Saturday, 24 April 2010

I can do it too...

As a teacher I find you spend a lot of time showing students new techniques and other artists work and they rarely see what YOU can do. They often seem to forget that teachers have talents apart from the ability to 'Teach'.

I have brought work I have done in, in the past as examples for the students. I try to continue to be an Artist alongside being a teacher though this is not often possible.

Last weekend I spent some time producing some web graphics and vectors on Illustrator. When I went in on Monday I showed a couple of my students what I had created. They were really surprised at what I had achieved and it provoked analysis and debate on a level I had never experienced from these particular students. They were very inquisitive and questioned me for a long time about how I used the various tools achieve the overall effect.

This weekend I decided to dust off the paint brushes for the same reason. This weeks effort has turned into a very traditional style painting though I plan to develop this further over the next week, so it is very much a work in progress.

What the last week has very much reminded me is that students benefit form seeing the talents of their teachers it makes us more three dimensional to them and can often be used to stimulate inquiry, as they are tangible artifacts not just images in a book/website produced by a faceless artist.

Monday, 12 April 2010


Tatton Park Gardens 10/04/10

Over the last few weeks I have watched a number of conferences, talks and live streams from around the world. They all seem to be getting very repetitive as similar ideas/enthusiasm seem to come up in all situations along with the same lack of understanding and vision. These are the same tech/learning related issues that are being debated in every educational institution across the country if not the world:
-How to engage learners
-Social networking
-IT provision
-CPD (lifelong learning amongst teachers and lecturers)

Today I was watching the initial JISC Conference 2010, Pre conference debate "A perfect vision-Technology priorities for higher education" and comments William Dutton made reminded me of all those discussions at BectaX.

He talked about how we shift students to being able to create the internet, not just consume it? And that answers were unlikely to come from FE and HE.

He asked the question "Networked individuals will be the drivers of education in the future not institutions" -almost 80% of the audience agreed.

I personally agreed with alot of what he said as it was nothing really that had not already been said in all those other situations over the last few week. What was different was the back drop-HE and FE.

The thought that is going round and round in my head at the moment is why don't all educational institutions SHARE:
As all these different sectors have so much they could learn from each other. Stop focusing on the tech and the politics, focus on the teaching, learning and STUDENTS.   

I know I learn from looking at different educators/sectors and thinking how could I apply that? Don't you?

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Thought provoking times

This has been a strange few months; my teaching senses seem to be heightened and I am becoming more aware of the world around me. This is due to a renewed passion for learning:
  • No longer reading blog posts in email and using a reader; Google Reader.  Though this has also increased my reading from 8-12 blogs a day to 190+. (Perhaps excessive?)
  • Signing up to Twitter and following the teachers whos blogs I read and speakers I have come across at conferences. Obviously this grows as new tweeters catch my eye.
  • Blogging to vocalise/reflect/record thoughts (though at embryonic stage) 
Having said all of this it is not just technology/social networking alone it is also a change in attitude. I was letting the system and 'politics' get to me and I made a conscious effort to stop getting frustrated and focus on what is best for my students and myself.

I can not change the whole education system over night and no one person can but what I can do is:
  • In the classroom:Be positive about students learning and my teaching. Continue to learn to be a better teacher and continue to reflect/assess/develop my practice. Prepare students as well as I can for the 21st century using what I can.
  • In my department: Support those around me who are less comfortable with technology. Find ways to build the community within the department both face 2 face and online. Celebrate our students.
  • In the college: Do what I can. Continue to push for CHANGE.
I feel there is something in the air at the moment; this was best highlighted in Tom Barretts recent post Whispering Change . I hope there is a revolution but for the moment I am focusing on what I can and chipping away.