10 years from now I hope to be warping my floor loom after a leisurely
breakfast, but for right now I have become digitally aware by default. First
of all I must admit I am not afraid of much. Call it stupidity or just plain
curiosity, but I will go like a bull in a china shop with new things. Back
in the day, my husband and I built our own color tv and computer using
Heathkits. Remember when there was just a navigator called Netscape? I was
one of the few teachers that used it, and helped people find cheap providers
from "The List", boy those were the days. I eBayed before people knew what
it was and got great great great deals because of the innocence of the
sellers. I have a digital video camera that I use in the classroom to 'tape'
my puppet kids so that they have feedback on what they are doing (they are
obviously behind the scenes and can't see what they are doing when they do
it). I bought my own projector to dovetail with my laptop to show the AP Art
History kids the Power Points I prepared. Recently I received a grant to buy
a Smart Board (again dovetailed to the projector/laptop) to use in my AP Art
History class. I went to a workshop and thought, cool beans, I want one of
those and wrote a grant.
I use the oldest cell phone in the world though, and could care less about
any kind of blackberry, etc. I see technology as an easier way to diseminate
information, and to gather information. One of the first things I did with
Netscape was search for art and sat speechless in front of the screen.
Now for the flip side. Do I TEACH any of these technologies? No. I USE them,
but am not in a position to teach them. My curriculum is not geared for
teaching "Power Point" for example. I have one computer in the room, with no
printer. My students can access images but only as reference, not to print
out. (not by choice, school has no printers to replace my old one). We DID
however write curriculum for Graphic Design I and II and have a computer lab
dedicated just to the art department for those classes. I had been awarded a
grant in 1988 and bought an Amiga (remember them?) and had my advanced
students work on it, allowing them to sign it out months at a time (they
took it home and become early computer geeks). It has since been
disassembled and used in artwork.
As for practical use of technology, out school JUST started letting us put
grades on the computer (done by hand for the last 31 years) and this will be
the first year we will be ordering our supplies online. We have a
minimalistic website that few teachers take advantage of. (The art
department still can't post work, we are working on that). 20 years ago,
when I was on a technology committee I recommended we use the computer for
ordering supplies, and people looked at me like I had a third eye.
My point? Technology at my expense keeps me informed, and allows me to share
information with students. Technology at the expense of taxpayers is usually
slow in getting to the students and the teachers.