2013-02-06-LeftBrainRightBrain21It’s our turn…..Right brains unite!

I have been patient, I have been waiting, and I have been bored. Passion and creativity are my fuel and stimulus revolving around my world as a visual arts educator. The time has finally come when it’s not about being the smartest (IQ), but rather the time of creativity lifting over the barriers of systems and traditional procedural requirements. After reading the article by Thomas Friedman I started thinking that it is finally my turn in the realm of education to be the leader and not just the art guy. Art classrooms get overlooked and this article makes me believe that it is my kind of programs, projects, and assignments that are going to be more the norm in the very near future.  I believe that is my students and my classrooms that will become the “winners”.

“The winners won’t just be those with more I.Q. It will also be those with more P.Q. (passion quotient) and C.Q. (curiosity quotient) to leverage all the new digital tools to not just find a job, but to invent one or reinvent one, and to not just learn but to relearn for a lifetime. Government can and must help, but the president needs to explain that this won’t just be an era of “Yes WeCan.” It will also be an era of “Yes You Can” and “Yes You Must.”

So with my final assignment in CEP 812 asks me to represent how I bring passion and curiosity to my work. My very first thought was to make another video showing my creativity and passion. But after a little more thought I feel it more appropriate to share some of the work my students and I have created collaboratively. The following links to videos showcase the range of passion, creativity, problem solving, and innovation my programs offer. Technology drives not only our final products in the video production lab but also our presentation in drama as well.  Check out a few and ask yourself, does this demonstrate creativity, passion, and curiosity? Feel free to move around and enjoy…..

1)   Homecoming Court Video # 1

2)   Opening night: IL Drama Presents: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

3)   Opening night: IL Drama Presents: The Murderous Night at the Museum

4)   Picture in Picture Assignment

5)   Ski Club 2011

6)   Chair Surfing

7)   Applesauce

8)   Mr. Brown

9)   Mario

10)  FootSkate

11)  Indiana Jones

12)   Oil Pastels

13)   Green Screen: Music Revisited

14)   Coffee Can Light

15)   Cooking with TPACK

As I tell my students daily, “Everything begins and ends with an idea”. It is our job now as educators to let go of the traditional learning model and let kids take over with their passions. I love teaching….


Right Brain/Left Brain Thinking. (March 2013). Realistic Byran. [Jpeg] Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-m-eger/right-brain-left-brain-thinking_b_2631704.html

 It’s P.Q and C.Q as Much as I.Q.. (January 2013). Thomas L. Friedman. [Article] Retrieved from:


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Ride the Wave: Maker Experiment #3 (Assessment and Evaluation)

Mad scientist! In the past 8 weeks I have undertaken a journey full of the unusual, the innovative, and the interesting. It is through my exchanges with my own PLN (personal learning network) and informal networks that lately I have been called things like “mad scientist”, “tech dude”, and the “missing husband”. The course work has been challenging, thought provoking, and worthwhile. It is truly rewarding when I finish my blog posts and leave Glen’s Starbucks around 2 in the morning. Personally the concept of being back in school as a student after being a hard-core educator for the past decade was a huge learning curve. Combining my absurd schedule with my drive to make things amazing has caused me more anxiety then I have experienced in a long time. But as I have said many times before the journey will continue. Whether the technology/coursework wave is rough or smooth I am always ready for a good ride.

tech wave

So back to being a mad scientist. When I explain to my friends and even fellow colleagues what I am undertaking in my coursework in the MAET program at MSU, they are floored with this maker culture concept and practices. The simplicity of creation and problem solving can go so far in terms of understanding and learning. As an art educator and video productions leader at the school, I am constantly preaching the philosophy of problem solving and critical thinking in order to push beyond barriers and succeed in the creative outlets of life. The maker culture sets the framework for allowing my student and myself to learn through mistakes and create through innovative new technology pathways. If I could only make my sketch up classroom come alive in reality then things would be beyond amazing. But seriously I already have my new administrating principle on board to purchase 10 makey makey’s for use in my art studio and video productions lab. Implementing the maker experiment lesson is not just an idea anymore as I have a purchase order already signed.  All I need now is the kids and tons of jumper cables.

Implementing my maker experiment lesson is already underway. The steps have been taken to receive the necessary hardware to produce the interactive connections pushing art history to new level in my art studio. The real concern I have is what’s next. I have to have more ready to present and explore with the kids. I am almost positive that once they see the makey makey and learn it’s capabilities it will be a chaotic whirlwind of discussions, brainstorming, and “can we, can we, can we”. My answer will always be yes, as my studio is driven by student ideas and creative workflow that they execute with my guidance and support.

Support will always be a constant in my world as an educator. Evaluation on effectiveness is however something that I need to dive deeper into. Practicality is a huge word in my classroom. It might be an abstract word, but practicality is a function that my students struggle with. It is a goal of mine to look at the maker experiments that my students create and look to the practicality it has on the real world. Lots of fun will be had, and the creative outlet will totally drive my students. My assessment will follow my usual rubric system of course but I will have to add in new categories. I keep rubrics around for the purpose of a systematic grading procedure. I do however look at many other factors before the final grade is locked in. In order for my students to be successful I will always consider my evaluation process.  Evaluation then will be a balance of effective follow through and execution of their ideas along with the breadth of fun that is had.

My own growth and work in CEP 811 makes me think of my wife. At the beginning of all my courses to far with the MAET program I start off with a less then attractive grade, whether I agreed or not. A shift happens in my workflow and particularly I get pumped up to do better. My wife likes to remind me when I get frustrated that this is “how you work, Nate.” So from beginning to now the end I feel accomplished and ready to go and utilize my new tech brainpower.  I do however know that one big lesson I learned with this class is collaboration. I have always been a lone soldier and the black sheep of my building. My schedule didn’t allow me to work as collaboratively as I should have. Moving forward I know now how important it is to work tediously with others in the course in order to better my own education, whether I have time for it or not.  I have learned quite a lot from the dialogue between email, twitter, and Skype calls. My challenge now is to make time, really make time and set aside my schedule to work with the network that is in front of me.


Maker Experiment # 1 (Lesson Plan). (July 2013). Nathan Jacques. [Web] Retrieved from: https://njacquesblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/maker-experiment-1-lesson-plan/

Are you riding the technology wave?. (May 2011). Craig Jorgensen. [Jpeg] Retrieved from: http://www.betternetworker.com/blogs/view/bizeeti/are-you-riding-technology-wave




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Adventures in SoTL

So forth we adventure into the world of scholarly research, contextual knowledge, and exploration of our interests. CEP811 this week asks us to take on a new adventure, this time growing our professional contexts from rich researched based resources. Our PLN (personal learning networks) are simply not enough, as we must push onward with the world of SoTL. As educators we cannot and will not settle with our daily routines, management hurdles, or lesson comforts. Rather we are now expected to share more then ever. Improving teaching is just the starting point as the SoTL promotes teaching at a scholarly level.  Our PLN tend to be more informal as the SoTL field gives us a far deeper library of information to consume and then spit out formally.

Beyond the Google world my adventure did take a massive curve, as the MSU library is one big juggernaut of information.  To build and explore off the SoTL world I first needed to contact a librarian to help funnel my search for scholarly resources. The options and the feedback were quick as I simply believe it or not instant messaged my questions.  After a few brief wide open questions about visual arts related to middle school and high school level students, I got some direction and feed back. The conversations and communication ended with some emailing back and forth. The MSU librarians and the process of feedback from the MSU library were straightforward, helpful, and quick. Furthermore Pat was the guy who helped me as he pushed for clarifying questions and narrowed down my search.  He sent me a nice list to start exploring. I was able to look over various databases, indexes, and even image searches.

After all my scanning, reading, and scrolling I admit that the library outlet was surprisingly useful. Too often my students, peers, and even myself depend on the broad Internet to find our information. After working in a school for almost a decade now and working outside of the on campus network, utilizing a librarian let alone a library seemed abstract. A new goal as emerged from this week’s assignment for me as I plan to share similar resources with my students. My students understanding and track record with working in the library and utilizing a librarian is very minuet. I hope to share with them how a librarian and library’s resources can be more effective then their devices they carry around all day.

