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Technology is a huge part of the twenty-first century art room. It’s an amazing asset but also brings some big challenges. In a TAB classroom, it’s almost impossible to continuously monitor technology usage with all of the other processes going on. It can be difficult to find a way to use technology while keeping students safe and preserving the autonomous spirit of the classroom. However, it can be done! And while it does take some set up, the results will be worth it.
Setting up a technology center in your classroom takes some special consideration. Here are three ideas to help get you started.
Before offering technology, such as iPads, in a choice-based space, it’s important to set extremely clear expectations and consequences. Frame the center as a privilege that needs to be taken care of.
Splashes and spills are regular occurrences in the art room. Make sure your students know exactly how to keep the devices safe. Create an anchor chart to remind students of the rules.
For example, an anchor chart for an iPad station might have the following:
As much as we try and police it, we have to face the facts. Kids have access to the big bad Internet twenty-four hours a day. Therefore, we need to teach kids how to be responsible users and set clear expectations for tech usage in the classroom.
Here are two basic guidelines to share with your students:
Make sure both positive and negative consequences are crystal clear for students.
Here are some suggestions:
It’s a good idea to connect with your technology specialist to ask for help and ideas. You may even be able to use school-wide common language or consequences to keep things clear for your kids!
Once your expectations are clearly stated and displayed, then comes the fun part. If you’re new to using tech in the classroom, you might want to start small. Download a few apps and test them out with some of your classes. Easing in allows your students to show you what works best for them. Pretty soon, your tech savvy kids will likely be showing you cool new apps for the art room! Here are four specific ways to use your new station.
Keeping track of student artwork is important in all classrooms. Accountability can be especially tricky in a TAB room where students are making artwork in a variety of different mediums at all different paces.
Using technology to document artwork really helps with that accountability piece. iPads specifically offer tons of amazing apps to store artwork digitally. Google Classroom, Seesaw, and Artsonia are all great choices. Teaching students to upload their own work allows them to share their work and artist statements with the world. Plus, after it’s uploaded, you can send original artwork home to cut down on clutter while still having the ability to keep track of work for grading.
The Internet is the world’s largest visual resource library! No longer will you need a printer or vast array of physical visual resources to accommodate your students’ diverse interests. Students with access to technology develop more confidence in their researching abilities. In my room, I hear students say things like, “I think I can find out,” way more oftan than, “I don’t know how.”
Sometimes students are the best inventors! I once set up a Claymation station with polymer clay only to have students adapt the process to include all stations.
Pretty soon my kids were documenting their drawing and collage processes, using sculptures as characters in their animations, and creating full-length features with Star Wars Origami. Technology doesn’t have to be self-contained! It can enhance traditional artmaking experiences.
If your school allows access to YouTube or other online video resources, students with tech devices can easily access flipped instructional videos created by you or other art teachers.
You can also create online anchor charts with step-by-step instructions, links to visual resources, and art history scavenger hunts right on your classroom website.
Although nerve-wracking, incorporating technology into your classroom can be hugely successful. With such a powerful motivator, students will rise to the challenge of taking responsibility!
How do you incorporate technology into your classroom?
Do you have any favorite apps or programs to share?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.