Saturday, January 8, 2011
Technological dark ages
I'm feeling terribly inadequate. I read all these wonderful blogs, and see so many great ideas. Many of you post about showing videos as part of your lessons, or to introduce a new topic: a video demonstrating how to weave, a video of owls flying toward the camera, a video interview with Laurel Burch, a video about the life of the artist you are studying, little videos as time fillers at the end of class,and so on and so on... Or maybe you are just showing images from the web: images of artwork by a current artist, especially those that are not in your drawer full of art prints and posters,images from museums, motivational images, etc.
So let me say this:
I do NOT have a Smart Board.
I do NOT have an "overhead" projector to project from my computer. (The only overhead projector I have is the old kind, like in the photo above, where you write with wash-off markers on a roll of clear acetate that projects onto a screen. ) When the new high school art teacher said she had asked for an overhead projector, I wondered why she'd want one of them. Of course she meant the kind mounted on the ceiling that projects from the computer. Duh. I'm a dinosaur.
I do NOT have an Elmo, except for a couple in other rooms on my hallway that I can borrow when:
*The music teacher isn't using hers as the sound system in her classroom
*The 4th grade teacher doesn't need hers for a math lesson
*(You get the idea. Elmo doesn't live in my room.)
Don't get me wrong. Both of these women are totally accomodating, and rarely say no when I request to borrow Elmo. But it is not convenient. To use it, I need to have the other teacher take her stuff off of it, roll it into my room, shift my tables to make room for it, log on and say a little prayer that it will recognize me and let me open the websites that I need since I am not the primary user, etc... All in a few minutes time. So I don't do ask for Elmo too often.
Here's what I DO have:
I DO have a good old old-fashioned CHALKBOARD (yup! chalk!) except it is in such an awkward location that I only use it for info such as who's work I am missing. I can't use it for actively teaching.
I DO have a rolling white board, with cork on the flip side. I use it every day. I got it barely a year ago and it has made life much much easier.
I DO now have a scanner. It's brand new, and I'm just figuring it out.
I DO have Photoshop Elements on my school computer, but haven't had the time to adequately play with it yet. It was recently installed, and I don't have it at home, and have a strong desire to use it but have no access to instruction.
Obviously, I DO have a computer and printer, though my printer thinks it is out of paper after every sheet I print, so multipage documents mean I need to stand there and push the amber button after each page pops out. UGH.
I have been teaching for (yikes) 34 years, and got along just fine without all this fancy technology until now. But suddenly I feel like I've been left in the dust. Why should I feel like I need this stuff to do a good job? All my kids really want to do when they walk in the art room is dip their hands into papier-mache goo or paint anyhow. They'd rather be working hands-on during their art time, than watching videos, but I know there are opportunities they miss.
I expect to be retiring in a year and 1/2, so I don't want to and haven't asked for major expenditures for new technology in my classroom. NY state, where I teach, is in tough financial times and I don't want to ask for $$ to be spent on me that is non-essential. Besides, the person who replaces me when I retire might prefer something completely different, and I'd hate to see expensive technology go unused.
I have a beautiful room, lots of good practical storage including a walk-in closet, good working sinks, nice tables, lots of bulletin boards, and a great view out my window. Do I really need this other stuff?
Am I an obsolete dinosaur?