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[teacherartexchange] How Jeannette integrates technology - elementary (long post)


From: Judy Decker (judy.decker_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Nov 10 2005 - 11:21:40 PST

Greetings Art Educators,

Several Art Education list members wanted to know more about how
Jeannette integrates technology. She sent me the narrative she
included with the nomination. Jeannette received the Outstanding
teacher integrating technology for her school - J.H. House Elementary.
There were 17 winners throughout the district.

Here is what Jeannette does:

Jeannette K. Anthos-Personal Narrative

My current teaching assignment is as the art teacher for J. H. House
Elementary School. This is my fifth year as the art teacher here. I
teach approximately 545 students, whom I see on a four-day rotating
schedule. This means that I see the same classes every four days. I
see Kindergarten for 40 minutes, and grades 1-5 for 45 minutes.

My personal interest in technology has been quite a journey for me.
Honestly, when I was first introduced to technology, it really was not
my thing. I can remember sitting in college classes hating that I was
working on the computer. Although, that was when I was geared towards
a career in graphic design. However, near the end of my undergraduate
coursework, I had the chance to go to a state conference and learn
about Flex Cams (see website:
A Flex cam is this amazing piece of technology that connects to a
television just as a VCR would. However, it is a live camera, so to
speak. I learned that I could demonstrate concepts and techniques to
classes from the front of the room. In art, students need constant
demonstration, but there is always the problem of crowding around the
table. I saw how this little piece of technology could change that,
and I immediately became hooked. I started to wonder how a digital
camera could enhance instruction. Then I started teaching at JHH and
learned about the advantages of a scan converter. While teaching, I
started my Master's program at the University of Georgia. I learned
about various technological advances there and started going out and
experimented with different peripherals and software on my own, such
as scanners, and software like Photoshop Elements. I am constantly
looking and learning about new technologies that can enhance the
instruction I give to my students, as well as ways my students can use
technology to enhance their learning.

       I have had some training in technology, but it was more on
Macintosh programs, such as Story Space, Tinderbox, and others. These
are things I learned when I worked on my Master's at UGA. I also
received some training through the Rock IT courses, mostly in Excel
because I had never used that before. However, the majority of my
training came by having an interest in technology and teaching things
to myself. Some of the programs I learned on my own were Microsoft
Word, Power Point, Publisher, Adobe Acrobat Professional, Adobe
Photoshop Elements, and many more. As I became more comfortable with
technology and learned more, my professors at UGA would ask me to
teach various technology tools and ideas to class. I have taught peers
how to use technology in the art room at state and national art
education conferences. I feel that the more teachers who are aware of
the benefits of technology in the art room means more students are
being positively affected by it.

Technology has made a great impact on routines & productivity in the
art room. For every lesson, I must introduce the new concept and
skills the students are to learn. This can be best achieved by the use
of the Flex Cam. It is used every day, and with every class, to
demonstrate different techniques to students. Techniques such as clay,
papier-mâché, oil pastel blending, painting, etc. Without it,
instructional time would be wasted by students needing to get up from
their seats, coming to a demonstration table, in the process they
would end up pushing one another trying to see what the teacher is
doing. In short, it would be a chaotic mess. The Flex Cam maximizes
instructional time, which is especially important in my subject area
because I only get to see the students for a limited amount of time
each week. The scan converter has a similar effect. When I want to
show students an example of a piece of art, or show them their own
artwork on the Internet, the scan converter allows me to do this
easily. All students can see the TV from the same viewpoint, instead
of all of them crowding around a small poster. It again maximizes
instructional time. As far as classroom management goes, I have a
system called "Three marbles in the can". Students do not want to get
three marbles in the can during one class period. If they do, then
they lose that quarter's surprise day. Surprise day can be anything
from art criticism games, to tessellations, to art memory games.
Although students can hear the marble fall in the can, by placing the
can under the flex cam, student can also see the marbles drop in the
can. The Flex Cam is very effective for classroom management.
Technology has made a hug impact for me in terms of lesson planning
and student instruction. I am able to type my lesson plans into
programs and templates I have created in Microsoft Word and Adobe
Acrobat Professional. In addition, after attending a national art
conference in Colorado in 2004, I learned of a new lesson planning
software program designed just for art teachers, called Teacher
Toolkit. This year I have started using it and experimenting with it.
It's wonderful because it lets you put examples of student artwork
within the lesson, as well as having all QCC's listed.

