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Thank you, Teacherline! An Art teacher Uses Technology For Improved Art Instruction

Marie T. Roberson, Art teacher
Rosemont Middle School, Norfolk Public Schools

Art and technology- it’s a fit that’s getting better and better. Look at the world of photography, printmaking, video, and more for proof. But, how could art educators use technology? As a returning Art teacher, I take as many TeacherLine courses as possible to enhance my instruction. I am convinced that our tech-savvy students can learn faster, and sometimes better, with technology as a tool. I have taken three Teacherline classes and each one has refined the delivery of my Art instruction.

Computers for Personal Productivity was my first class. I discovered how to use Web-based tools, and Web 2.0 to improve my productivity and effectiveness as a teacher. I learned how to use technology tools that improved my communication with colleagues, students, and parents. I learned how to create more in-depth lesson plans and instructional materials, and manage information paperlessly. Admittedly, I was overwhelmed. I decided to dedicate my time and became hooked. This was just the beginning of my interest in the TeacherLine courses.

Next I took a WebQuest class which I finished in January. I immediately saw the value of teaching Art History more visually and interactively with a WebQuest. My final project was a WebQuest for students to compare and contrast the different artwork President and Mrs. Obama selected for display in the White House. For this class, I compiled appropriate websites regarding all of the artwork, created a role playing scenario to motivate students to participate, and successfully used it with my students. Students had to choose and research three of their favorite pieces and explain their choices in a PowerPoint. Creating their WebQuest final product demanded higher level thinking which was evident when we all viewed their final projects. Each student presented their work. Spontaneous discussions about ‘What is art?’ ‘What was happening in the world when that art was made?’ and ‘Where did that artist get that idea?’ directed questions received well thought out responses. Most of the students stayed deeply engaged in learning during the presentations.

Below: The description and task portion of my WebQuest

Famous Artist

You are a very famous artist.

The public and other artists respect you as well. What you say about artwork ALWAYS makes it into the news and on TV. Your strong, and often outrageous opinions, are shown on E! and other TV shows. Sometimes you make other artists mad and sometimes you make them rich. Now, you are tasked by National TV to review the artwork selected by the Obamas for display in the White House. You are excited about doing this because your opinion of some of the work is HOT! Furthermore, you actually own artwork by some of the artists.



The Obamas’ art picks will likely affect the sale prices of the artists’ artwork. For example, after ex-President George W. Bush displayed El Paso, Texas artist Tom Lea’s “Rio Grande,” in the Oval Office, the price of the artist’s paintings shot up roughly 300%, according to Adair Margo, owner of an El Paso gallery that sells Mr. Lea’s work.

Tom Lea

Your task:

View quickly images of the 45 pieces of art that the Obamas have on display in the White House at www.tinyurl/whitehouseart
Select the five pieces of work that appeal or stand out to you the most. Base your selection on 1) how much you like the work OR 2) feel an intense positive or negative emotion when viewing the piece
Investigate the artist of each of your five artworks on the Norfolk Public Schools
Create a script for your MovieMaker or PhotoStory video about each piece in a WORD document using the following format:
Art Title
Create a short 3-5 minute video for the New York Times web feed using MovieMaker or PhotoStory. Include appropriate images for the script you created. Save all WORD documents, images, and video in one file. OR Create a PowerPoint following the same procedure with adaptations. See rubrics for expectations
Example: John Smith 5 Obama art movie
Present your work and receive feedback from teachers and peers


I felt like I was on an evangelical mission to preach the value of WebQuests. I presented a WebQuest workshop at the Tidewater Art Education Association’s Winter Workshop. Participating Art teachers found that an Art WebQuest is relatively easy to construct and can be tailored to the Art standards. They too, found the potential of WebQuest in the Art room. I moved on to yet another Teacher line class…

I am currently taking the Graphic Organizers for Personal Productivity class. This has been an eye opener. Content teachers are familiar with GOs (graphic organizers) but the same can’t be said for all Art teachers. Logic might tell you that graphic organizers wouldn’t be needed in an Art class. However, artists are known for re-purposing something to make their work better. That’s what I did using Inspiration 8, the featured software in the class. I made a visual of my curriculum with embedded instruction notes and hyperlinks. It’s wonderfully easy to see how unit concepts overlap or where I have too much repetition in my lessons. I can make a PowerPoint presentation easily, complete with graphics, handouts, and hyperlinks using Inspiration software in a snap. For fun, I mind mapped my life. I unloaded every thought I had on many subjects and then printed out a wonderful poster size graphic. I use it as a check off list, too. I feel so much lighter and better organized. I update it often with minutia that I don’t want to forget. The best part is that it’s on my laptop and I’m paperless. I plan on using a GO to plot, plan, and save resources for my instruction next year.

Below: An in progress- personal graphic organizer with some icons inserted:

Art Projects

The bottom line is that it’s worth it for an Art teacher to experiment with technology to improve their instruction. Our tech-savvy students can learn faster, and sometimes better, when teachers use technology as a tool. I am convinced that technological tools can make lesson planning easier, presentations more easily created, and lesson delivery visually engaging. Technology and Art teachers are a wonderful combination!

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