Tag Archives: classroom

Art’s Importance to Education

Blog Inspired Tweet: @agoscinski

On December 1, 2014, CBS Chicago’s news website posted an article titled “Teacher, CEO Advocates Arts Education In Chicago.” In the article the “Chicago Sun Times,” and Shakila Stewart are quoted defining and defending art teachers. The Chicago Sun Times states, “Arts teachers who were rescued from layoffs aren’t always spread out enough for students from diverse neighborhoods to utilize.” Therefore, there are many students in an educational system lacking an art program. With all of the new applications of art, there are certainly resources available to the students. As a college student studying education, I was able to observe a class in a low-income neighborhood. Though they had an art program, the other surroundings schools that did not. However, the surrounding schools still maintained a computer program, and because of new technologies and art applications the teachers could use the computers to implement an art program. “The internet links millions of people in new spaces that are changing the way we think and the way we form our communities.” (Turkle, page 3). So could our computers introduce art in a new way?

“My degree in theater and dance led to my desire to invest in the lives of children who had the gift of performance but whose parents just couldn’t afford to put them in a performing arts program,” explains Shakila Grigler Stewart, an art instructor. An art program gives students the ability to discover wha they enjoy, and what they are passionate about. Creativity, Imagination, and Artistic Abilities are not subjects in school. However, they can positively influence a student’s education. Just as student’s are taught to find their favorite books or subjects, they should also find their favorite type of art. Music, drawing, painting, acting, singing, they are interests that derive passion, and isn’t that what we want for our student’s?

“When they come to school they cannot focus on learning if these emotions aren’t let out in a positive way. Theater allows them to do that. Dancing allows them to be heard, and it gives them a way to express themselves in a way that maybe when they’re taking a test it might not.” (Stewart). Academic curriculums are constructed around producing well rounded and developed students. Art programs should also be viewed as an important step to the students educational career. “When they’re reading the scripts they’re learning literacy. It helps them with their comprehension skills and vocabulary words. I believe education and creativity make [students] become inventors for the future.” (Stewart). Can art be used as a new literary technology? “Students’ writing will be published writing, and it will be produced in genres and by processes that depart radically from the traditional ways writing has been practiced and taught.” (Porter, DeVoss, page 195). Though art is not the traditional way to teach student’s, it very well could be. With proper introduction and implementation art can become a new technology to education.

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The Twitter Teacher or Teaching Twitter

On November 23, a #tfwf14 classmate of mine, @hamilt35, posted an article on twitter. “Classroom innovators: the Twitter teacher,” by “The Irish Times.” As I have discussed the importance of “Zite” in my prior blog post “Educational Innovations,” here is another example of it’s asset to education. This article was posted on an Irish news website, on November 22, 2014, and without “Zite,” would have never made it to my computer screen. Zite is not the only application providing a positive academic resource, Twitter is also implemented into classrooms all around the world.
Teachers are learning how to shape their curriculum around new technologies that their students are using. This process helps teachers engage their student’s conscious effort, attention, and participation. Any college student in Rowan Universities’ Introduction to Writing Arts course, #tfwf14 #tfebt, could explain how Twitter can be used as an academic asset and an educational resource. Now, there is evidence world wide of Twitter’s positive influence on a classroom, as well as, the student’s success.
The article “Classroom innovators: the Twitter teacher,” explains the process of how Twitter can be utilized in an academic setting. “For a typical class, groups of students are asked to research a topic online and then to start tweeting facts in chronological order. He monitors quality, deleting misspelt or out-of-sequence tweets. He then uses Storify to grade and document the tweets. The groups have a sense of researching like historians, he says.” His lessons are structured around the established use of Twitter in the classroom. This creates a positive way for students to use their cellphones in class, therefore, combining the educational information of the History class with the common interests of the students. Essentially providing an efficient way for teachers to obtain their student’s effort and dedication.
Porter and DeVoss express the influence of new technology on writing. “New economies of writing are emerging that promise to carry writing practices in directions that are not yet clear but which will have significant impact on basic literacy.” (Porter, DeVoss, page 195). Twitter influences student’s writing in the classroom. Instead of writing their notes on paper, the chalk board, or typing them on a computer, Twitter has provided an user friendly interface. The respond rate is almost instantaneous, allowing students to observe their classmates ideas. Twitter remediates word documents, pen and paper, and even the chalk board, because the teacher and students can read and respond to the individual comment, or post. Bolter defines remediation as “homage and rivalry, for the new medium, but also makes an implicit or explicit claim to improve the older one.” (page 23). Twitter and Zite are two new educational applications, that offer an academic resource for students of ages. Implementing student’s interests into a lesson plan can derive enveloped participation and academic success.

