Visual Literacy/Arts in Education

I learned from the reflection materials that visual literary and the arts are essential parts of learning in the 21st century. Being able to interpret and assess visual media is an important skill in our post-Gutenberg society, where we increasingly rely less on text as a form of communication and more on graphics, images, and sound.  media literacy wordcloudSchools need to help students to develop these skills. Using the arts as a tool to help teach core subjects is a great way to help students to grasp abstract ideas and express themselves. Arts integration is the motivation for many kids to be enthusiastic learners. For example, since beginning an arts integration program at Bates Middle School, suspension rates have dropped 23 percent. Furthermore, being involved in the arts helps many people to enjoy their lives more in general. Andrew Miller, the author of “Visual Art as Critical Thinking,” claims that being involved in singing encouraged him to stay in school and remains a crucial part of his identity.

I have had some experiences in the use of art in learning before. In elementary school, I went to a magnet school for the arts where I was involved in music, visual  art, and drama. Now, I am still involved in music as a sister of Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity and a member of the Redcoat marching band.  Doing music-related activities has helped me to form many friendships in school and gives me motivation to go to school every day. One of the most memorable arts-integration projects I have done is the Scarlet Letter project I was required to do in my American Literature class. My classmates and I were required to create a piece of art that was representative of the themes of the Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and write an essay explaining our piece. I chose to write a piece of music using Finale software.

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I think that the photo blog in EDIT2000 is somewhat challenging. I am not a visual learner, so it is a challenge for me to find photos that support my arguments and create a unique and professional-looking blog. However, I am enjoying creating this photo blog, and I feel like I am learning a lot by doing it.

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Horizon Report

I agree with the trends listed in the report, more or less. One of the trends listed is that the education paradigm is shifting to include online learning methods. When I was in high school, there were several classes that were instructed completely online. byodMy friends who took these classes agreed that these classes allowed them to have more flexible schedules and gave them an opportunity to gain digital skills. However, it was hard for many of them to learn without face-to-face interactions with their peers and teachers. I have also had several teachers take advantage of social media in the classroom. During my senior year of high school, my Anatomy and Philosophy teacher created a Twitter account to use exclusively for the class. She would tweet links pertaining to our material and reminders of when assignments were due for our class. It was definitely easier for students to check their Twitter account rather than using old-fashioned methods to remember due dates such as day planners and calendars. The “Bring Your Own Device” policy of some schools described in the report is quite different from my high school’s technology policy. Students were not allowed to use mobile devices during class, and they were never used as a tool for learning. I think that this policy can be quite advantageous as long as students are given a definite list of do’s and don’ts concerning their mobile devices.

Implementing personalized learning is less of a challenge in the field I hope to enter, speech therapy, than it is in a classroom setting.speech Speech therapists usually work one-on-one with students, so sessions can be adjusted to the needs of specific students. However, in a class of 15 to 30 students, this can be quite a challenge. For example, my 14-year-old brother is a very visual learner, but almost all of his classes are taught only by lecture. Additionally, there is not a great amount of technology available to promote differentiated instruction. This challenge can perhaps be overcome in a classroom setting by allowing students to choose between several different learning activities that are suitable to their learning needs.

I find the idea of open education materials to be very intriguing. Currently, both college students and K-12 schools have to pay for information resources such as textbooks and databases like Encyclopedia Britannica. I lost points on several assignments for not using authoritative online resources. Nowadays, since information is so easy to access, the notion of authoritative resources is changing. It would be helpful for my speech therapy clients to have easy access to the information and activities in their speech therapy sessions at home. I hope to implement open education materials into my therapy.


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Digital Media– New Learners of 21st Century

Q: Which project do you like the most or which project is the most impressive?  Why?