I prefer the visual world and need creative outlets daily. So I tried to find resources that relate directly to my teaching practice and interests. Below you will find 5 sources and an annotation for each:

1) MOO: Using a computer gaming environment to teach about community arts

2) 3D Virtual Worlds as Art Media and Exhibition Arenas: Students’ Responses and Challenges in Contemporary Art Education

3) Digital Technology in the Visual Arts Classroom: An [un]Easy Partnership.

4) Sharing, hacking, helping: Towards an understanding of digital aesthetics through a survey of digital art practices in Ireland

5) Assessing Aesthetic Appreciation of Visual Artworks—The Construction of the Art Reception Survey (ARS)

MOO: Using a computer gaming environment to teach about community arts

Garber, Elizabeth. (Jul2004). MOO: Using a computer gaming environment to teach about community arts. Art Education,57(4), 40-47.

Garber advises pre-service teachers how using an interactive computer technology can be beneficial to art classrooms. By using “MOO” (Multi-user domain, Object-Oriented), Garber is able to present a virtual space that works in many of the same ways that a traditional classroom works. MOO is a text-based environment wherein interactivity is centered on text exchanges made between users based on problems or other materials created by teachers. As kids are consistently texting and exchanging information with each other outside of the classroom via technology this paper helps with the concept of interactive networked learning.

Interactivity and collaboration are key factors in the framework of how the MOO functions. Garber is able to use the MOO technology to design presentations along with video lectures. Live discussions are promoted that stimulate the concept behind community and public art. Local and public art then looked over with the MOO technology. Meaning and relationships are formed from the interactive discussion on the community artwork through the MOO application. The layout of Garber’s MOO class is as follows:









3D Virtual Worlds as Art Media and Exhibition Arenas: Students’ Responses and Challenges in Contemporary Art Education

Lu, Lilly. (2013). 3D Virtual Worlds as Art Media and Exhibition Arenas: Students’ Responses and Challenges in Contemporary Art Education. Studies in Art Education, 54(3), 232-245.

Lilly Lu showcases the need for new avenues of art exploration and media creation in her study of 3D virtual worlds in terms of art education. Her study helps us understand how student’s responses and challenges to new media can be challenging in the visual arts education field. Her study was done in the hopes to find that students will enjoy and thrive off the challenges of creating and exhibiting artworks within a 3D world. Lu is able to show data linked to success when teachers utilize educating contemporary art in a digital world.

The study shows a difficult learning curve by students when utilizing 3D environments for viewing and critiquing artwork. Lu was also able to express the varying comfort levels when presenting new artwork through 3D virtual environments. Ultimately the study shows how early the model of learning, displaying, and critiquing artwork through a 3D digital environment is. The study explores students’ response to the newly digital format for showcasing, and critiquing artwork. The layout of Lu’s article is as follows:

1)   3D VW Literature in K-12 and Higher Education

2)   3D VWs and Art Education

3)   Research Design

4)   Course Descriptions

5)   Participants and Procedure

6)   Research Methods and Data Analysis

7)   Findings and Discussions

8)   As an Art Medium

9)   As a Creation and Exhibit Arena

10)  Educational Application

11)  Conclusion and Recommendations


Digital Technology in the Visual Arts Classroom: An [un]Easy Partnership.

Wilks, J., Cutcher, A., & Wilks, S. Digital Technology in the Visual Arts Classroom: An [un]Easy Partnership. (2012). Studies in Art Education. 54(1) 54-65.

This is an article that takes a look at the balance and mix of digital technology and the visual art education system. The implementation of digital technologies is the problem and focus of this article. As art education is consumed by technology, schools offer plenty of opportunities, software’s and programs but lack the educational applications and know how to make them applicable and relevant. Art and technology are examined in this article where the authors express their indifference in how the follow through of art production is lacking.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and other techniques are difficult to translate into effective and meaningful projects and assignments. Basically technology has become so readably accessibly that art education is becoming more and more lacking in terms of relevance, proper execution, and true connected learning. The main points that I found very interesting reads are relevance and benefits, time and the “Crowded Curriculum”, inadequate resources, professional, and technical support, and lastly access and restrictions. The layout of the article is as follows:

1) Context

2) Issues of Practice and Pedagogy

3) Engaging in ICT in Art Education: Easy Partnerships

4) Challenges and Issues: Uneasy Partnerships

5) Challenge One: Relevance and Benefits

6) Challenge Two: Time and the “Crowded Curriculum”

7) Challenge Three: Inadequate Resources, Professional, and Technical Support

8) Challenge Four: Access and Restrictions

9) Successful Illustrations of ICT in the Visual Arts

10) Future Directions


Sharing, hacking, helping: Towards an understanding of digital aesthetics through a survey of digital art practices in Ireland.

Morgan, Trish. Sharing, hacking, helping: Towards an understanding of digital aesthetics through a survey of digital art practices in Ireland. (2013). Journal of Media Practice. 14(2), 147-160.

A very interesting read that studies the digital aesthetics and practices of digital art in Ireland. After reviewing this article it is clear that there is a direct impact of cultural crisis on technology and art.  New media avenues are explored in context with how artistic production is considered worthwhile.  Case studies are connected with this idea of digital influence on culture.  Conor McGarrigle’s NAMALand is one that involves a smartphone application that pokes fun and location references to “toxic” properties in Ireland. Another case study explored in this article is Cliona Harmey’s Hawaii 5010. Hawaii 5010 again touches on the digital art practice of a culture by combing sculptures with interactive communication devices. The Hawaii 5010 basically is an interactive sculpture that connects the audience with live feedback, data, and visuals of the waves in the ocean. Another case studies included in this article on digital aesthetics and digital practices is on by Benjamin Gaulon called Hard Drivin’ and Corrupt. Hard Drivin’ and Corrupt is actually to projects. Hard Drivin’ is an interactive Twitter controlled remote controlled car. While Corrupt is an interesting take on image searches that manipulates the results corrupting the viewers experience. Other sections of the article include:

1)   Case Study: NAMALand

2)   Hawaii 5010

3)   Hard Drivin’ and Corrupt

4)   Collaboration

5)   Knowledge sharing and open source

6)   Repurposing

7)   Contextualizing the aesthetic specificities-New media theories of art

8)   Object characteristics

9)   Where the artwork resides

10) Technical complexity


Assessing Aesthetic Appreciation of Visual Artworks—The Construction of the Art Reception Survey (ARS)

Hager, M., Hagemann, D., Danner, D., Schankin, A. Assessing Aesthetic Appreciation of Visual Artworks—The Construction of the Art Reception Survey (ARS). (Nov2012). Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity & the Arts. 6(4), 320-333.

The appreciation involved that goes into a set of artwork is an ongoing struggle to understand. Responding to art is a struggle for so many and furthermore how we relate our personal preferences to projects can also be equally difficult to communicate. This article shows what specific brain structures that are involved in the appreciation of artwork. Using a multidimensional approach this study gives us an idea of what an aesthetic experience looks like. The article constructs an ARS, which is the Art Reception Survey. The ARS looked at the results of 193 people in two studies. The survey helps us understand a viewer’s cognitive involvement when viewing artwork.  Other results steamed from categories like judgments made from the artistic quality and creativity, and information about the knowledge and comprehension the recipient already had about the given artwork.

The article lays out a nice formula for art educators to potentially try in their own classrooms on a given artwork. Aesthetic preference and appreciation vary from kid to kid and this is one tool that might be helpful for guided understanding of artistic appreciation results.