Educational Innovations

I was recently introduced to a new educational technology, “Zite.” Zite now has an influence on my research processes. This application is an academic resource for discovering and obtaining new educational information. For me, it has replaced news websites, and television channels. What is Bolter’s ideology of remediation and new technologies? “Remediation involves both homage and rivalry, for the new medium, but also makes an implicit or explicit claim to improve the older one.” (Bolter, page 23). Zite offers a user friendly interface, based on educational and personal interests important to the individual. Therefore, Zite essentially eliminates aimless scrolling and wasted time. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t need more hours in a day?

I probably would have never read this article if it wasn’t for Zite. I did not have to research websites or search engines, I just opened my Zite application on my iPhone and there it was. On November 19, 2014, Keith Sawyer published an article titled, “Ten Educational Innovations To Watch For In The Next Ten Years.”
“Education experts at the Open University (UK) led by Professor Mike Sharples, have identified ten innovations that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education.” (Sawyer). The influence on education is existent, but not defined. According to Porter and DeVoss, “New economies of writing are emerging that promise to carry writing practices in directions that are not yet clear but which will have significant impact on basic literacy.” (Porter, DeVoss, page 195). Though the technologies educational resources and academic assets are not yet evident, it does not mean that they will never be.

Ten Educational Innovations:

1.) Massive open social learning: social networking

2.) Learning design informed by analytics: “design and analytics work together to support the development of successful learning and teaching.”

3.) Flipped classrooms: Video lectures, allow students to work at their pace, pausing to make notes when necessary.

4.) Burn your own devices: “teachers become managers of technology-enabled networked learners, rather than providers of resources and knowledge.”

5.) Learning to learn: Web tools/activities such as reflective journals and concept mapping support learning to learn.

6.) Dynamic assessment: The assessor interacts with students during testing, ways to overcome each person’s current learning difficulties.

7.) Event based learning: “do it yourself science” engineering and crafts projects

8.) Learning through storytelling: Developing a narrative to create a meaningful whole

9.) Threshold concepts: a new way of thinking about a problem, a subject or the world.

10.) Bricolage: a practical process of learning through tinkering with materials. Learning through play.

Technologies’ Influence on Education

One of our blog co-administrators, Samantha Regina (@samantharegina8), tweeted an article from The New York Times, “Technology Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say,” by Matt Richtel. 

In this article, the information presented for new technologies influence on students, was obtained through a teacher survey. Richtel explained that, “the researchers note that their findings represent the subjective views of teachers and should not be seen as definitive proof.” (page 1). However, Dr. Dimitri Christakis, states that the “teacher’s views were subjected but nevertheless could be accurate in sensing dwindling attention spans among students.” (Richtel, page 4).

In Turkle’s article, “Who Am We?” an excerpt from her book, “Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet,” she explains “ how computers are not just changing our lives but changing ourselves.” (page 3). According to Vicky Rideout’s research, discussed in Richtel’s article, “media use among children and teenagers ages 8 to 18 has grown so fast that they on average spend twice as much time with screens each year as they spend in school.” (page 1). New technologies have an influence on students’ academic careers, as well as, their lives outside of the classroom. The teacher’s that were surveyed said that, “technology was as much as a solution as a problem.” (Richtel, page 3).Therefor, efficient implementations and conscious adaptions are essential to the technologies’ educational resources, and the students academic success. This is a clarion call for a healthy and balanced media diet,” said Jim Steyer, the chief executive of Common Sense Media. (Richtel, page 3).

