Our arts education teachers quietly go about their work, often marginalized to the ‘extras’ or the ‘fluff’ of the school program, writes Canadian teacher educator Brenda Sherry. “And yet, I would argue that they are the PBL experts that we seek!” Sherry describes several attributes of student-centered pedagogy that are common among teachers of drama, music, painting, dance and artistic crafts.
It appears that while schools and software companies are gearing up for students to start creating and curating a digital portfolio, the reality is that colleges and their admissions directors are more conservative on the current and future role of this medium. Right now, few colleges and universities will consider additional application materials and do not see this changing in the near future.
In mid-December, 33 tenth grade students, three teachers, assorted parents, and four guest judges gathered to watch the first ever Constitutional Amendments Film Festival at our school. The film festival was the largest and most complex research-based project of the three we’d done since school began this year. My colleagues and I had committed our students to two and one-half weeks of research, film creation, and film editing.
Twitter’s power as a personal learning network made coming back to school after the winter break more tolerable for Lisa Noble and her Canadian elementary kids. The highlights included tweets from space, transmitted by astronaut and social media maven Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut who landed on the international space station just before Christmas. And then there was littleBits…
It’s Arwen Kuttner’s first year with iPads and her first year as a reading support teacher in second grade. Can the iPads help her struggling readers? When it comes to letters and sounds, she’s not willing to trade her multisensory learning techniques for a digital tablet. But creation-based apps could help deepen reading comprehension. “It’s up to me,” she writes, “to know when to use the iPads and when not to, in order to keep learning effective and meaningful.”
All of us who advocate for the learning potential of mobile technologies continue to navigate the hurdles of opening up BYOD devices in the unique context of school. My students and I had an “a-ha” moment the other day, in terms of digital citizenship and how we really need to think before we post images to the Internet. Or maybe even before we take the picture.