SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2014

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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A D V O C A C Y The Interconnected Artroom 8 first steps I took. By setting up my own page and joining groups, I began communicat- ing with like-minded individuals. Posting my studentsÕ artwork online and showing them responses from peers around the world is powerful. The following year, I set up an Asia region art educatorsÕ site (ararte.ning. com), and though small, it has become an effective way for teachers in Asia to connect and collaborate. For example, through ArtEd 2.0, I met Melissa Noack from Yarmouth High School in Maine. I admired her work with students in digital imag- ing, so we decided to share a website (, have our stu- dents respond to one anotherÕs work, and do similar assignments. We have used a variety of online tools to com- municate, but we make sure to meet each summer to evaluate and decide how to proceed. It has been a reward- ing collaboration for students and teachers, and excellent press for both of our schools. In the end, connecting with others is all about expanding awareness and perspective. Ideas take on a new life when they are shared. Kendra Farrell is an art teacher at the International School of Beijing and the founder of the Ning site, Asia Region Art Educators. W E B L I N K S about the possibilities for sharing and bringing more richness, relevance, and relationships into my artroom. Realizations The Internet has thrust us into a col- laborative existence, marked by a breakdown of barriers between work and leisure, public and private, home and office, domestic and foreign. With constant access to the Web, our stu- dents create and connect online with their own music, videos, art, blogs, etc. Why not bring our classroom work and ideas out into the world in a similar way? Being open and transparent has the potential to make us braver, more attentive, and flexible. Parents love seeing what their children are doing online, and the kids like it, too. Connecting allows us to share and learn from anyone at any time, helping us to grow professionally. Ways to Connect Six years after my eye-opening expe- rience at EARCOS, I have presented workshops on connecting and col- laborating in the artroom throughout Asia, and my mantra on how to begin is to Òstart with just one thing.Ó I found that personal learning networks (PLNs) are an excellent place for inspi- ration and connections. Joining ArtEd 2.0 ( was one of the T he idea to connect online with other art educators occurred to me during the spring of 2007 while I was attending an East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) teacherÕs conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I attended two sessions that radically changed my thinking and behavior in my classes. One of these sessions was a work- shop on Understanding by Design art curriculum given by Daisy McTighe, with David Gran as one of the par- ticipants. David was on his computer the entire time recording what was going on, and I later learned that he has a blog called The Carrot Revolution (carrotrevolution.blogspot. com), where he shares art ideas and inspirations with art teachers online. I was impressed that what we were learning was now instantly available to the rest of the world. Next, I walked into a workshop on the digital learner given by Jeff Utecht, educational consultant and author of the blog, The Thinking Stick ( Jeff had us view the powerful YouTube video, ÒPay Attention,Ó which addresses the impact digital tools are having on life outside the classroom. After this exposure, I experienced a cosmic shift in my perspective as an educator and felt real excitement Kendra Farrell The Internet has thrust us into a collaborative existence, marked by a breakdown of barriers. Posting student artwork online and showing them the responses from others from another part of the globe is powerful.

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