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. (n.d.). Office of Faculty & Organizational Development. [Web] Retrieved from: http://fod.msu.edu/oir/scholarship-teaching-and-learning-sotl

Video Title: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning vs. Scholoarly Teaching. (n.d.). Elon TLT. [Video] Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tOnpOCB974

MSU Library. (n.d.). MSU. [Web] Retrieved from: http://www.lib.msu.edu/

Ask a Librarian. (n.d.) MSU Libraries. [Web] Retrieved from: http://www.lib.msu.edu/contact/askalib

Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson). (n.d.). EBSCO Host. Retrieved from: http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/ehost/search/advanced?sid=ead1b1c9-cab0-4711-9598-98bb8d1999bd%40sessionmgr198&vid=1&hid=126

MOO: Using a computer gaming environment to teach about community arts. (2013). MSU Libraries. [Web] Retrieved from:


3D Virtual Worlds as Art Media and Exhibition Arenas: Students’ Responses and Challenges in Contemporary Art Education. (2013). MSU Libraries. [Web] Retrieved from: http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/ehost/detail?vid=3&sid=364b53f7-5d94-44d9-92d8-ae42be64ccde%40sessionmgr110&hid=128&bdata=JnNjb3BlPXNpdGU%3d#db=aft&AN=87493418

Digital Technology in the Visual Arts Classroom: An [un]Easy Partnership. (2012). MSU Libraries. [Web] Retrieved from:


Sharing, hacking, helping: Towards an understanding of digital aesthetics through a survey of digital art practices in Ireland. (2013). MSU Libraries. [Web] Retrieved from: http://web.ebscohost.com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/ehost/detail?vid=12&sid=364b53f7-5d94-44d9-92d8-ae42be64ccde%40sessionmgr110&hid=128&bdata=JnNjb3BlPXNpdGU%3d#db=aft&AN=87338217

Assessing Aesthetic Appreciation of Visual Artworks—The Construction of the Art Reception Survey (ARS). (2012). MSU Libraries. [Web] Retrieved from:





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Community of Practice

Look around you……that’s right, look around right now! Take just a second to explore your surrounding and where you are right this second. Does anyone have a phone out? Is there someone near by that is on a laptop? What about a television or other media device? Is there someone in your family or network maybe close by that is completely absorbed and locked into a device of some kind? How about a controller of some kind or tablet that has completely brain locked an individual? Our world is plugged into a network of technology integration. It doesn’t matter if it is at home, work, walking through the store, while waiting for food at a restaurant, pumping gas, standing in line, it does not matter. Our world is so plugged into and absorbed by technology that it is hard to find a clear vision of our future without some kind of technology integration.  So did you see anyone plugged in when you looked around?

This week for CEP 812 we explored our communities of practice. When you adventure into how our networks both at work and at home function and flow it can be quite interesting in terms of technology connections. Most often these connections these days are not mellow or light bonds but rather hard-core additive trends of dependency.  So as an educator where does my colleagues rank and flow with the wave of technology available, needed, or wanted in today’s digital world?

I created a Google form that included 21 questions. These questions can be reviewed here. The survey was then sent to everyone who would fall under the wide range of staff at the school where I teach. Well I was let done to say the least as I only got 12 responses in a matter of 5 days. Either way the results were very interesting but not all that surprising. To provide an accurate summary of the findings is difficult as I think I asked too many questions. The trends are consistent with one very important factor however, technology is important and it is being used in some kind of capacity whether it is a big or small portion. The following are some of key results:



Whether we want to or not, it is agreed that technology will become a part of all our curriculums and content areas. This is a very simple concept but it is overlooked. I like to think of myself as a tech savvy teacher, but there is a huge learning curve for most teachers who have been in the profession for years. If you look around your building I am sure that you will see some old school mindsets and teaching models that would rather keep technology or opportunities for technology outside of their classrooms. Sometimes it is just easier to do what has always been done, problem is that no matter how comfortable one may be, online learning is forcing even the elders in the building to become compatible with the tech wave.


 The online learning movement is rolling out heavy all over the country. I particularly have found even a big push on television lately around my area. Recently I have seen at least 4 different commercials that have advertised online learning option for parents to explore for their children. My data shows opinions that online learning will not phase out traditional school systems. I believe that public education systems are in for a rude awakening to how fast the online learning option for families is growing.  The real concern is how to best fit a balance of classroom learning models with technology integration. Personally I am beyond excited for the challenge and shift to keep up with what is offered.  Whether it is practical or not, all teachers need to adjust to online learning formats to better market themselves. The MAET program at MSU is a perfect avenue for growth and marketability in todays shift with online education.


 Technology integration is happening in my building but honestly it is a sad picture of the range and depth of applications. Technology at its core is based in the exploration of research and my data from the survey shows this point. Word processing is another big facet of technology integration but it is so basic that no one is really pushing options of communication with projects.  Other the other hand smart phones are being implemented into the classroom. Almost every kid has a phone that is capable of networking with others in the room. It is crucial to implement the smart phone devices into assignments, projects, and daily procedures.


Professional development should be an exciting part of a teacher’s routine through the year. I have found from this survey and from past experience that excitement is short lived and reality kicks in leaving teachers feeling bored, confused, frustrated, or usually inapplicable.  My findings on PD in the survey fall under what has already been asked of teachers to try to use. Meaning that teachers need more training on what programs the district or administration would like us to use in our classrooms. Programs are thrown around and teachers have to learn them quick and then find ways to make them practical to their classes. Professional development in this case again leads us to more training.

After reading and reviewing the results from the survey I believe that my community of practice is behind the technology curve. As expected most are excited to have technology and want the toys and programs in their classrooms. However the problem falls under lack of proper training combined with the time needed to implement new technology options. As I have said before either we ride the technology wave or we will all get crashed.


Community of practice. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_practice

Technology Integration Survey Questions. (n.d.). Nathan Jacques. Retrieved from: http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cIjlcLVgco

Technology Integration Survey Results. (n.d.). Nathan Jacques. Retrieved from: http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cIjlVYVgcU

Cooltoolsforschools. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://cooltoolsforschools.wikispaces.com/

SmartphoneApps. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://smartphoneapps.com/iphone-education/








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UDL – Maker Experiment # 2 Universal Design

ataglance udl classroom kids

This week a shift has happened from designing the perfect classroom using the creative construction program called SketchUp to rethinking the structure, process, and implementation of lesson planning using the UDL framework. The assignment has asked us to examine the UDL (Universal Design for Learning) constructed by CAST in order to better fit the range of learning styles and construct a learning structure that is more successful. CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology) is an educational research & development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning. A cool glogster by abroberts08 really gives a thorough layout of UDL, which is worth a look. UDL basically works within three networks of learning. The first is the recognition network that is associated with the “what” of learning. Second is the strategic network that explores the “how” of learning and lastly is the affective network that goes on to the “why” of learning.

UDL Brains

UDL lessons and projects should provide multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement. The following diagram gives us a clear map of everything that is included:


So the adventure of UDL continues by going through each of the guidelines answering and commenting on how each applies to my “Reproduction Conduction” project for my art class. What I learned as I went through each guideline was that I already was using much of what the UDL framework is asking of us. Please check out my answers and comments to each guideline here. In this Google doc I have really gone through and explored how to rethink the maker experiment project with a new perspective on UDL concepts of learning. I kept thinking of how if I could combine my perfect classroom with this UDL framework to all my projects and lessons that my class overall would seem almost flawless. UDL for me personally seems like the perfect lesson that fits for everyone and at all times. As educators we are always asked to grow and advance our own education. This UDL framework reminds us to continue to make accommodations and all kinds of modifications to better our students success one lesson at a time.

The UDL tool kit is awesome as it gives tons and tons of resources on how to better your classroom for a wide range of students and varying learning styles and needs. I found myself bookmarking all kinds of webpages, emailing other colleagues in my building, and rethinking my projects all over again. Technology and the range of resources on the Internet never cease to amaze me.

Reshaping my reproduction conduction project to fit the UDL framework came down to following the guidelines and then making adjustments. Again please check out the complete list on my Google doc because it gives all kinds of answers to this directive.  The following are 11 new features and adjustments that will reshape my project:

1) 1.2 Offering alternatives for auditory information:

The lesson itself  is built round a key theme of learning through listening. However there could be a device or application applied to the audio triggers as they are played out loud. A speech-to-text option would make the experience of the project more complete for those students who are better adjusted for learning through reading.