A: I think that the Quest to Learn project was incredibly impressive. The project bases all of its teaching on creating video games or other projects involving technology.  project taught kids how to break down a problem into smaller, more manageable pieces. The way that children learn in Quest to Learn is similar to the way that one completes a video game. Just as you cannot move on to the next level of a video game until you have completed the previous level, the kids cannot move on to the next topic until they have mastered the previous material. I think that being able to break down the components of a problem is an important skill in the 21st century. We are presented with so much digital information every day that it is easy to become overwhelmed. I think it is crucial for kids to apply the knowledge and skills they are learning rather than just memorizing facts, and Quest to Learn allows them to do that.


Q: Do you think you need to sharpen your digital medial skills?  What are some challenges for you to use the digital media in your own learning/ teaching?  Maybe it’s the challenges related to resources, time management, curriculum design, your own skills, teachers’ collaboration?

A: I could definitely stand to sharpen my own digital media skills. In my own teaching, I hope to utilize technology to make learning easier. Improving my digital skills would also make my own learning much easier. Technology is very important to speech pathology, the field I hope to enter. There are many tools and apps used by speech pathologists to help people with speech produce language correctly. In school, I was taught how to use the Microsoft Office and surf the Internet, but I have not received instruction in must else besides that. In high school, the only technology I had access to at home was a flip phone and a laptop. As a student at UGA, I have access to many more forms of technology such as the materials available in the Digital Media Lab. I should sharpen my skills in order to communicate more effectively in the 21st century world.

Q: Do these projects reminds you of some ideas you learned from your reading (meaningful learning with technology chapter 1)?  What are the ideas?  How did you see the connections?

A: These projects remind me of the characteristics of meaningful learning that the chapter described. Since these projects are attempting to promote meaningful learning, it would only make sense that they promote learning that is active, intentional, authentic, cooperative, and constructive. I think that the Quest to Learn project was a great example of intentional learning. Students work on the projects with the intention, or ultimate goal, of completing them. As they work towards this goal, they learn, analyze, and apply the material of their learning. It seems that the ideology behind using technology in learning with these projects and the ideas discussed in the reading are different. The reading suggests that technology is a tool used to facilitate learning, but it cannot replace an instructor’s guidance. In these projects, the kids are learning mainly through technology. However, the teachers are still not completely absent from the learning experience.

Q:  How do social networking sites or virtual communities broaden and/or otherwise change your students’ sense of community, and/or interaction with others? How do students communicate differently using technology than they might in person? What benefits do these digital tools offer, and what challenges might they present?

A: I think that social networking offers children who are less extroverted than some of their peers the opportunity to express their thoughts and participate in the classroom. ImageIt is easier for some kids to express their thoughts and opinions through writing than it is to express them verbally. In the video, one teacher stated that kids who almost never spoke in the classroom were stars in the virtual communities and chat rooms he made for his class. It is exciting for students to see feedback on their posts and comment on the posts of others. It is good for children to gain exposure to online communities, since they are a prominent form of communication between people around the world in our globalized society. There are drawbacks to an increased use of social networking in the classroom. Face-to-face interactions are something we must be competent in in everyday life, and increasing the use of social media in school gives children less opportunities to practice this skill. Of course, as our world changes it is important that children can articulate themselves via social media as well.

Q: Did you have similar experiences or did you know any teachers/ schools doing similar things?  Describe your experiences or the teachers/ schools you know.  If you don’t, try to think about one think about one digital media project that you want to do with K-12 students or your friends.

A: In middle school, I took a course called Technology Education. It was a half semester-long course. In this class, our end goal was to create a short flash animation movie. My teacher did not give us a lot of guidance, and I did not retain a lot of information from that class. Thus, I became a little bit frustrated. This class made me become frustrated with technology. The teacher gave all of our instructions verbally, and I am not a verbal learner. Thus, I thought that I wasn’t great at technology and avoided taking classes that involved a lot of technology in my high school and college courses.


Q: John Seely Brown says: “In a world of rapid change, the need to memorize something is a 20th century skill.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? In what instances might memorization, or other more “rote” methods, still play a vital educational role? In what ways can approaches complement each other? (cited from the discussion guide for the video clip).

