Things to do at the new job:

Categories Art, Education, nextgenteachers, Technology
  1. Start Monday. (Woohoo!)
  2. Use no textbooks.  Textbooks, especially ones about technology, seem like they’re out of date before they’re shipped.
  3. Avoid handouts whenever possible.  Papers have an annoying habit of getting lost, “lost,” or simply ignored.  Also, I’ve never seen a school copier go more than 4 weeks without having a spectacular meltdown.  Handouts have their uses, but I refuse to be one of the teachers staring at a copier exuding the magic blue smoke 5 minutes before class and wondering what I’ll do now that my entire day’s lesson plans are shot.
  4. Avoid paper whenever possible.  When I first played with the form feature in Google Docs, my initial thought was “I could use this to build a test!”  I don’t think I’ll be using Google Docs for everything, but I will find ways for students to hand their work into me digitally.  I’m looking at a Drupal installation for this at the moment, though I might play with Moodle if Drupal doesn’t fit the bill.
  5. Use wikis.  They’re easy to update, tamper resistant, and can replace textbooks and handouts in my classroom.  The best part is I expect my students to have a sense of ownership if they know that they helped make the class “textbook.”
  6. Tie art in with everything.  It’s an art class.  It’s a computer class.  It’s both.  I intend to keep it that way.  The technology aspect is hard to avoid when teaching in a computer lab, but one can lose sight of the art when dealing with MS Word.
  7. Avoid busywork.  As any former substitute will tell you, a class can sense fear.  They can also sense when you’re wasting their time.  Every lesson I plan will have me asking “When will they need to know this?”  I’ll ask, because my students will be asking as well.
  8. Have students blog.  Maybe not every day.  Maybe not every class.  Maybe not in a way that allows the whole world to see everything they write, but every day people are using social networking platforms in ways that will hurt them in the long run.  One of my goals is to teach them how to do it responsibly.
  9. Blog more.  This is a new position with a very open curriculum.  There are frameworks in place, of course, but I have a lot of freedom and that means I’ll be trying a lot of new ideas.  I intend to share what does and doesn’t work.
Aaron Smith is a Media Arts & Technology Teacher who spends most of his time on computers. In his free time he plays video games, edits videos, and misses his wife dearly.

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