“The internet links million of people in new spaces that are changing the way we think and the way we form our communities.” (Turkle, page 3). Technologies within a classroom can become a positive asset, or a negative interference. The associate director for Pew Surveys, Kristen Purcell said, “that the education system must adjust to better accommodate the way students learn.” (Richtel, page 2). Dave Mendell, a forth grade teacher, supports Purcell’s ideology of adapting teaching processes to accommodate the way students learn. “Educational video games and digital presentations were excellent ways to engage students on their terms.” (page 3). Other teachers that participated in the survey explained that “they were using more dynamic and flexible teaching styles.” (Richtel, page 3). In an educational setting, an accommodating teaching style is nothing new. The evidence is expressed in the introduction of ESL (English is a Second Language) programs, to understanding the differences between visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Is there a difference between involving the three different learning styles and introducing the beneficial use of new technologies in an academic lesson? Or is the evolution of educational technologies progressing; producing new obstacles, outdating older technologies, under constant revision, and in a state of acceptance or rejection?

When Turkle discussed computers as a technology, she said “allow us to cycle through cyberspace and real life, over and over. Windows allow us to be in several contexts at the same time.” (page 3). This introduces the main controversial aspect involving the computers influence on it’s users, and therefor the computer’s influence on students. The acceptance argument is “that the Internet and search engines had a mostly positive impact on student research skills, (…), such tools had made students more self-sufficient researchers.” (Richtel, page 2). Whereas the rejection argument is “that digital technologies were creating an easily distracted generation with short attention spans.” (Richtel, page 2). “Windows have become a powerful metaphor for thinking about the self as a multiple, distributed system. The life practice of windows is that of a decentered self that exists in many worlds, that plays many roles at the same time.” (Turkle, page 3). However an agreement can be made by both sides, students are easily distracted, which makes it difficult for teachers to captivate their attention, conscious effort, and constant engagement.(Richtel, pages 1-3). Dr. Christakis said “students saturated by entertainment media, were experiencing a supernatural stimulation that teachers might have to keep up with or simulate. The heavy technology use makes reality by comparison uninteresting.” (Richtel, page 4).

When used in moderation outside of school, as well as, monitored within the classroom, computers can become an accepted academic resource and a successful educational technology.

Myths of Creativity

Fellow blogger, Kylie Trush, tweeted an article titled, “5 Creative Myths You Probably Believe,” written by Christian Jarrett.

Jared states that we often believe that only right brained people have the capability to be creative, and that those left brainers are left thinking they have no chance at creativity. Thinking back, I know I have heard this excuse for lack of creativity in the past! Little comments such as, “My brain doesn’t work that way ” or, “I don’t have the creative gene” are both things commonly said….not just among school students, but adults as well! Are we really creatively stunted because of being left or right brained? Jarrett says “NO.”

“When it comes to creativity, yes, there’s research showing that the right hemisphere is important for problem solving, but there’s also evidence that the left-hemisphere is adept at story-telling.”

This section of the article ends with a point that made me laugh. “Real neuroscience says: if you’re human and you’ve got a brain, you’re capable of being creative.” Love that!

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Another myth Jarrett argues is, “It is Simply Not Possible to Bribe People to be Creative.” It isn’t? Yes it is. Why do we participate in collaborative work at school? What is the point of working together? We share ideas with each other that results in sparking ideas in group members minds. We continuously influence and inspire each other. Of course, it is important to avoid letting someone take charge:

“It’s also important to conduct brainstorming sessions in the right way. Groups need to guard against those dominant characters who shoot down other people’s ideas; and more passive individuals need to be encouraged to share their thoughts without fear of being judged or ridiculed.”

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We all have the power to be creative, and the potential for imagination lies in all of us. Creative writing can be unstoppable just as soon as y discover how you personally can spark creativity! Good luck.

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Creativity is Key

With all of the technology available at our fingertips, it is easy to lose sight of human contact and every day communication with others.