2) 2.1 Clarify vocabulary and symbols:

Part of the project involves a proper critique of each other’s work. The process is taught on how to do a proper critique however vocabulary used during the critique could be addressed in a more official way. During the analysis part of the critique students could be taught what element and principles of design/art should be applied.  There is a wide range of words that fall under both the elements and principles of design. Teaching what these words mean and how they fit would make this portion of the project more accurate. Implementing the *Shahi website into the lesson could be perfect.

3) 2.2 Clarify syntax and structure:

Possible visual structures could be used to address the vocabulary used in the critique and how elements differ from principles. A common mistake with kids is this difference and using the  text2mindmap  program the project could showcase the structure, differences, and comparisons  in a visual form.

4) 2.3 Support decoding of text, mathematical notation, and symbols:

The entire lesson would be posted on online. Utilizing any text-to-voice web tool the students and parents could hear the projects process, goals, and overview out loud.

5) 3.1 Activate or supply background knowledge:

Students are allowed to choose almost anything for their reproduction. They get to choose their artwork to reproduce. Activating background knowledge or some type of connection to a previous concepts or personal emotion could be better structured. A new layout could be presented to what the students can pick from depending on a short list of options. For instance they could pick to reproduce:

1-something that they have seen themselves in a museum or gallery somewhere

2-something that has a personal connection to student(possibly even a album cover to their favorite cd)

3-something that has strong family connections (a crest or logo even that is associated with the family)

4- even something that is a strong associated with feelings of disgust, anger, or disappointment, etc.

Either way prior knowledge and a students past experiences could be tapped based on what the students decided to pick for their reproduction.

6) 4.2 Optimize access to tools and assistive technologies:

Optimus Popularis and other similar type of keyboards in conjunction with a mouse that is used as a drawing tool could be implemented for the production side of this project. This is still a learning curve for me as I am researching assistive technologies for students who could not use the different media materials needed to accomplish this project. Physical limitations  are still a hurdle for me to figure out.

7) 5.1 Use multiple media for communication:

This project uses all kinds of media options. However lets get even more involved here. Students are asked to post their process pictures on to animoto for a video sharing option. Their final reproductions should have a digital post and copy to a class  specific Facebook page for this project. Other  social networking sites could work as well like Pinterest possibly. From there student could comment on each other’s work. A simple question could also be presented to the students to answer like “who has the best art reproduction?” This question could be posted on a cool site like *Tricider where then each kid would be asked to vote. Results would be shown and pooled together and also there is an option for offering arguments of why you vote one way or another. Tricider will definitely be used.

8) 5.3 Build fluencies with graduated levels of support for practice and performance:

Providing differentiated feedback could be further addressed through Twitter. Coming up with a hash tag for kids to tweet to would be cool. Offering suggestions comments and praise would be help here as well. Students might then search for the hash tag and review the feed of the project. Tricider is again what might work best.

9) 6.2 Support planning and strategy development:

This gets me thinking about warm up activities that I call “whammys” in my art classroom. We typically do a brief sketch and document some cool grow and explore activities from various art websites that I present to. Either way a daily whammy could be the goal-setting tweet. Not only online but on the students work station. This could be a piece of paper taped down daily to write on or even a small slip of dry erase material that could be tweeted on communicating the personal goal for the day on the project.

10) 6.4 Enhance capacity for monitoring progress:

The animoto video is the accumulation of this concept at the end of the project. I do think a big long line could be drawn on a dry erase board next to the classroom door. Each student is given or makes a symbol that is connected to them. The far left side of the line is the starting point of the project and the far right would be the completion of the project. As students leave the studio each day they can be asked to move their symbol on the line accordingly showing where they are in the process of completing the assignment. Students could  also then be compared with their peers and also compared to a possible teacher mark indicating where the teacher would like all the students to be at.

11) 7.2 Optimize relevance, value, and authenticity:

After reading 7.2 I thought that the project could be redone in way where kids are asked to reproduce something of value in todays news, popular culture, or simply a buzz hot topic of their generation.

The process of imposing the UDL framework to my maker experiment project was refreshing at it honestly made me feel like I am already doing a lot of things right. The range of media applications and process steps included in this project allows for my students to fit in so many ways. Sharing the UDL guidelines with other peers is a now part of my responsibility as a educator. In order to reach all of our students we must look at each of our lessons, assignments, and projects and cross-examine them with UDL. If we can better fit these guidelines to our practice as teachers we might have better success in our classrooms. The mindset and concept of settling with only connecting with one student is not enough. UDL empowers us with the tools to connect with a wide range of students and their varying needs.


UDL kids. (n.d.). UDL center. Retrieved from: http://www.udlcenter.org/sites/udlcenter.org/files/ataglance.jpg

SketchUp. (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://www.sketchup.com/

UDL at a Glance. (January 6, 2010). UDLCast. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDvKnY0g6e4

CAST. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.cast.org/

Glog-Universal Design for Learning. (n.d.). abroberts08. Retrieved from: http://abroberts08.edu.glogster.com/glog-universal-design-for-learning/

UDL Brains. (n.d.). abroberts08. Retrieved from: http://einstructionaldesign.wikispaces.com/UDL+–+Equitable+Use

UDL Guidelines. (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://evo-training.pbworks.com/f/UDL%20Guidelines.jpg

Reproduction Conduction. (July 22, 2013). Nathan Jacques. Retrieved from: https://njacquesblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/maker-experiment-1-lesson-plan/

JacquesN UDL Guidelines. (August 7, 2013). Nathan Jacques. Retrieved from: https://docs.google.com/a/inlandlakes.org/document/d/1_r2RoBb5HQkJhPnXfaS1NRB-VIqERhRzGeXK8cCu94I/edit

Jacques Art room: (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://njacquesblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/21st-century-classroom-final-side-2.jpg

Design Experiment # 1. (August 5, 2013). Nathan Jacques. Retrieved from: https://njacquesblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/design-experiment-1-all-sketchedup/

Free Technology Tool Kit for UDL in All Classrooms. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://udltechtoolkit.wikispaces.com/

Shahi. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://blachan.com/shahi/

Text2mindmap. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.text2mindmap.com/

Free text-to-speech. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://udltechtoolkit.wikispaces.com/Free+text+to+speech

Tricider. (n.d.) Retrived from: https://tricider.com/en/t/?wicket:pageMapName=wicket-0













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InfoDiet…..POP your bubble!

This week in CEP812 we took a look at our InfoDiet. InfoDiet…..weird right? At first before I even got into the reading and the videos, I did a quick Google search of the phrase “InfoDiet”. I also looked at the image results for the search and found some interesting visual and links to websites. The following are what I found to be the most interesting visuals that relate to this “InfoDiet” concept:

head galaxy

This visual gives a great example to how Nicolas Carrs concept behind how Americans are consumed by the Internet and crave immediate technology. This immediate technology craving ultimately consumes our world through tedious applications and uses of devices and software programs. I agree that I myself find the Internet and the applications it presents distracting. Carr’s concept of the Internet is that we all tend to look like Internet zombies, obsessed with anything and everything.

twitter headI think that almost everyone that has a smart phone tends to have Twitter and Facebook, but are they using these applications for better use and higher learning? I think not. The concept of Dumbledore’s army that is explained in Henry Jenkins video, is the proper way that the youth need to come together for effective change that utilizes technology.


So this week I asked myself, what is my infodiet, and where and why do I use this information? Personally I am a mix of both mindsets and concepts that Carr and Jenkins address. Visuals are how I live my life, so this picture explains my process and philosophy of Internet and technology use:

Information overload, conceptual imageIt’s simple really, I like many ride the technology and Internet wave. Whether my experience with 21st century technology, feeds, posts, and uses are ruff or smooth, I always ride the wave. Sometimes the Internet is full of useful and effective information that is reliable and consistent, but at other times like Carr addressed it can be full of useless mind absorbing tidbits that we should move away from.

Also this week I learned about the “filter bubble” explained by Eli Pariser. After watching this video most people will be freaked out by what Eli Pariser goes on to explain about algorithmic editing of the web. Basically the Internet has figured us out and uses what we have done in the past to shape what results we get when on the net. So between Carr and even Gee from previous weeks at times I do feel like we are all set up in a system to yes, make us look and seem stupid.

