The 4th Annual Arts Really Teach Conference was hosted last month by the Santa Clara County Office of Education, in collaboration with San Jose State University’s Lurie College of Education. For the second year, a smattering of offerings merging the arts and technology were offered, and these were well received by participants trying to meet the needs of a different generation of students.
This year’s two-day conference featured an array of arts and tech workshops. Kristin Farr from KQED (our Northern California PBS affiliate) presented “Cultural Fluency in the Arts through Free Public Media Resources.” She led pre-service teachers in the skills to download and re-mix arts media content. Contemporary art and activities were infused into upcoming projects.
San Jose State professor Jolynn Asato led “Digital Storytelling with Mobile Devices.” Her pre-service kindergarten–8th grade teaching audience learned how to incorporate music, images and storytelling in engaging and creative ways. The take away? Each participant created a short digital story of his/her own with additional knowledge on how to do similar projects with iPads.
On day two, Santa Clara County Office of Education Academic Technologist Greg Pitzer led “Web 2.0 Meets the Arts.” The group started with an introduction to three free word cloud programs: Wordle, Tagxedo and Word Sift. Most of those in the audience had not seen websites to make word clouds, although they mentioned knowledge of them in books and articles they had seen. They were motivated to go back to school and share with students.
Blabberize was another highlight. It’s a free website that requires a microphone to successfully navigate. After uploading a picture of an animal, person or some other live being, you can record audio and have the animal talk. The example on the website uses a llama that explains how the site works. Imagine the use of this in theatre classes to have students practice scripts, or even write/speak presentations for new characters they create.
Animoto was a favorite, especially when attendees learned that by using their school email addresses, they can have free “educator” accounts. (Want to do this too? Go to Animoto for education and sign up!). I shared many examples of my use of Animoto with students, adults, and others in a simple, video-generated way.
Greg’s workshop concluded with StoryJumper, where teachers can lead their students in the creation of children’s books. The quick tutorial and video example is a effective way to share the applicability of the site with those a little more hesitant to work with technology.