Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Professional Growth Technology Day

Today was our Tech PGC Day. As usual, got a lot of useful information, but found it hard to adapt in the art room. (Another aggravating point to note is... every time we have presenters show some awesome tools or sites, we try them out the next work day- and they're blocked! How frustrating is this?!) Anywho.. my notes from the day:

Polleverywhere-  Have you seen when programs or events ask you to text in your response or vote? This site does just that. Our presenter explained that at her district, her 6th graders actually utilize cell phones as an educational tool. Again, it would be: one, awesome if all my students owned cell phones (I guess), and two, if we were allowed to use cell phones in the class (which will take me personally a long time to accept). However, she did show us a way on the site to poll students using a log on rather than cell phones. How does this relate to art? Might be a cool way to poll students who their favorite artist is, what they're favorite part of a recent project was, what they found difficult, etc.

Delicious- We didn't dabble too much with this site, but from my understanding, it is very similar to Pinterest. It's basically a combination of StumbleUpon and Pinterest, organizing bookmarks that are categorized and relevant to you.

Scribd- Okay, so this was a prime example of when our presenter was trying to show us something and our network had the site blocked. I really do apologize, but this site I know nothing about, but the description is as follows: Scribd is a social publishing site, where tens of millions of people share original writings and documents. Scribd's vision is to liberate the written word. I went to check out the site but soon realized it's one of those I will have to explore more in depth. At first glance, it appears to be a site similar to Twitter mixed with Facebook, but more document related. It seems to have the ability look up documents and be able to share your own. Art relation? This would be great for any art history lessons, whether they are related to a time period or specific artist. They have powerpoints, word docs, pdf's, etc.

Gaggle- Have you ever been on a website and needed to create a user id and login? Annoying, right? Most of the time, our students don't even have email addresses. This site lets you create email addresses for your students. (It would be ideal if your district could use this as a whole.) Not only do your students have a way to log in to sites and access email, but it also archives documents into "the cloud." Emails also get flagged and notified to the teacher for any inappropriate language, picture sending, etc. This might be more helpful for the upper elementary - high school level.

Okay... so after realizing we were limited to some sites, our presenter introduced us to cooltoolsforschools. On the left side, they categorize the many tools that are helpful for schools. This is extremely useful for when you try to access a website, like youtube, and realize that your school has it blocked. cooltoolsforschools offers a wide range of suggestions similar to what you're looking for.

Wordle and Tagxedo create word clouds.  Art relation? Maybe something cool when reviewing vocabulary or a specific topic, like Pop Art. Also can be used for a great reference to a typography project. 

Quizlet- Great across all disciplines for making flashcards. They have some pre-made already (and yes, there are some already categorized under an 'Art' section) or you can make your own to tailor your words! You wouldn't necessarily have to test students just to assess their vocab comprehension- this site can be used more to strengthen their vocab.

ToonDoo- Probably my favorite of the bunch that I learned about today! It's a comic creator with a lot of options. Students can use the proloaded avatars, make their own, upload their own, add speech bubbles, can choose from a variety of backgrounds- very fun! You would have to explain and monitor the fine line of playing and learning however, making sure your students are "playing with a purpose." One quick way to utilize this off the top of my head? How about creating a comic skit between two artists? Ex, Monet meets Van Gogh. There really are a lot of possibilities, and this would be a nice technology lesson to use with the younger kids who are limited to making art on KidPix or Picassohead.

Bubbl.us- A fun, colorful and interactive way to make mind maps. Again, very helpful with vocab or art history.

Last but not least was Google Docs. SO many reasons to use this:
- It's a FREE Word Processing Program. (You're school could potentially save up to $50,000 a YEAR without having to update their Microsoft Word license.)
- Because it is FREE, students can access it from anywhere that has internet, more importantly, home if available. Rather than having to buy Microsoft Office, Google Docs can create word files, powerpoints, and charts!
- Because you only need access to the internet, everything they save is archived to "the cloud." No more jump drives!
- SHARING- Students can share a file with you and immediately, you can revise or comment on the work. There is an automatic archive of the entire file's history, too. ALSO, you can share with your fellow coworkers! Imagine working on one document and sharing it with three other teachers that can edit and modify the same file. No space is taken up on any one's hard drive, email, jump drive, anything!

I'm sure I was just exposed to the tip of the iceberg, from Google Docs and everything else mentioned. It's beyond amazing thinking about how far technology has come, and I'm only 27! I can't imagine what it will be like in a mere decade from now.

Hopefully some of these can be useful for you, or for you to even share with your faculty. Anything I'm missing that you'd love to share?


  1. Wow. I've never heard of ANY of these things. I feel like I'm in the Dark Ages.

  2. Me neither... but it's something that we inevitably are going to have to keep up with.. overwhelming, I know.

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