Growing up in a small town in Texas in the 1980’s-90’s I knew very little about technology, we had very limited access to it anything digital or computerized. I did not get introduced to real technology until I started college in 1995. Computer classes in my high school were very limited to say the least. The only technology classes offered were very basic introduction to programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and one programming class. I went to college for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree so I was introduced to video editing/creating programs, Adobe Photoshop, digital videography, and digital photography. I took digital editing and creation classes in which we imported videos and photos to create videos with music and voice overs. I enjoyed working with different tools such as digital drawing pads and using editing programs to create pieces of art. I made many pieces of art using Adobe Photoshop to alter my photos that were imported from a digital camera and printed on a plotter. I created many pieces of digital art while in college and liked learning how to use tools that I had never used before. I enjoyed pushing myself to learn new techniques to express my artistic talents digitally instead of traditionally.
Unfortunately, when I began teaching high school art the tools and equipment available were very limited due to lack of funding. As we all know it is very expensive to keep up with the new and improved technology and most public schools did not have a big enough budget for that thirteen years ago. The extent of my use of technology when I started teaching art was a teacher computer to take attendance and keep a gradebook with. I had no student computers and very limited access to a computer lab that had no video or photo programs on them and no money to buy the programs. Therefore, I basically quit working with digital art and my use of technology became almost non-existent in the classroom. Over the past five years I have been able to incorporate more technology into my program but it is definitely not where I would like it to be. I have access to a computer lab that has limited programs. But, so much has changed over the past ten years I am somewhat lost and not able to pass along as much information as I would like. We have digital tablets that I teach my students to use along with some photography editing and digital photography with photo editing software. I personally create artwork on the computer and do many demonstrations to show my students different ways to do things on the computer with the photo editing programs. One other tool I utilize almost daily is a smartboard. This allows me to engage my students in a learning environment in which they are participants and not just students sitting and listening to direction. For example, I can show them different examples of artwork styles and have them vote on or choose a particular style we are talking about via wireless controller. I can see who actually knows what I am talking about and understands the lesson just by looking at my computer and checking their choice. I am not satisfied with the limited technology I am able to teach though.
My students enjoy projects/assignments in which I incorporate technology such as use of the smartboard, photo editing programs, digital photography, and digital videography. But times have changed and we are evolving into a very technologically advanced world that I am not up to date with. I need new tools and more knowledge to help myself and my students advance in their careers and lives. I want to learn about different ways to utilize digital tools and create ways in which I can incorporate more technology in my curriculum. One of my goals as a teacher is to have at least one class that I can primarily teach digital art only. In order for me to do this I have to learn more about advanced technology and what is out there for me to teach with. Next year we will be moving into a new state of the art high school that I will have unlimited access to a computer lab that I will be able to teach graphic art and design. I want to create a curriculum that combines fine art and technology that will intrigue students. I will be able to give my students opportunities that they would not have otherwise. In order for me to do this I have to educate myself, I want to push them into the future with knowledge that I can obtain through learning more about Digital Learning and Leading.