A; I agree with this statement to a degree. With technology, it is more convenient for people to look up complicated or obscure facts or use technology rather than taking the time to memorize it. I believe there are definitely circumstances in which rote memorization is required as a base for learning information at a higher level. For example, if you never memorize basic rules of addition and subtraction and the multiplication tables, it is time-consuming and near impossible to do calculus. I think that both approaches can definitely complement each other. For example, say that you are doing a complicated chemistry experiment. If you know basic math, which is based in memorization, you can do the math required to perform the functions of this experiment. However, you could use your tablet or iPad to read the steps of the experiments or watch Youtube videos of people performing the experiment as you go through the complicated procedure.

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Reflection #2

The main idea that I took away from the Meaningful Learning with Technology chapter is that technology is a valuable tool for promoting learning, and it is important that educators integrate technologies into their classrooms so that students are properly equipped for the 21st century. This chapter has not really changed my ideas about using technology in education. I knew that technology was a great tool for learning when used properly, but it is not a substitute for a great teacher. When I use technology such as blogging, J Exam software, and CENTRO in my college courses, my teacher is leading my learning experience, and technology just makes it easier. This chapter did bring to my attention the importance of using technology to promote higher-level thinking in learning. Sometimes you need to memorize facts when you learn, and technology can be a useful tool to facilitate this. However, students are more likely to remember the information they learn and apply their skills in the real world when they analyze and synthesize the the material they learn, as Bloom’s Taxonomy suggests. bloom's taxonomyTechnology can be used to facilitate this kind of learning.

My career goal is to become a speech pathologist, and technology is a very important tool in this discipline. articulation_station One of the most important skills  to my discipline described in this chapter is using technology to communicate effectively, since teaching people to communicate is the main goal of speech pathologists . When I shadowed a speech pathologist at a rehab center, a child with apraxia used a tool where he would click on buttons on a toy with pictures of various words on them. When he clicked on a button, the machine would produce that word, so he could hear how that word sounded when produced. This child was physically unable to say many common words and sounds, but with this tool he learned to put sentences together using the words on this machine and thus learned to communicate. The therapist also downloaded apps on her iPhone that the child used to learn various articulation and phonology. These apps made learning seem like a game to the children. They also required the kids to reflect critically on their learning experiences in speech therapy, which is another skill described in this chapter.

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Learning Reflection

My brain has changed and developed over past years, and my learning has thus changed accordingly. As a child, I learned best by observing others doing things and copying them. For example when I was in kindergarten, my teacher tried to explain to me how use addition and subtraction signs in math problems. I was very confused until my teacher told me to simply watch one of my classmates do a problem on the board. Suddenly, it all clicked for me. Observing others is still a helpful tool for me in my learning, but as I have grown and matured, I have branched out into other learning methods too. I am mainly a tactile learner. I learn best by doing things and later receiving feedback from an instructor on my performance and how I can improve. I use technology more in my learning now than I did as a child because I have a better understanding of it, and adults trust me to use their technological devices more now than when I was a child.

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Technology has been a valuable tool for me in my learning. Smart boards are one of my favorite classroom tools because I like their interactive features. They were especially helpful to me in my high school calculus class. My teacher’s Smart board allowed him to show the class multiple examples of math problems in an easy and accessible way. Blogging was helpful to me in many of my classes as well. In my ENGL1102 class, my professor created a Blogger account in which she would post discussion questions, and everyone was required to post a response and comment on other classmate’s responses. This was a helpful tool to me because I could see everyone’s different views on the discussion topic. Online homework, such as the J Exam program used in my CHEM1211 class, was very helpful because it gave you feedback on whether your answers were right or wrong and explained how to solve the problems.


Other forms of technology were not as helpful in my learning and tended to confuse me. When teachers show videos in class, my mind tends to drift because there is no interaction involved. These videos were also often off-topic from the main focus of the class, so I really had no motivation to pay attention. In my CHEM1211 lecture, each student had to purchase a clicker and use it to submit answers to online quizzes. These clickers were not very helpful. Quizzes were stressful because the clickers often didn’t work. It was also very easy for other students to cheat off one another in clicker quizzes, which is not beneficial to learning.

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