SchoolArts Magazine

February 2015

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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Page 12 of 50

A D V O C A C Y STEAM, are creative and art-based, and we own the visual language that these programs seek. Taking the Lead With this push to embrace a new age of technology, what's an art educa- tor to do? I believe it's time for us to step up, become campus leaders, and help our fellow teachers acclimate themselves with creative teaching by promoting and modeling what we already do. Most impor- tantly, we want qualified art teach- ers teaching the "A" in STEAM. Be willing to collaborate with that math/ science/kindergarten teacher, because they know the math/science part, but not the art part. And that part, that juicy creative part, is what everyone I have been teaching for more than twenty years—the last fourteen of which have been at the same school. During this time I have watched many art education phi- losophies come and go, but I have never seen the kinds of transforma- tive changes that are occurring now. Frankly, it's overwhelming. I am currently teaching at a 1:X school, which means every child has access to the technology that best fits his or her needs. Every child has a school-issued iPad, we have Macs in our classrooms, and, coming next school year, we'll have three STEAM labs. Learning to Love Technology As much as I resist change, I don't stick my head in the sand. I am open- minded and flexible. I am a gamer, which means, yes, I play video games. I use my gaming mentality in the classroom, and I have a healthy rela- tionship with technology. Practically, however, I do not have a healthy rela- tionship with change. Little did I know that change was staring me in the face every day in the form of my son, Will. Like most kids today, he seems to be attached to technology. While at first I fought this phenomenon, I soon came to real- ize that it's today's children who are driving the changes in the classroom. While technology is by no means a replacement for hands-on art-making, we need to utilize it as the masters before us utilized the new technology of their day to make their art stronger and, well, easier to create. Owning Visual Language Embracing change was very stress- ful, but necessary. I attended confer- ences. I read books. I talked, vented, and raged. Like a good artist-teacher, I questioned everything. I realized, finally, that all this change is pro art education. All the new initiatives, from PBLs to Design Thinking to Leslie McReynolds wants. Art teachers have the special- ized knowledge and skills to teach it, to nurture it, and to set it free. Ensuring a Bright Future It's silly to stay stagnant in this rich profession of ours. Would you be con- tent to create art the same way you did when you were seventeen? We need to embrace growth and change. I am really proud of the art program at my school. It's way cool. By accepting technology, we'll make sure it's way cool for years to come! Leslie McReynolds is an elementary art teacher at Donald Elementary in Flower Mound, Texas. W E B L I N K Embracing Change It's time for us to step up, become campus leaders, and help our fellow teachers acclimate themselves with creative teaching. 8

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