I'm a huge fan of digital 'tools' as I find they tend to be things which make my life easier and as a wonderful addition, make my students learning experience more exciting. Over the next few weeks my posts are all going to be 100% focused on digital, I'm going to discuss the stuff that has revolutionised my (teaching) life to give an insight into what I (and colleagues!) do and how it works and also to show how easily you can start using these things yourself! So to kick start the digital focus I'm going to run through the easy to access stuff that you can whizz over and check out.
Our departments journey into the digital world began with blogging. I turned up eager, excited, new to teaching and a long term blogger and thought hey! let's do this! It was received initially with a kind of hesistance but has thankfully evolved into a key part of our department used by staff and students alike. In a moment which I can only retrospectively describe as sheer craziness I created separate course blogs for each course (we had 6 at one point!) upon realising that was a bit nuts, I merged all 6 into one combined blog: Coulsdon Visual Arts. We use it to post about student work and exhibitions and artists our students may find inspiring - it's essentially a quick and visual way to share resources that allows our students to start becoming more independent with their learning. For example, it's really great being able to direct students to our own archives of artists, textile/fashion designers, graphic designers and photographers to kick start research for new projects. It also allows us to advertise the awesome stuff we've got going on to the world and/or potential new students, in fact I'm sure I could bore you senseless with all the things I think it's great for but those are the big players!
Blogging sort of opens you up to getting involved with all the other social media stuff that's out there. A lot of the stuff we get involved with often happens because one of us is already using it for our own work or because we're pretty geeky when it comes to the net so we've read up on someone else using it and thought it sounded awesome. The other key things we use are flickr, Pinterest and you tube. Each tool plays a different role, Flickr for example we use simply because it allows us to share photos easily! We find it's one of the best ways to share our images with our own students as they can access it both at college and at home. You Tube on the other hand allows us to upload video tutorials - something which I'll post more about over the next few weeks. Finally, Pinterest, I've already posted about pinterest actually, but I cannot stress enough how incredible it's been, you literally would not believe the amount of annotated research work that has come out of some of my AS Graphics students since we introduced it, it's incredible! Also I'm just so much more into visual planning as a starting point, this summer I've started each of my schemes of work for next year with a pinterest board - it's great because I can share it with colleagues and once I start the projects I can direct my students straight to the board so they can get a quick visual overview of the project.
Phew! Well I hope that's given you a bit of an overview and a few things to go and explore. So what else? Well coming up over the next few weeks I'll be getting into a bit more of the nitty, gritty stuff:
- Blogging: How to create your own, lesson blogs, student blogs and more!
- Video: tutorials, how to's, recorded assessment, etc.
- Gadgets/software aka things that make my teaching life simpler
- Claire ❤