies in my life up to this point have to be my cell phone, email, and Google.  I cannot imagine having to go home or use a payphone to make a call. Not only do I depend on my cell phone for calls to and from people, but it has become a sense of security. There are many times I’ve forgotten my phone at home and turned around to get it, because I rely on it not only for calls and texts, but for emergencies. Being able to keep in touch with people makes life easier. Smartphones are almost like carrying mini computers around with you, information anytime, almost anywhere. The camera is also a great aspect included in the phone that always comes in handy.

     Another communication technology that the smartphones have within them is email. Email has been a significant tool that I depend upon for communication with friends, family, and school. I receive bills, notices and documents through my email. As a parent and future teacher, I know email will be a major way of communicating with my students’ parents or guardians. I think it is a faster way to convey information or arrange meetings between teachers and parents compared to writing notes back and forth.

     The third most influential communication technology that I cannot live without is Google. Google includes so many features and services, but if I had to narrow it down to one in particular, it would have to be Google search. I cannot image what I would do without it. I have come to depend on using it for investigating important, as well as trivial information. It has helped me immensely in research for school.  For example, being able to access almost any image from historical to contemporary artwork is an amazing advantage. Google search allows me to find information anytime, day or night, which is extremely convenient.

       The negative aspect of these three technologies is how dependent I have become on them. If I do not have my phone with me, it becomes stressful. Friends and family expect to be able to communicate with me almost immediately, as I to them. As for my email, if I was not able to access it, I would panic. Again, I rely on it as a means of communication, especially for school. Without Google search, I would have to spend most of my time at the library. I have become so accustomed to the instant accessibility of information and communication that these technologies offer, I simply would not know how to function without them.

      After watching the video, “Learning to Change, Changing to Learn”, I noticed some similarities and differences between my uses of technologies with that of the students in the video. The convenience and “access to everything” was something that I, too, believe creates a better learner. Some felt they could not live without their laptop or phone. I also feel that technology is a major part in how we operate in today’s society. I am not a gamer or do not tweet, so I do not have much use for those particular technologies. I do agree however, that playing video games can help enhance some of the same skills needed in school and everyday life. I think as future educators integrating technology into the classroom will be something that is easily accepted by the students and will enhance their learning experience.