Thursday, December 12, 2013

Can a whole school code?

We did it!  This week being CSed week, my department chair pushed me to arrange to get everyone coding.  With help from our administration the entire Upper School and Middle School stopped classes and coded for one hour using the Hour of Code 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Engaging students through Photoshop.

In the MOOC, Adobe Training for the Trainer,  week three we are to reflect about "how to encourage educators to engage students through Photoshop.  Many students find Photoshop editing a fun activity and a "neat thing" to learn.  I find that they are always engaged when they are learning.  In fact for World Arts day in the Middle School, I will do a workshop that helps students learn the basics of layers, selecting and simple color matching by placing their faces into famous works of art, this is always a hit.

I think it is a matter of helping teachers design projects or adapt current projects for use in Photoshop. Creating collages and posters, for example, can now become digital.  A former colleague used to do an "About Me" project where students started with a photo of themselves and created a collage to describe how the world sees them, or how they would like to be seen by the world.  I can see that in a Health class or English class as a visual poem.

I have also helped students create their own logos for a social justice project using photoshop (yes illustrator is probably better but they seem to find photoshop less difficult).  Likewise I have helped students build French buildings of their dreams by putting various pictures together.

As I was reading the forums one teacher discussed how they teach students how to create diagrams with overlays on the pictures, arrows, text etc for their reports.  I never even thought of this but I like the idea especially for science and math classes.  They can create many cycles, diagrams from their own pictures to add a bit of creativity.

Civics classes have created election posters through the use of photoshop.  Students can create magazine covers, cover pages, super impose various pictures through out history that are all about the same theme. The possibilities are endless with just basic knowledge, time to explore and some creativity.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Why is Creativity Important?

Today I started a MOOC (Massive open online course) through Adobe, Train the Trainer.  The goal of the course is to help incorporate the Adobe platforms into curriculums and build creativity and digital media and visual story telling into education.  For more information see the overview.  The course asks during the first week to reflect on "Why is creativity in education important?"

I thought this would be a good way to get into blogging again. I fell creativity is important because it fosters risk taking.  When students feel they are being creative they tend to try something new, or stretch themselves to achieve the overall goal that they envision in their minds.  It gives them a chance to relax and learn with out realizing they are learning.  As they take risks to try something new students also build self confidence.  It amazes me when I watch students learn new technology so that they can produce a video, animation, or brochure for a class.  They aim to have it look like they envision regardless of their skill level.  I get to watch many of them try new techniques they never thought they would try.

Creativity also helps them research these techniques and learn to follow directions (at least in the digital world).  My mind comes back to the past PBL where the girls learned how to add close captioning to their you tube video.  They needed to figure out how to do this by researching it, following the directions, and this would not have been done if it wasn't for the creative video that was produce.  Many of them reflected on the skills they learned when they were being creative with the video.  The creativity gives a ownership to the students in their learning.