Using Power Points in my classroom has become as natural as showing
art prints to my students. I used Power Points to introduce a lesson
to my students, such as the unit on Japan as you saw in my lessons I
submitted. I also use Power Points to show specific techniques to
students as well, such as the steps for creating a clay rattle that I
submitted in my lesson plans. I show these Power Points to my
students either using the scan converter and TV, or by using the
school's LCD projector. The digital camera has been an integral part
to my art program. I have used it to photograph things outside to
show to the students (I just connect the camera directly to the TV).
For instance, one year fifth graders had a hard time understanding
various leaf compositions. So I quickly went outside to photograph
leaves and showed it to the class via the TV. It instantly made a
connection for the students. I have also used the digital camera to
photograph student artwork on the spot as well as photographing
students creating their art. When students are photographed, it makes
them feel special. I love incorporating literature into the art
curriculum when possible. Some books I have are too small to read to
an entire class, meaning the pages are quite small. Therefore, I have
scanned books and put them into a Power Point program and read stories
to the children that way. It gives the students bigger images to look
at, thus resulting in a more in-depth conversation about the topic.

Technology has also allowed me to take my students on virtual field
trips to the museums across the world. All we need is an internet
connection and a LCD projector (because the TV is too small).
Currently I have displayed over 1,100 pieces of student art on a
website called Artsonia. Students get a thrill out of having their
artwork online. This would have not been a possibility without the
technology of the digital camera, scanner, and internet. Photoshop
Elements has been a vital program for me to be able to put artwork
online. I am able to edit students' art in terms of the brightness of
the image, as well as cropping out any background distractions.
Photoshop Elements has also been helpful because if there is a
specific artwork I want to show students, yet it may have a body part
students don't need to see, I can edit that using Photoshop Elements.

       Technology has made a positive impact on student achievement,
student empowerment, motivation and spirit of inquiry. The Artsonia
website ( currently has 1,189 pieces of art
published and has had over 25,000 visitors! When I mention to students
that the current project we are working on is one that I would like to
put on Artsonia, that instantly makes them want to do their best job.
They know that if the world can see their art, they want to put their
best effort into it. The digital camera really motivates students
because they really want a chance to be a student reporter (as you saw
in the lessons I submitted). It is very empowering for the students
for them to take charge and ask the questions, write about the
assignment, and photograph it. I had fierce competition this year in
deciding upon the student reporters. Students LOVE seeing their
artwork on TV. This is done by placing their artwork under the flex
cam before class time is over. They become "art movie stars", which
motivates them to do their best work, because they want their
classmates to see them shine. Showing Power Points of a project that
displays pictures of the step-by-step process (such as the clay rattle
or the Howard Finster flowers), it really gets students motivated to
participate and do their best. They not only see the end project, but
already have an idea of how they will go about achieving the end
product. It helps take the fear out of the unknown. Students love to
use the three computers I have in the back of the room. When they
finish a project ahead of time, they are allowed to go to the computer
and create a piece of art in Kid Pix, or in any of the 3 art programs
I have: The Louvre, A is for Art C is for Cezanne, or Open Your Eyes.
Also, when the upper grades are working on a project that has to do
with world issues, or if they want to research an artist, they ask if
they can go to the computer and find some research. All of these
ideas come from them. Every year we have a county wide art show. I
send home parent letters each year detailing the exhibit's events. In
this letter, I include a digital picture of the student's artwork, so
that parents are aware of what to be on the lookout for. Also, due to
our population, many students do not have transportation to the art
show. So I digitally photograph the evening, and then put it into a
Power Point at the school, so all students and teachers can see what

       I have several goals for the future in terms of professional
growth, students instruction, and technology integration. I plan to
continue doing workshops for county art teachers as well as teachers
across the state in areas of technology. I also plan to keep applying
for grants to have a LCD projector permanently housed in the art room.
I have applied for several over the last few years, yet I have been
unsuccessful. I believe that perseverance will prevail. I have
witnessed from the students' actions and words, that the bigger the
image is for them to view, the more interest they take in the project,
but also the more interest they have in the artist or culture we are
studying. I would like to do more with the three computers I have in
my room. Originally, I had asked for them because I was receiving an
old school scanner and it was going to be hooked up to the computer.
My idea was that when a student finished a piece of art, they could
take it to the scanner, and then have the opportunity to "take the art
further". By that, I mean the student would be able to distort and
edit their artwork in Photoshop Elements and turn it into a new piece
of art. So, when a student tells me "I'm finished!"-I can say "No
you're not, let's see what else you can do"-and lead them to one of
the three computers. I still want to be able to achieve this goal. I
know one day I will. I would also like for students to be able to
create digital art as a class project, yet, to do that means we would
have to have the software on all computers in the computer lab. Plus,
I may need some more training in the software. However, I feel this
can be achieved with the proper planning and funding. Although I do
not believe computers should take over how art is created and
expressed, I do believe that they can enhance the art making process
when used correctly. Moreover, I am a firm believer that technology
has a positive effect of how art instruction takes place and how
students can excel in the fine arts.
Hope this helps some of you out there.

Judy Decker

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