Expanding my infodiet through my RSS feed and Twitter feed was fun. I was asked this week to expand on my network outside of comfort zone and look elsewhere for information. My professional outlook needed to be challenged and this assignment gave me a chance to look for new avenues to shape up my infodiet. To expand on my art education background in a more formal way I began the exploration of MOMA. The MOMA feed and endless information their site gave me was more structured and accurate as it gave a view of art of our time. I tend to follow sites that are more thrown together. MOMA is more official in its educational use of conversation between the past and the present, and the established and the experimental art of our time.

The next site that has reshaped my zombie like attitude to the net proves to be far more scholarly and official. I have been a member of the NAEA for years but never really utilize their network and resources. The NAEA feeds have allowed me to see a new perspective to art education in a more standard based faction. The NAEA posts, articles, and reviews tend to showcase and link to the national standards of art education that are so prevalent to lesson planning and curriculum structures.

Last but surely not least to my new adventure in surfing the net is a site called thisiscolossal. The results are staggering and linked to so many other fascinating avenues of what art is in today culture. Although this site does fall closest to what I tend to use in the past it does challenge what information I would like to use in my classroom versus what I am able to get away with. The range of content explored and posted from thisiscolossal is refreshing but grounded in good connections with the real world.

So after all this collection of information I have only this to conclude with:

Pop your bubble! I need to get off my phone, off my computer, and hang out with my 2-year-old son more. The Internet has offered me a vast collection of awesome content and I believe I have rode the wave just right in order to stay a float. This assignment challenged my perspectives of how and why the Internet functions the way it does. It reminded me to review the content that is presented to me and thus then how I present my content to my students. We should all be zombies at times connected to our devices but still be enlisted in Dumbledore’s army.


 Fabiusmaximus. (n.d.). WordPress Blog. Retrieved from http://fabiusmaximus.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/20121229-head-galaxy.jpeg

Nicolas Carr. (n.d). Retreived from http://www.theshallowsbook.com/nicholascarr/Nicholas_Carrs_The_Shallows.html

Media Scholar Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture and Civic Engagement. (August 4, 2011).  DMLResearchHub. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgZ4ph3dSmY

Bodyblueprint. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.bodyblueprint.co.nz/images/ARTICLES/low%20info%20diet.jpg

Beware online “filter bubbles” –Eli Pariser. (n.d.). TEDEducation. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w48Ip-KPRs

Eli Pariser (n.d.) Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli_Pariser

Amazon.(n.d.) The Anti-Education Era. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/The-Anti-Education-Era-Creating-Students/dp/0230342094

MOMA. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.moma.org/feeds

NAEA. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.arteducators.org/research/art-education

Thisiscolossal. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thisiscolossal.com/













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Design Experiment #1……All SKETCHedUP!

Holy SketchUp! This week in CEP 811 we have been asked to reimagine our classrooms and design our new perfect worlds. My world during the majority of the year is my classroom, which I call the studio. I instruct and push my students to think of my classroom as an art studio as almost all of what we do in the classroom is imagine, implement and then create artwork. In fact when class time shifts from my lectures and class discussions that I call “grow and explore activities” to the art production section I actually call out loud the words “OPEN STUDIO”. This is a cue to all my students that this is their time to start creating cool art projects and work on implementing their ideas to paper.  This week’s assignment challenged me but also was very intriguing as it allowed me to create the perfect world for my art students that best utilized what is needed with out the restraints of reality.

It was a this straightforward video that helped me understand in a nice visual way what it means to understand “experience design”.  Tedde van Gelderen pushes us to think about how we as users work within our space  and how that space is structured to best fit the expectations of our goals. My art studio in which my students interact learn and innovate from is a stimulating place full of all kinds of visual inputs. When you walk into my art studio you are saturated and covered with art from floor to ceiling.  The experience I believe is one that is a huge motivator when engaging in everything from the creation of art projects to the dialogue that arises from interests and even dislikes of what is seen.

So is this art studio that I have created over the years stimulating and fun? Yes. However I always have wanted to purge and start fresh. Tare everything down and star over. The SketchUp software is a perfect application that allows for the creation of new environments and thus a new experience. One of my goals is to push for new technology and interactive functions for my students. Using interactive whiteboards is one way to make this a reality. When looking for other good ideas  for great learning environments, I found that thethirdteacherplus was full of simple directions and insight into where my classroom should be heading. Powered by cannon design, thethirdteacherplus allows educators to look at 75 useful tips and suggestions on how you should move forward with our learning environments. Most educators think about the “what” when considering teaching and also the “how” when thinking about lessons. Experience design strategies and mindsets pushes educators to shift and start with the “where” when rethinking successful education by reimagining learning environments.

I found the quote “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you anywhere”,  by Albert Einstein in another article filled with useful statistics on learning success linked with creative work environments. Education systems forget about the environment of learning and tend to focus so much on content that our students become zoned out to learning. As an artist and a teacher who thrives of the imagination and creativity involved in the learning process, I found the statistic that 86% of voters believe that encouraging children to be creative and develop their imagination is necessary to maintain our competitive edge and ensure that we do not fall behind other countries , very motivating and worthwhile. When art programs are on the cutting block and school fine art programs are being slowly pushed out we need to remember that “by 2014, according to our estimates, the U.S. will add another 10 million creative sector jobs to the nation’s economy. The same pattern holds for virtually all of the advanced nations, where the creative class makes up 35% to 45% of the workforce, depending on the country.” Art must survive.

Using the program SketchUp I found myself unleashed on possibilities of a truly effective but creative workplace for imaginative minds. Problem is that I found the program tedious and it presented me with a huge learning curve for my current abilities. I could physically draw a new reimagined room way faster and much more efficiently. But the challenge was accepted and this is what I accomplished:

21st century classroom Final Aerial 21st century classroom Final Side  # 2 21st century classroom Final Side # 1 21st century classroom Final Side # 6 21st century classroom Final Side # 5 21st century classroom Final Side # 4 21st century classroom Final Side # 3 21st century classroom Final Side # 10 21st century classroom Final Side # 9 21st century classroom Final Side # 8 21st century classroom Final Side # 7


Using 10 different tips from thethirdteacherplus literature, I was able to create a fairly strong visual example of  my dream art classroom.

# 9 Let the Sunshine In:

And the gray skies too: Increasing daylight in classrooms has been shown to cut down on absenteeism and improve test scores.

I always have wanted more windows and natural light to enhance my student’s perspective to the outside world. Large windows provide an art room a great chance to learn from observation and also realistic light shifts. Having windows are a huge asset to an art room, but not very practical as knocking down walls to put in windows is a huge financial hurdle. Allowing students to look out into the outside world and not confining them behind the trapped closed walls of most classrooms would be most beneficial.

# 11 Make it New:

Look at your learning space with 21st-century eyes: Does it work for what we know about learning today, or just for what we knew about learning in the past?

This means making a new specific place within a classroom that allows for exploration of new connections between devices and the art world. This would be a place where devices like personal laptops, tablets, and phones, etc. could be connected with the maker culture. A collection of innovative technologies like the makeymakey, the squishy circuits, raspberry pi, littlebits, and many other problem solving and critical thinking tools could be administered in ways that offer fresh new interactive toys and projects for kids to explore. I would push for this to be a new zone in the art studio where my sculpture projects and themes could be reimagined with a variety of objects and random materials. The prices of these devices range anywhere from $25 to about $45 dollars.

#15 Display Learning:

Posting student work, both current and past, up on the walls tracks progress in a visible way.  &

# 60 Open The Doors:

Give students places to exhibit their work as if it were in a public gallery, then invite the public to come and have a look.

Posting projects is part of all art educators job. My vision with this concept of posting students projects would incorporate the old with the new. A mix of posting the hard copy projects that can be seen and touched in a tactile way in conjunction with a digital slideshow or online option would be a hit with kids. Creating a wall that has monitors randomly or preciously displaying artwork from a particular class during a particular class hour would be incredible. Even a slideshow of large popplets , or mindmeister showcasing a students progress with in a project or collection of work in one big map could be a huge shift in how students share their work and progress with teachers and their peers. The basic idea here again would be a digital wall of art that keeps the artwork fresh and new for all audiences.

