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Vanja Radisic 320141 ICT Reflection I approached this subject from a rather practical perspective – what can I do / learn that is relevant to my students and that I could teach them regardless of the resources available. This attitude comes from my teaching experience this year. I’ve spent both semesters at Victorian secondary government schools and learned many valuable lessons including how to work with minimal access to technology. All the items loaded in my blog are aimed at secondary art students. Although I played with applications such as Excel (that I am familiar with due to my extensive admin experience) and MicroWorlds 1, I found the graphics and content not appealing to the age group / interests of the students I am teaching, so I quickly moved on. I was particularly interested in free and pre-loaded applications such as Kompozer, Microsoft Front Page and Movie Maker as well as the standard applications that most schools would have in the art classroom such as Power Point and Photoshop (tools). It was also a great pleasure to learn other applications from my fellow teacher candidates such as Adobe Illustrator, and to think about the ways of introducing these to my students. I took what I’ve learned and used it in my teaching, especially with my VCE students. Due to the lack of space and technology available in the art classroom, they usually have all their theory lessons delivered to them verbally. This clearly suits only certain type of learners and provides no learning experience for the others. Since my senior class was only very small (six students in total), I took my laptop in and prepared my classes as Power Point presentations including loads of images and movie clips. They were able to watch, read, listen, ask, answer and discuss artworks and issues that arose from those. Students were much more engaged and they felt that we were exchanging ideas and sharing a learning experience. I found that they were retaining the information much quicker and were able to understand it better, which was obvious in their test results (there was a huge jump in marks). This makes perfect sense in terms of Gardner’s multiple intelligences and various learning styles. It also makes sense in terms of their world and how they have learned to communicate and share the information on the every-day basis. In addition, I could print out the slides and give them the notes without doing extra work, at the same time knowing that they’ve received enough guidance and instructions. The fact that I did this subject on-line was quite useful in my learning process not just in terms of my time / workload management, but also in development of my communication and problem solving skills. On the one hand I was free to access the information and do my work at any time; on the other hand I had to ensure that all the tasks are completed on time and try to resolve any technical issues on my own. Being an independent learner, this learning style suits my personality. I appreciate the fact that I can do the work whenever I like as well as the opportunity to take instructions as little or as far as I see fit. Rather than being of follower of someone else’s learning plan, I was constructing and following my own developmental processes. The ability to put up an item and quickly write down what I was thinking at the time was also quite useful in retrospect. I can see now a variety of concerns that arose as I was going along, some concerned with the practical application of what I was doing, access to programs etc, and others with my own lack of ability / proficiency (Adobe Illustrator) and how to overcome it. This type of learning is aligned with my epistemological and pedagogical believes as well as with my subject area (method). I subscribe to Paulo Freire’s version of social constructivism where education is seen as a way towards the liberation (on both personal and global levels). Art and social constructivism have plenty in common when it comes to the desired outcomes of the learning process. Both promote problem-based learning where the teacher is a facilitator and a guide rather than being the unquestionable authority. The emphasis is on developing knowledge, skills and values that are transferable and relevant to the learner him/herself. ICT is a valuable and somewhat irreplaceable tool in terms of successful curriculum delivery. However, it terms of art and design, it has become more than just a tool – it is a new platform for creation and exchange of ideas. I thought about my online experience and I would like to offer my students the same opportunities in the future (as an addition not a replacement of our face-to-face classes). It was also interesting to work with something like the Edublog and experience possibilities and restrains that come with it. It was great that they have many templates to choose from, however I found it difficult not to be able to customize them and make them look more aesthetically appealing. I’ve spent a lot of time playing with templates, trying to make my blog look like my own, but I am still not too happy with the result. It is interesting that something like the My Space has much more contemporary feel to it than an Edublog, which is probable due to the user demographics. However, if we are to get the students to join our online learning communities, we should probable think about updating the look and feel of the Edublog (and school’s websites that often look dull and hard to navigate despite having only few pages). To conclude, I enjoyed this subject on many levels and found that the online version made perfect sense. It made me more aware as a teacher what problems I may encounter when using ICT and Internet. I would like to create the Podcasts of my theory classes for students who learn better by watching and listening (particularly useful when they miss classes) and make the notes available online. In terms of software and hardware available today, I think ICT provides an opportunity for students to learn industry related (and relevant) skills as well as an opportunity to have some fun and build the learning community. I don’t see blogs and websites replacing my teaching (art is a very tactile thing) rather them being an addition to my classroom.
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