Archive for May 12, 2011

PLN here we come!

Posted: May 12, 2011 in PLN
Tags: , ,

Well here I am creating another blog. Blogs are like wild flowers I hear, popping up everywhere. A lot of these are made by well intentioned people and within 3 posts, are never used again. Like virtual plastic bottles. 

I am the Curriculum Leader of Visual Arts & Photographic and Digital Media at the Australian International School Singapore. I have really enjoyed my journey to be a regular user of Web tools and community based learning. I first started using them in the mid 90’s when I first started teaching as teaching aids but never really thought I would be at the level of use and familiarity that I am with them today. Having a great resourced school and a community that supports new developments is vital in embracing these tools. Of course a department of staff that is willing to go on these journeys with me is first and utmost the reason I am where I am today. I personally enjoy learning about new sites and ways to utilise old tools that can be found on the net. In our assessment tasks I always try to embed one or two ways for students to work through an assessment task or use a tool for developing ideas, frameworks, or share ideas. As part of our staff development a Intel course is offered by one of the staff at the school and I thought that was great. It was an opportunity to embed those 21 century skills into units of work without looking like a try hard.

At this point in my knowledge of tools, I have come to a comfortable level of use with wiki’s, blog, forums, online presentation tools, text to voice programs, and concept mapping applications. I feel at the moment, I would be quietly content with what I am doing, but have an underlying desire to grow further in a wider field. I am investigating how to use Secondlife in classroom practice. Now I have overcome all the issues with getting it actually running in the school classrooms I am now off looking for locations that would be useful. This would probably be where I would say I am focusing most of my energy.

As to my learning networks, I have a few that I use. DeviantArt, ARARTE (Art teachers in the Asia region), I have a school blog which I post things to for the students, and I have wiki’s that I use with the students to develop broad understands on topics that we are studying. Mostly, I use word of mouth and conferences to develop new skills. I am pretty much at a level with my teaching that I like to read articles to stimulate new directions and I discuss these with the other teachers for discussion of the usefulness of these ideas. I follow a lot of stuff on Twitter and Facebook to see what is happening in the world that we can get to here in Singapore. I use RSS feeds extensively on other blogs that have information that I like about art and photography. One that I particularly like is “Lost at E-Minor” which is a great general, but up to date design and arts website which I receive as emails. One of the big discussion lists that I follow but don’t really contribute to is the Online Curriculum Centre discussion list for the IBO. This is full of very experienced teachers who offer advice and clarification.

I am a regular presenter at the ICT sessions at the school and often present techniques that I am using to other schools when we are having meetings for subject networks, or I allow other schools to come and work shadow me in daily teaching to learn about how I apply what I do to classroom practice. I would like to find someone in my field who is doing  something similar to me so I can exchange techniques, but at this point I haven’t come across someone who is geographically close enough for me to do this.  I think I would really like to develop clearer goals as to what I am trying to do with the teaching and how it can directly influence students higher order thinking to create a much greater strength of concept in their artworks.

I know there is more to write but I might leave it at that for this one.