The actual cost to make this idea a reality depends on what kind of monitor you purchase and the way the monitors would be attached or presented on the wall. I have turned old televisions that sit in all of our classrooms in the building that I teach out of into PowerPoint slideshows rotating through slides that display jpegs and also information that is important to the days or weeks assignments. In this case old desktop computers that would otherwise be disposed off and trashed are turned into visual slideshows. I would rather build a wall that has tons of monitors and lots to look at that shifts constantly.

#22 Swivel To Attention:

Give students furniture that lets them twist and lean safely. The movement will increase their ability to concentrate.

Concentration is one thing, but available space is another important factor. My current classroom is very limited in space as I always continue to lecture about traffic flow. Traffic flow and the movements of students in an art room constantly have to be managed. By placing stools that can rotate 360 degree student would not have to pull big clunky chairs around. Also it is more often that students when they are working tend to stand leaving their chairs pulled out causing traffic problems and safety issues. Swivel rotating stools are the way to go in an art room. The cost is fairly reasonable on this one.

#40 Build A Nest

Children need comfort just as much at school as they do at home. Give them a soft, quiet, and cozy area to play in either by themselves or with friends.

One thing that most schools and classroom lack is a cool place for kids to unwind, recollect thoughts, recharge, study, brainstorm, and focus. I teach drama at my school which means outside of the art room I also have my drama room where we store our couches along with other props and junk. The room however is almost all couches and tends to be the number one place that not only students but all teachers and others staff tend to relocate and recharge, etc.

I believe that all classroom should implement a recharge zone to collect thoughts and allow for our brains to grow from a place of true comfort. Placing a couch area in my art room would be a perfect contrast to the high energy, messy, and wild art production that happens across the room. This would serve as a cool down area and most likely a place for students to do research on projects, artists, and brainstorm their sketches in a more Zen like atmosphere. Here is a collection of some of my weird ideas: Lego Chill Zone, Four Square Zone, and Noodle Zone, Etc. Cost would not be cheap and I’m sure administration would not agree.

The following are other great tips that I feel have connected with the SketchUp classroom design that I have created:

#54 Think Hands On:

Children of all ages need places where they can learn by touching, manipulating, and making things with their hands.

# 62 Put The Fun In Fundamentals:

Injecting a learning space with playfulness and humor creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

# 76 Unleash Learning

Electronic learning aids aren’t fancy windows dressing: They offer teachers and students new and diverse ways to engage with subjects and ideas.

#77 Bridge The Digital Divide:

One tested way to get all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background up to speed technologically is to give them laptops and place to be unplugged yet connected

In conclusion I would like to say that SketchUp is AWESOME! I spend hours and hours playing around with it and would love to continue to share this program with others.  I do plan on implementing it into my curriculum as a project for my art class, creating some type of structure or environment. The experience of being in school can be a drag and educators must create environments for kids when they walk in their classroom that engage them right away. I believe that with the right amount of money, somewhere around 20 to 30 thousand dollars this room I have created could become a reality. The room could be utilized for a huge target audience as all age levels could interact with this environment. As this is a dream of an art room, I believe that it could not be implemented overnight. This would take lots of patience, money, and the mindset of administrators would have to shift. Mainly because this is such a loaded classroom much would have to be done to convince administration that this is the ultimate classroom for student achievement and overall success.


Sketch Up. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sketchup.com/

Tedde van Gelderen on Experience Design. February 9, 2010. ChangSchool Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB4VFKn7MA4

Experience design. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB4VFKn7MA4

Thethirdteacherplus. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://thethirdteacherplus.com/

Cannon design. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cannondesign.com/

Idea Flash Cards. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://static.squarespace.com/static/509c0d15e4b058edb8f35a86/t/50ec7590e4b0a0ad0261576c/1357673872861/TTTIdeasFlashCards.pdf

Chapter 2 Mind at Work. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://static.squarespace.com/static/509c0d15e4b058edb8f35a86/t/50f495b3e4b0c7661ad2ec2e/1358206387728/Ch2%20TTT%20for%20Web.pdf

79 Ways  You Can Use Design To Transfrom Teaching+Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://static.squarespace.com/static/509c0d15e4b058edb8f35a86/t/50ec7ca4e4b01d8c697c0b6c/1357675684568/79%20Ideas%20Overall%20List.pdf

How Much Does It Cost To Install Windows?. (n.d.). Home Advisor.com. Retrieved from http://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/doors-and-windows/install-windows/

Makeymakey. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.makeymakey.com/

Squishy Circuits. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://squishycircuitsstore.com/kits.html

Raspberry Pi. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.raspberrypi.org/

Little Bits. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://littlebits.com/kits

Popplet. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://popplet.com/

Mindmeister. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mindmeister.com/

Monitor Prices. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/search?q=monito+prices&oq=monito+prices&aqs=chrome.0.69i57j0l3j69i62.8157j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=monitor+prices&sa=X&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&ei=5n_8UbXYBtWz4AO_zYGwBA&ved=0CD4Qsxg&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.50165853%2Cd.dmg%2Cpv.xjs.s.en_US.seW1cfrvSKg.O&fp=6d6b216503697607&biw=1163&bih=552

White Chrome Bar Stool. (n.d.). Rakuten. Retrieved from http://www.rakuten.com/prod/tapoa-white-leatherette-finish-bar-stool-with-rotating-wheels/233775241.html

Lego Chill Zone. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.luvsmellofawesome.com/2013/03/awesome-couches.html

Nakeshabrow. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://nakeshabrown.blogspot.com/2011/07/todays-obsession-couches.html

Dailygumboot.(n.d.). Retrieved from http://dailygumboot.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/toothbrush-couch.jpg


















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Using technology to connect with specific special learning challenges….

This week in my course work for CEP812 I was asked to learn, explore and then create a connection between 21st century learning tools and students with learning challenges. Special education has always been a great interest to my career as I tend to find lots of joys and hurdles associated with the students that come into my classrooms. I have had a range of special education students in my career ranging from T.B.I or Traumatic Brain Injuries, a variety of reading and writing learning challenges, managing various degrees of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and lots of cases that range on the autism spectrum disorder.  My journey this week took me through a series of articles and research guides. However I found the site Understandingspecialeducation.com the most useful. It was particularly helpful and refreshing as the site helped guide my understanding of the types of learning disorders. When thinking about how I could make this assignment practical to my career, lots of memories of past relationships with students came to mind. I tend to spend a considerate amount of time with my special education students that enter my classroom. An extra effort combined with patience has allowed my relationship with special education to run fairly smooth.  So when considering the assignment of how I could connect technology into my classroom with special education students, these idea came to mind:

1)   Implementing more state of the art interactive white boards that could help with range of visual processing issues as well as motivating attention and focus for ADHD students.

2)   Utilizing websites like cooltext.com to help physical restrictions when writing and providing text and fonts

3)   Exploring smart phones and tablets as devices to paint and draw. Many students’ not just special education students have sensory issues where the tactile qualities of particular art materials (like pastels, clay, paints, etc.) become frustrating and intolerable. Here is a link to some of my favorites that are great options for students and classrooms that have iPads. I must add that I wish and pray that someday soon my art classroom will have such wonderful technology tools like tablets.

4)   Giving students with limited or no use of both hands the option of connecting the 3doodler device their arms or body somehow. The 3doodler could give students with various physical restrictions with their hands the options of sculpting in 3 dimensions. Utilizing this pen like contraption one could make lots of projects for my art class.

5)   Testing and managing the luminosity-training program gives students personalized attention to their special needs. ADHD and autistic students could be better managed working with this programs ability to work on their memory, attention, speed, flexibility, and problem solving.

All my ideas with these 21st century technology tools and applications left me excited and invested into rethinking my approach to special education students. So I have to pick one technology that could support, in some way, a student who lives with a learning challenge.  As mentioned before I have enjoyed my special educations students and find that with patience and the proper accommodations  learning struggles become very limited. Either way I haven’t been challenged enough by special education students and haven’t had a student that really challenged my approach to all my projects, assignments, and lectures. What kind of student would need to enter my classroom and make me take a step back and really think about special needs and what a student really can and cannot do? Here it is:

I am an art teacher.

