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Get Wired for Learning

Eight ways you can integrate technology into arts education

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Does technology give you the heebie-jeebies? Is your use of technology limited to email? Are you feeling stumped about how to integrate technology into your arts teaching?

There are great reasons to take the plunge and incorporate technology and the arts. Skills in both technology and the arts have a lot in common. Both can teach the “4 Cs” of 21st century learning skills—collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. Check out these eight tips to put you on the road to tech-savvy arts learning.

Take 1 - #1 Start simply. Add one new tech tool at a time. Collaborate with a colleague where you each learn a tool (e.g. a tablet computer, a smart phone, or a laptop computer) and share it with the other person. This will prep you to teach it to and use it with your students.
Take 5 - #2 Update your assignment. Integrating technology does not mean necessarily adding more to a unit or assignment but teaching it in a new way. Look for a tool that is a digital version of something you are already doing. If your students prepare a portfolio, have them create a digital version using a wiki or blog rather than presenting it in a three-ring binder.
Take 3 - #3 Keep your eyes open for new ideas. Follow an education technology blogger who samples and reviews tech tools for the classroom. They are typically educators who have real experience putting technology to work in their curriculum. There are also websites like Pinterest and Learnist that work like bulletin boards, where other educators post ideas and tools to use in the classroom.
Take 5 - #4 Broaden your students’ audience. The audience for student work in the arts is often family and friends who can see it in your classroom. Expand their horizons with online art sharing. Websites such as Artsonia and Glogster give your students an online gallery or performance space. Artwork can be scanned and uploaded to the website. And performing arts work can be shared through a dedicated YouTube channel. These online forums also allow you to store your students’ work, creating a digital record of their learning and development.
Take 5 - #5 Foster 21st century pen pals. Classroom pen pal projects can be more than letters. Technology can connect classrooms through videos and online conferencing, such as Skype, allowing your students to share a dance they created or a song they have learned. You don’t have to go it alone. There are online projects such as “Rock Our World” that unite students from different countries and cultures through technology to make music together.
Six Invite the masters into your classroom. Technology allows us to access master works in all the art forms with few limits on geography or time. Museums and performing arts organizations offer generous resources on their websites for educators and students. Without leaving the classroom, students can watch video of a rehearsal at the Royal Shakespeare Company in England or visit New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s collection. These sites are also great resources for student research and inspiration. Click here for more on great American masters of the 20th century.
Seven Call on tech-savvy students. Use your students as a resource. Some of them may have made their own discoveries of cool tech tools. Encourage students to explore digital tools for artmaking. There are an abundance of apps for tablets and smartphones that allow users to paint, play music, even animate a story. Give your students an opportunity to teach you and other students how to use it.
Eight Teach an old dog a new trick. Once you are comfortably integrating technology into your arts teaching, think about how to use tools in new or unexpected ways (much like learning in the arts!). Can you repurpose a tech tool? For example, QR codes are barcodes used for scanning packaging. Visual art teachers are repurposing them for student art exhibitions. Student artwork is hung with a QR code next to it. A visitor scans the artwork’s QR code with her smartphone and pulls up a video of that student explaining his ideas and process. It adds a new dimension to the student’s artist statement.

Putting technology to work in the arts can help unleash student creativity and build new skills. Remember that the arts and technology effectively engage students. They will be eager to use the technology with you. Start simply, experiment and play with technology!

Credits

Writers

Patti Saraniero
Original Writer

Editors & Producers

Lisa Resnick
Content Editor

Kenny Neal
Producer

Sources

Edutopia.org’s Technology Integration blogs
http://www.edutopia.org/blogs/beat/technology-integration

Rock Our World
www.rockourworld.org

The Royal Shakespeare Company
http://www.rsc.org.uk/education/resources/social-historical-context/life-and-times.aspx

Museum of Modern Art
http://www.moma.org/explore/collection/index

An example of digital storytelling can be found at
http://eslschnee.weebly.com/kinder--polar-bear-voicethread.html

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