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>>I am seeking information on secondary teachers who are using computers in
classroom and their connections to jobs, skills, college entrance and
performances. My district has recently discussed adding visual art to
our technology plan and beginning to implement a program at the high
school level and work down. I would appreciate any comments on programs,
hardware, software, opinions etc... We are basically starting with
nothing and building a program with goals towards businesses in our
community, college portfolios, internships, skills and standards etc... <<
I see you are in Austin, Texas which makes things a little easier for you.
Austin, San Francisco and L.A. are the hotbeds of multimedia production
right now. In L.A. (where I am ), companies can't hire digital artists fast
enough to fill their demand. An entry level 2D or 3D artist who is
proficient and creative can expect a starting salary around $30,000. I've
have seen job postings offer as high as $60,000 (at last, the laws of supply
and demand work in favor of artists!). Your market is different but here is
1. Start an Advisory Council composed of the OWNERS of MM businesses in
Austin. This sounds like a bureaucratic waste of time but it will serve you
in the long run, and believe me, most will be honored that you value their
expertise. A good place to start looking for these people is to go to a
meeting of your local MUG (multimedia user group). Network. These people
know MORE people who might help you.
The Advisory Council should do a number of things: Identify hardware and
software needs (which will always be changing), formulate a curriculum that
serves the needs of the marketplace (which will always be changing), and
provide valuable contacts (internship and employment of your students).
Having the business community behind you can help in obtaining grants AND
protect your program when the district is looking for places to cut the
budget. Rule 1 is don't try to do everything yourself. These people are
2. These are the pros, listen closely to what they say. Most people will
stop coming to meetings if they are not working towards anything or they feel
they are tokens. They have a special knowledge of these programs from
spending 8 hours a day in them and can give you the tips that aren't in the
books. They can be guest speakers and teachers. Let them see what you are
doing. Introduce them to your artists. Invite them to class to critique
assignments. Have a portfolio day at the end of the year. AND, you are
working with businesses that have a high turnover on equipment. If the owner
knows you and your needs he or she will be more inclined to GIVE it to you
when the time comes to upgrade.
3. Budget for quality time. This may mean an open lab before or after
school or weekends. 40 minutes of work a day to learn programs and create
quality projects isn't enough.
4. SHOW people what you are doing. It isn't enough to tell people. We're
artists, we should understand this better than anyone. Set up a website that
showcases the work your art department is doing.... make the world your
marketplace, not just Austin.
There are a handful of programs they will probably advise you to acquire ....
we're talking professional programs now ... Adobe Photoshop, Adobe
Illustrator, Premiere (for converting video to digital format and editting),
Infini-D or Strata Studio Pro (3D modeling), Director or Authorware (MM
authoring programs), Soundedit. At least 64MB of RAM, 2Gig hard drive, DAT
tape drive so students can have an individual backup of all their work, and a
CD-R writer (make your own CD-ROMs).
Orange County High School of the Arts
Los Alamitos, CA