I teach about the visual world .

I have never had a blind student.

What would I do if I had a blind student in my classroom?

The first thing I did was find statistics about blind students in public education and found that the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) was incredibly helpful and eye opening.  Chances are low that I will have a blind student or partially blind student enter my classroom, but what would my drawing lessons and tutorials be like for such a student? How could an art educator still relay or administer a drawing assignment or project?

My mind went back to a previous assignment I conducted for another MSU MAET class, CEP811. I could utilize my interactive ink concept with a blind student by associating sound with accurate movement of pencil. This concept will help with the ongoing maker culture that is thriving right now by pushing what is possible with technology and innovation.

1)   A simple manageable drawing will be made with a pencil on regular white piece of paper by instructor or a peer in the classroom.

2)   Conductive ink will then be painted over the pencil lines.

3)   Utilizing a makeymakey device various jumpers will be placed in a specific sequential order along the pencil lines. These jumpers will be connected through the back of the piece of paper. A piece of cardboard or other similar surface could be added to keep the paper with the drawing on it flat as to not let the jumpers push the paper up.

4)   Facilitating the use of sound files via wav.files and the program soundplant a particular chosen sound will be associated with the accurate movement of the blind students finger, pencil, or other conductive device to construct the drawing on top of the original ink covered drawing.

5)   A separate piece of paper will be placed on top of the original drawing. This paper does need to be thin enough to allow the connection to transfer when the blind student is searching for their correct path with pencil, finger, etc.

Basically a simple conductive interactive drawing is made that has sound linked to its proper path and direction of lines.  As the blind student starts the drawing they will hear a sound when the initial connection is made. As they move their pencil, finger, etc. along the paper a sound will be heard only if they are following the proper path of the original drawing. If the sound stops the student will then know that they have made a mistake and must relocate their pencil to accurate finish the particular line. The sounds that are chosen could be anything. This might even include a pre recorded set of directions or audio from the teacher instructing the shapes and types of lines that are being made.

This concept of a blind student being able to reproduce a drawing through mapping out lines connected to sound could be huge. Challenging and a bit confusing to explain but I plan on implementing this idea with my makeymakey device. Whether one has a special needs student that is blind or not this could be a teachable moment for educators to give the experience to others kids without any disabilities. I currently do a unit called “I can’t draw” where students are asked to give up the notion that they can’t draw and that drawing is impossible. I present various artist with disabilities and how they have managed to continue to create art with missing body parts like hands, arms, legs, etc.  Students are then given tasks like drawing with a pencil in their mouth, or between their toes, etc. This creation of interactive drawings for a blind person would fit in perfect for such a learning unit.

Whether my idea really grows or not I am sure that it would be a rewarding experience for a blind person to produce an accurate drawing. Possible muscle memory could be made over time and drawing the same interactive line over and over could produce results. In conclusion I am pumped to administer my idea. Here is a interesting site that showcases online resource and support groups for artists with visual impairments.


MSU Child Development Research Guide. (2013). Retrieved from http://libguides.lib.msu.edu/content.php?pid=46240&sid=341469

MSU Electronic Resource Page. (2013). Retrieved from http://er.lib.msu.edu/

Understanding Special Education. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.understandingspecialeducation.com/

Learning Disorders. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.understandingspecialeducation.com/learning-disorders.html

Promethean Interactive Whiteboards. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.prometheanworld.com/us/english/education/home

Cooltext. (2013). Retrieved from http://cooltext.com/

15 best iPad apps for painting and sketching. (April 9, 2013). Retrieved from http://www.creativebloq.com/digital-art/art-on-the-ipad-1232669

3doodler. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.the3doodler.com/

Lumosity. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.lumosity.com/app/v5/personalization/memory

NFB. (2013). Retrieve from https://nfb.org/factsaboutblindnessintheus

Makeymakey Interactive Art History. (2013). Retrieved from https://njacquesblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/makeymakey-interactive-art-history/

Maker culture. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maker_culture

Bare Conductive. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bareconductive.com/

Makeymakey. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.makeymakey.com/

Wavsource. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.wavsource.com/

Soundplant. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://soundplant.org/

The Blind Artist Society (n.d.). Retrieved from http://drbeer.info/BAS_wp/




















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Ultra Micro MOOC….Online Art Video Critique

Is massive an understatement? I think so….

This week my learning network grew substantially as I became familiar with the world of MOOC. MOOC is a simple idea that is growing in the education revolution. MOOC is an acronym that stands for Massive Open Online Course.  The concepts associated with the MOOC world give open learning a new meaning.  Following the nature of a constructivist-learning model, open learning sites like P2PU help with the active problem solving that is needed by students in todays world. With educators utilizing MOOC in their classrooms student motivation will rise as it hits many key interests most students hold. Kids want to learn with the Internet and with each other; MOOC leaning courses give the social networking of their generation a platform to move forward with. MOOC learning is shifting traditional instruction and challenging schools to keep up. Peer interaction is a constant in my classroom and this MOOC structure will build on my teaching style and approach when implementing lessons.

When exploring the MOOC universe and the massive options that it presents I found that the P2PU site could be helpful not only in my own personal instruction but also in my student’s presentations. Kids should be pushed to create their own courses to better understand the online networking capabilities. I also believe that a strong personal value is associated with publishing online courses or expertise. Asking students to show their passions with a particular area of your subject by teaching their specialties in a certain field is perfect. The quote by Frank Friedman Oppenheimer “the best way to learn is to teach” is taken to a whole new level when teachers utilize sites like P2PU.

This week in the course CEP811: Adapting Innovative Technology to Education we were asked to explore P2PU site and then outline our own understanding of its capabilities by creating a course. With a wide open “sky is the limit” option for what we could create our course about I was torn. At first I thought about how I could incorporate some of the fun parts of my daily life working at a summer camp into a lesson but then considered a more practical lesson that could be beneficial to my classroom during the school year. So after turning down coffee can light lessons, drawing tutorials, welding tips and tricks, and watercolor techniques, I have decided to go with critiques. I follow the Feldman critique method in my classroom. Students have to learn how to talk about art by becoming proper critics and observers of the visual world. Art critiques and the instruction on what a proper art critique should include has always been a boring part of my classroom. Kids like talking and even debating about each other’s artwork but find the instruction on the steps and process of how to do a critique lame. So my plan is to implement a MOOC using the P2PU site teaching my students how to properly conduct an art critique.
In my “Creative Curious Critique” course my peers will master the Feldman Art Critique Method by creating a video presentation that outlines the Feldman process steps while creatively critiquing a chosen artwork and sharing the final product online via a video sharing website where other peers are asked to post comments and suggestions.

1. Course Topic:

This course will start to finish instruct students how to properly conduct an art critique using the Edmond Feldman process steps. Students will learn to understand the visual world by communicating their thoughts about a given artwork. Also included in this course students will learn how to produce a short video explaining the steps in a Feldman critique while sharing information and thoughts on a given artwork. Students will be introduced and given tutorials to various art web sites (thisiscolossal, booooooom, deviantart, art.net, blouinartinfo, artbabble, artcyclopedia, juxtapoz, and more) and also video sharing sites (break, metacafe, veoh, dailymotion, youtube, and more). Each student will be expected to show understanding of the given artwork but also comment on others work. Students will also be asked to share thoughts about various topics and that arise from class discussion at home via proboards or boardhost.
2. Course Title & Photo:

 creative curious critiquemagnifying glass_4ab646432c4c9

                                                                                                   Creative Curious  Critique

3. Who is coming to your course? What will attract them? Why would they want to participate in this experience?

This course will be managed for younger middle school aged students. However this course will be effective for all age ranges as it helps build a visual vocabulary and constructs a structured process of relaying visual information. The creative curious critique course will attract all people that are looking for a guide on how to communicate their thoughts on art in a more formal but creative way. A variety of projects and subjects could use this lesson as all types of people and subjects need to relay visual information for assignments and projects. The Feldman critique method is so straight forward that is could be used to guide understanding and communication on everything from books, movies, artwork, music, and all other fine art related subjects. The attraction for using this lesson I believe will stem from the simplicity of the process steps that Feldman uses along with how students are asked to relay their critiques via video sharing. Students are watching and sharing videos constantly and this allows kids to share a video post on something academic that they are interested in. Participating in this experience will help students grow in ability to confidently understand various video-sharing sites, expand open learning methods by problem solving and making accurate descriptions, analysis, interpretations, and judgments of a given artwork or other visual information.

