Please post your thoughts about having a Technology Related Arts (traditionally Music, Art, PE, etc.) class in an Elementary School.

Some argue that having a stand alone Technology class in an elementary school takes away from the general classroom teacher's desire and determination in integrating technology into their classroom. Also, having a stand alone Technology class requires a computer lab to be dedicated to teaching technology, thus less chances for teachers to bring their students to the lab as a group and this also causes havoc during computer based testing windows.

Others argue that having a stand alone Technology class allows students to learn the fundamentals of using a computers and technology (word processing, presentation software, using digital still and video cameras, and video and photo software) without taking away time from the general curriculum, thus when the general classroom teacher wants to do an integrated technology project the students already know how to do the technology side of the project and can focus on the content.

Please discuss.

Tags: Arts, Class, Elementary, Integration, Related, Technology

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Hi Cory

I teach a stand-alone technology lab, though the skills are integrated into the classroom units of inquiry. I have a six-year plan which gets kids through keyboarding, productivity software, problem-solving on the computer. I also teach them programs that are useful on as integration tools (Google Earth, Celestia, wikis, blogs).

I do think that the classroom teachers rely too much on me to bring tech into their classrooms. I struggle with how to empower them to do this by themselves, but so far to no avail. The kids, though, love the class. I'm open at lunch and am always full. The parents feel they learn critical skills for in-general education and the students treat it that way. I find it a motivating experience for everyone I teach, but I truly would like to motivate my colleagues to use the richness of Web 2.0 skills themselves.

Any ideas?
I teach a stand-alone computer lab in public school, grades K-5. I use web-based software (Learning.com) to preface the basics, then teach integrated lessons on the applications with TEKS curriculum in the content areas. I coordinate with the classroom teachers on their units of study for the quarter to provide either enrichment or remediation. I also administer online testing, and yes, it does make for some rescheduling hassles. I would like for the teachers to carry more responsibility for their own tech. integration projects, but I understand how time consuming it is to get all the mandated objectives taught in a 25 student self-contained classroom.

The hour block the teachers have for their ancillary schedule provides them their daily State required planning time. They are welcomed to accompany students in the lab, but most opt to use their time independently. We still collaborate on special projects and areas of need that can be met with repetitive software intervention.

Since computer lab is considered an ancillary course, along with P.E., Library, Art, Music and Dance at my school, I have the flexibility to teach whatever content I want after the mandated core curriculum is met. I am also a music teacher and artist, so I really enjoy using those type of programs to teach music composition and the fundamentals of art. I've had students compose their own music on "Super Dooper Music Looper" and add it to their PowerPoints, which consisted of their own digital photography and Microsoft Paint creations, for example. I've even experimented with students designing floor plans for their dream houses with architectural designware.

The reason I crossed over from music education to technology was just for this very reason. I have all the tools I need to do both jobs - create great sounding music and interesting art, and have a lot of fun with computers at the same time. I would like to add a row of MIDI keyboards and interfaces someday to extend the music software aspects. On the artistic side, students love to create videos and seeing their work online (like Vimeo or Student Tube, for example), is often just the catalyst they need to learn about light, color, symmetry and balance. The shy hamster turns into a ham actor once they see how great they can be. I can't imagine a better suited job for me!

With all the digital technology offered up in our classrooms, what happens to creativity? When everything can be enhanced and adapted, who's to say what is actual talent and creativity? Taking a photo and resizing it is one thing, but to completely transform an original into something other than what it is...is fascinating, but in many ways it takes away from creativity. Any thoughts...pros and cons?

I think having a technology class is very helpful and a place where student learn how to use technology.  Classroom teachers are not going to have the time to teach students how to use word processing tools or powerpoints and its in a technology classroom where those things can be taught and then applied to a regular classroom.  Generally i find a lot of students have a knowledgable background of technology and it just needs to be applied.  My question is how could classroom teachers try to teach more technology in their classrooms if they dont have computers?

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