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Including technology is not that tricky.

Stepping Stones is a monthly column that breaks down seemingly daunting tasks into simple, manageable "steps" that any art educator can take and apply directly to their classroom. Stepping Stones will explore a variety of topics and share advice for art-on-a-cart teachers and those with art rooms.

In this day and age, it's essential to include technology in students' education. We now live in a world with smartphones, video games, laptops, iPads and many other items the students know and use every day.

In my first year of teaching, I was unaware of how to even attempt to include technology with juggling the traveling, materials and time. With patience, research and teamwork, I found ways to include it within my curriculum. There's an unending list of ways to include teaching in this digital age, and mine is just an elementary perspective.

(1) WHEN PUSHING A CART, the last thing on your mind may be to push a laptop/projector cart from room to room. As hard as it may be, it's best to try to find some way to include technology, even on top of everything else you push around. If you have that extra cart, or access to a laptop/projector, consider pushing that extra cart for the use of technology in your lessons. It's great for interactive websites with the entire class, and showing slideshows of artists and artworks to students.

(2) SPEAKING OF LAPTOPS, I acquired a laptop/projector cart at my schools to use with my curriculum and it's been amazing. Previous to having the laptop, I had to use printed 8" x 10" images I found from the computer to introduce lessons (if I didn't have the full poster print). Students could barely see it, even if I printed an image for each table. With the projector, I capture the students' attention with PowerPoints, interactive art websites and videos to introduce lessons. It's an extra cart to push, but well worth it.

(3) WHEN PUSHING THE CART from room to room, in the beginning of the school year check where the electrical outlets are in each classroom and communicate with the homeroom teacher about when you plan to use your projector. You may get lucky and the homeroom teacher may have his or her own laptop/projector set for you to use!

(4) If YOUR SCHOOL HAS A COMPUTER/WIRELESS LAB, check out the schedule with the homeroom classes. See if there is open space for you to squeeze in a class or two. This will help some of your classes in using the computers for your own lessons, including art-based websites or creative programs (such as Adobe and Crayola Art Studio).

(5) IF YOUR SCHOOL HAS A MOBILE WIRELESS CART, reserve it! The cart is available to all staff in the school, which includes the "specials" teachers. Similar to the computer lab, you can use the laptops for your art lessons within your own art space. The same goes with the iPads. If your school has access to iPads for classroom use, explore the apps available for art.

(6) THERE ARE MANY DAYS that I find getting a wireless connection with a roaming (traveling) school profile just doesn't work. That's where flash/thumb drives come in, and they have been a huge help in tricky situations. Everything is saved on a flash drive, including all my PowerPoints, and it can go with you everywhere. Just don't leave it plugged in at one school when you're at the next ... or you'll be kicking yourself as you get in your car to drive back to the previous school to get it--like I do sometimes.

(7) THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, I am always taking pictures of student work and progress for displays. If you are able to acquire a digital camera through your supply orders or a grant, it can be quite helpful--even for documenting for the national board certification.

By having a digital camera at my disposal, I've been able to send digital photos to the proper contacts for press releases, the schools' websites, and more. There are plenty of uses! A word of caution: Make sure you have the parents' permission before using photographs or videos.

(8) THERE ARE ALSO PLENTY OF PROJECTS you can plan involving digital cameras, printers and video. Pinterest has many ideas for incorporating photography within created artworks in class. In our junior high, the art teacher collaborated with the technology department in making clay-animation videos. If you don't have a classroom, you could still acquire a camera and create an after school art class to create clay-animation projects.

(9) DOES YOUR DISTRICT OFFER TECHNOLOGY-BASED professional development? Here's a nice idea: offer to present a technology hour on art-based websites or programs for your co-workers. This will help open your colleagues to more ways to include the arts within their own classroom, and you may even find ways to co-teach lessons during the school year.

Yes, it certainly is possible to include technology while traveling, it just takes a bit of effort. After all, we need to incorporate 21st-century learning skills and technology is an "essential" with educating the future of the 21st century.

Heidi O'Hanley is an art teacher for Wilkins and Lyle Elementary Schools. Visit her blog at www.talesfromthe
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Title Annotation:Stepping Stones
Author:O'Hanley, Heidi
Publication:Arts & Activities
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2013
Previous Article:Painting Outdoors.
Next Article:Color artists.

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