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Technology has a way of getting people to communicate behind a screen, which can be very detrimental to the way people work together in the classroom, workplace, and out in the “real” world. Many people argue that technology is hindering the creative learning process of students, but others say that creativity is sparked by technology and creative arts that interest the students in the classroom.

There is a universal push for STEM in many schools, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math.  Nicky Morgan, the author of the article Creativity is the key to education, so why aren’t we pursuing it?, said that “the choice by pupils to study traditionally creative subjects, the humanities and arts, would in fact restrict their career choices.” STEM gives students the ability to study and focus on the “non-traditional” topics that are usually studied in school.

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“Creativity in schools isn’t just restricted to the teaching of “creative” subjects; art, English etc. In fact even that definition of what subjects are creative is a misstatement of what creativity can mean,” (Morgan). A lot of the time, students lose their sense of creativity in the classroom because of a lack of interest in the topics being studied. Tailoring lessons too fit the needs and interests of the students in the classroom is one way to get creativity stirring. Once the students find a topic that interests them, they will be more likely to complete assignments and do something out-of-the-box. They will be less likely to hold back because they feel confident and comfortable with the subject matter.

Lessons can be tailored to fit any subject area, too.  Sherry Turkle, in her article Who Am We? was showing creativity with her various nickname; she was able to change her identity and play off of them to fit what she was writing about. Like Turkle, if a teacher is presenting a history lesson to the class in a monotone way, the students will lose interest within five minutes, but when the teacher is enthusiastic about the material,  the students will be more likely to be enthusiastic as well.

The Technologically Inspired Classroom

I feel as though teachers used to dread  introducing and involving  computers with daily lessons in their class for fear of it not working properly or taking too long to load, or even be too complicated. I remember sitting in class as a little girl and constantly wondering when we were going to get the chance to finally use the computers that were collecting dust in the back corner of the classroom. I always wanted the chance to use the computers, and was disappointed when the only chance we got to used them was during our “specials” period when we learned to type the right way.

Today, teachers are not only incorporating computers into their daily classroom instruction, but also using iPads, SMART boards, and social media to get their class more involved and interested in the lesson materials and topics. In an article from the World Economic Forum titled How Online Learning Prepares Teens for Higher Education, “there is a growing interest in the possibilities that different forms of virtual schooling can offer,” (Oliver). Teachers are becoming more creative  with how they incorporate technology into the classroom, and is proving to be very beneficial in the long run.intro1

A study was performed by the Institute of Education, which took a look at experiences of current university students who had completed the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). These students took a series of online classes, and the ages of the participants ranged from 17 to 23 (Oliver). The results of the study are pretty interesting and exciting for technology; “Of the students interviewed, 94% said finding academic resources on the internet was important to their success and 78% said being able to plan group tasks using online calendars, scheduling tools and discussion applications mattered. Another 71% found social networks useful for building relationships with other learners,” (Oliver). Essential parts of university life, such as virtual learning environments, discussion forums, Google tools, and audio-visual learning resources such as YouTube were all a major part of online classes, and gave the students  confidence with using the web, as stated in How Online Learning Prepares Teens for Higher Education.

“One student described how this experience online had helped them develop valuable skills and approaches: ‘I often use Google Docs and other Google tools to collaborate on group projects, including working with teams that are in different locations and time zones,'” (Oliver). Technology, both inside and outside of the classroom promotes independent learning, which is a really important skill for students to develop. Instead of having the information handed to them in a presentation and lecture form, students could be given instruction before class, then investigate further during class, like in a flipped classroom for example. Having the teacher present in class to answer any questions about the lecture/material from the previous night is really beneficial. Instead of sitting through a boring lecture in class then going home to complete the assignments, the students can talk to their professor about any issues and get them squared away before the end of class.

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Online learning and technology infused into the classroom is proving to be very beneficial to students, and teaches them various styles of learning. For students who do not have computers at home, the chance to use various forms of technology is wonderful! Technology is going to play a major role in our lives inside and outside of the classroom, so it only makes sense to get accommodated with that it has to offer when whenever possible!