4. What do you want learners to be able to do when they are done? (Connect your thoughts here to the learning theories you explored last week and the design principles you learned this week.) How long is your course experience?

Learners in this course should be able to confidently relay information about the given artwork and place each context of their argument behind the proper Feldman critique step. Each participant will be able to express understanding of an artwork and their personal opinions using a simple set of steps. Implementing a structured step-by-step process to follow with the Feldman critique method students are able to engage in the experiential learning model by Kolb. The direct experience of this lesson and course makes meaning and value apparent. As mentioned earlier this course also will lean on the constructivist learning approach as students will rely on open learning and hands on learning.

The course should take just over 7 class periods. Teachers should allow for over a weeks worth of work to be invested in this course. While shooting the video will not take more then a day or two tops, the postproduction editing and upload and sharing process will take at least 3 to 4 days. Teachers should allow about a day or to use P2PU to instruct on the various video-sharing sites along with exploring all the options available on the art websites. Students should be asked to review the various art and video websites both in school and at home to find the best artwork that they will hold value in and the video sharing site that they feel the most comfortable with.

5. What will peers make?

Upon completion of this course each student will have shot, edited, and published an art critique video that will be online for others to comment on. Each student will have gained knowledge of various video sharing sites, shown the proper application of the Edmond Feldman technique, and explored other students videos online then shared comments and suggestions both on the site but also on message boards sites. Basically each student will make a video critique.

6. Now that you’ve identified skills and made projects for each skill, how do those activities hang together as a course? (Again, connect to learning theories, instructional design and consider how TPACK comes into play.)

The skills and mini projects all come together to form a concrete course. This is clear, as students have been asked to construct a video and then share their critique using a variety of video networking avenues. TPACK comes full circle as video technology is intergraded with the art content and the pedagogical settings are in place from the beginning of the lesson to the end by laying out clear learning activities.

7. How will peers help each other in your course?

Peers will help each other in the course by posting daily posts explaining where they are at in the process in the project along with making posts and answering questions from other students via the message boards (proboards or boardhost). The real help will come from watching the video critiques and learning how to best relay creative ways to communicate the Feldman process steps. By watching how others have done their critiques each student will be able to readjust certain parts of their productions. Peers can also help each other by emailing suggestions as well.


MOOC. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course

Open learning. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_learning

P2PU (Ed.). (July 25, 2013). [P2PU]. Retrieved from [Web] Peer 2 Peer University website https://p2pu.org/en/

CbcTheNational. (May 1, 2012). The MOOC. Retrieved from [Web] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSxTw3pXCj4#at=32

MOOC (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cb/MOOC_poster_mathplourde.jpg

P2PU (2013). How do I make a p2pu course?. Retrieved July 26, 2013 from


Frank Oppenheimer. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Oppenheimer

Feldman Model of Art Criticism. (2013). Retrieved from http://www2.gvsu.edu/hipshean/resources/Feldman’s%20Model%20Crit.pdf

Meredith Steele. (August 16, 2012). Feldman’s Method of Art Criticism. Retrieved from [Web] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b3CvtRMGtg

Ronald Searle. (1952). Retrieved from http://theatrecritic.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/theidealcritic1.jpg

Boooooooom. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.booooooom.com/

Thisiscolossal. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thisiscolossal.com/

Deviantart. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.deviantart.com/

Art.net. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.art.net/

Blouinartinfo. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.blouinartinfo.com/

Artbabble. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.artbabble.org/

Artcyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.artcyclopedia.com/

Juxtapoz. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.juxtapoz.com/

Break. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.break.com/

Metacafe. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.metacafe.com/

Veoh. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.veoh.com/

Dailymotion. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.dailymotion.com/us

YouTube. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/

Proboards. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.proboards.com/

Boardhost. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://boardhost.com/

Lodd. (n.d.). The Eye of Sauron?. Retrieved from  http://www.pxlshots.com/images/contests/magnifying%20glass/fullsize/magnifying%20glass_4ab646432c4c9.jpg

Visual Critique Summary. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/1972/2188/1600/VisualCritiqueSum.0.jpg

Experiential Learning. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experiential_learning

Constructivism. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_(learning_theory)















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MakeyMakey Interactive Art History


Ok so how can I use the makeymakey with my art class? All kinds of ideas started popping into my head. Everything from some kind of interactive paintbrush using the device, to a simple online paint program that could be re-managed with the device came to mind. I even considered a variation of the cat water bowl idea that triggers a photo booth snap shot when the cat takes a drink. http://madartlab.com/2013/02/07/makey-makey-cat-photo-booth/

Instead of a cat it could be my students as they are finishing their art projects and turning them into the done pile. It would be some kind of reaction or final look that could be captured when they turn in their projects.  Lots and lots of work and hours of committed art work goes into projects. Using the makeymakey I could set up a similar sensor system that could capture the satisfaction look my students get when turning in their projects. The pictures captured could be used at parent teacher conferences as a slideshow of some sort or even as a tagged picture that could be used at the annual art show next to their work. Either way this student snapshot idea can be implemented in the future possibly.

So as my journey exploring the Internet continued while using evernote in the process I found that conductive ink or paint is the direction I want to take.  Picasso said it best “Good artist copy, great artist steal”. So with that said I plan on using the idea I found from instructables.com. http://www.instructables.com/id/Interactive-Art-With-Bare-Conductive-and-a-Makey-M/ My goal is to use conductive ink to act as a sensor that relays audio about a given artwork. Basically I will create a interactive painting that gives students audio input when touching the given artwork.

I utilize and implement a D.B.A.E. (Disciplined Based Art Education) system in my art classroom. A proper D.B.A.E art room has four main parts. 1) Art Production 2) Art History 3) Art Criticism and 4) Aesthetics.  By using the makeymakey and conductive ink on particular areas of paintings and drawings my art history portion of the D.B.A.E formula could be beefed up quite a bit. Students love making art and usually like critiquing each other’s work. However the struggle tends to land on art history. Students tend to get bored when hearing about old paintings and learning about facts about the artists that crated the artworks. By implementing a trigger system on certain areas of paintings using the makeymakey student achievement and engagement will increase.

So this is where thrifting came in. I thought I could go to the local thrift store and find some old paintings to purchase. As an art teacher I have tons of old paintings at my disposal both in my home and in my art classroom. However instead of using one of my own, I went exploring. I was surprised at what I found. I did find some interesting paintings and weird what looked like homemade projects. I went to a place called the Goldmine and also the better-known establishment known as Goodwill. I decided not to purchase any of the paintings that I found at both places. Reason being that nothing that I found was teachable material. Rather I decided to go with what I know I can teach to. My plan is to pick a classic like Van Gogh’s Starry Night or Picasso’s Guernica. Both paintings have plenty of spots that could be teachable triggers for kids to touch and hear audio that explains the paintings structure, elements of design, artist history, or fun random facts about the painting.


From here I will need to purchase the soundplant software and do additional research with its range of options for inputs.

Process Steps:

1)   Purchase Materials:



2- Bare Conductive Ink


3-Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Etc

4- Audio Files


5- Soundplant


2)   Pick artwork that you want to teach to.

3)   Choose areas of artwork that you want to sensor

4)   Add bareconductive ink to locations on artwork that you want audio

5)   From the back of the artwork insert makeymakey sensors (jumpers)

6)   Insert jumpers into “wasdfg” pick ups on makeymakey

7)   Attach USB from makeymakey to computer and connect ground wire

8)   Test connectivity

9)   Setup sounds using wav files and soundplant software

10) Implement into daily instruction or art history portions of art curriculum

Here is a screencast giving instructions on how to implement art history idea using the makeymakey device:










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