Technology Use Plan

Teachers at my school are really left to discover on their own this year. We had a technology support person last year who was part of the Reduction in Force and thus lost her job. She used to give staff trainings during planning periods, looked for grants for teachers (without being asked), fixed computers all over the building and even secured outsourced computers from corporations and cleaned them up for the teachers to have a few student stations in their classrooms. This year we share a tech guy with several other schools and he is to fix computers only. There is no staff development and we have to been left to figure it all out for ourselves.

I don’t really get to network or collaborate with a teaching staff. I am the only Chorus teacher at my school and my county supervisor covers all music and social studies for K-12 in the entire county. I do meet with the other middle school and high school teachers once or twice a year. We don’t usually discuss technology. I do meet with the band teacher at my school regularly, but we don’t discuss technology nor are we supported by technology. When I requested an iMac for the Chorus classroom to teach music composition (part of the Georgia Performance Standards), I was told that we were a “Dell community”. It has been very difficult to convince administrators and county personnel of the need for technology dedicated to the music classrooms for the purposes outlined (“technology that connects them to data, content, resources, expertise, and learning experiences that enable and inspire more effective teaching for all learners”). Because I am an island, this expenditure is seen as unnecessary.

Another thought did occur to me as I read the article from NETP. As I outlined above, the teachers at my school are supported individually right now as far as machinery but not in usage. How will we be supported individually? We can log in to a .gov or a .edu to reach the database? So the federal government will have a database? or the state? The schools could track kids digitally- why have paper folders? Doctor’s offices should/do share with pharmacists. It would make it easier when a student transfers. But what about in custody battles or in court cases- sealed files? rights of minors? How would you shred this information? When we collaborate now it leaves less of a paper trail.

I would describe technology use planning as the explanation for the future use of technology including the identification of the need and how and what the technology will help the students achieve. The NETP plan is like a short biography on a dating service outlining what the federal government is looking for. Although they can’t interfere on the state level, they can make this outline the focus of grants (read: lots of $$) and that’s where the states want to be the first suitors in line.

In reading See’s article “Developing Effective Technology Plans” I agree with his argument that technology plans need to be short term and that they need to be tied to the budget cycle. Many school board members/ stakeholders are not familiar with the machinery but will understand the explanation of the outcome. It also reduces the waste. “We have money to spend- Let’s throw it at technology. Everyone loves the sound of the word of technology in schools. We will look great”.  Instead, the path is more focused and gives the talking heads some speaking points when they need to defend their desicions. This is what is being done with the technology. Teachers should get a pay bonus if they can recycle the same technology for more than one purpose. You get bonus points for collaborating The output of the technology should be part of the request for funding.

I have had a little experience with technology planning and implementation. The motivation was great at the beginning and during the planning phase. Then the funding was lost halfway through the project plan. All the hardware was donated to the school because the company went bankrupt and couldn’t retrieve it  and the project was forgotten.

Useful sections for technology use planning specifically for Fine Arts:

http://www.nctp.com/guidebook.cfm

Fine Arts

The fine arts curriculum in the past often has been treated as an optional rather than an essential part of education. With
the establishment of the  “Goals 2000:  Educate America Act,” the arts is acknowledged as a core subject, as important
to education as English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, history, geography, and other traditional “subjects.” Arts education cultivates the whole person. Education in the arts, in part, helps students to understand human experiences, past and present; learn to respect other’s ways of thinking; learn to solve problems and make decisions; understand the influences of the arts; develop skills in analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating; communicate in a variety of modes; and build skills needed for success in the workplace and in life.

Furthermore, numerous studies show a positive correlation between a substantive education in the arts and student achievement in other subjects and on standardized tests. A good education in the arts should provide a thorough
grounding in a basic body of knowledge as well as the skills necessary to make both sense and use of the arts disciplines.

To fulfill this objective, “National Standards for Arts Education” have been developed, determining what the nation’s
school children should know and be able to do in the arts. “Fine arts” may comprise numerous forms of visual and
performing arts. The National Standards for Arts Education divides the discipline into four areas:  Dance, Music, Theatre,
and Visual Arts, realizing that each of these encompasses a wide variety of forms and subdisciplines. These standards address competencies rather than predetermined courses of study and they are arranged by grade levels (K – 4; 5 – 8; 9 – 12). With implementation of these standards, students in all grades are involved actively in comprehensive, sequential programs that include creating, performing, and producing as well as opportunities for study, analysis, and reflection. With the emphasis on sequential learning, each area is outlined by content standards (specifying what students should know and be able to do in the arts discipline) and achievement standards (specifying the understandings and levels of achievement that students are expected to attain in the competencies) for each of the arts, at the completion of grades 4, 8, and 12. (page 36)
When developing fine arts the following points may be considered:

  • Consult the “National Standards for Arts Education” with the goal of bringing together and delivering a broad range of competent instruction.
  • A fine arts curriculum can help children develop in most of the seven types of intelligences:  visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, and logical/mathematical.

These are seven distinct learning styles identified by Howard Gardner of Harvard University. Gardner has documented “the extent to which students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways.”

  • Integration of art into the teaching of other subject areas causes the related learning to be more relevant.
  • Participation in the arts elicits pleasure as well as intellectual and aesthetic stimulation.
  • Teachers can use technology to enhance both the creation and the understanding of all areas of the fine arts, including movies and animation.
  • Use of multimedia aids learning.
  • With the use of multimedia development tools, students can learn through construction of their own projects.
  • Examples of the use of computers, scanners, camcorders, printers, and any new technologies that allow for exploration and creative design include the following: Students can capture, process, and manipulate words and images using various software programs. Students can compose, revise, edit, and print music using a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) keyboard connected to a computer containing composition software. Students can explore all areas of the arts using CD-ROM disks:  styles, periods, artists/composers, and cultures. Students can visit museums around the world or participate in a worldwide art exhibition of student art. (page 37)
  • Interesting and engaging technologies can intrigue astudent, but it is only through instruction, study, and practice that a student becomes competent. With increasing levels of competence a student becomes moreempowered and productive.
  • Students need to be well guided toward choosing,compiling, and arranging materials appropriate to specific artistic ends.
  • Success is measured by how well students achieve artistic and intellectual objectives, not by how adept they are in using a certain technology.
  • Teachers and students can use the Internet as networking tools to discuss art-related subjects and events.
  • Creative and continual utilization of community resources is a good means of exposing students to the arts: Partnerships with area arts organizations can be developed. Teaching alliances with art specialists can be formed.
  • Address the issues of teacher preparation and professional development in the arts.
  • Consider grants funding via arts organizations. (page 38)
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