Yesterday I had the privilege to speak to a number of the technology directors from the districts served by IU1. My chat with them included sharing our ArtsEducator 2.0 wikispace, the video uploads we have made to Vimeo, this blog, and to speak about our iPad deployment with our Year 3 participants. Several of the tech directors had iPads with them and were using them to take notes during the meeting. The conversation about the iPad ranged from thoughts that its a useless gizmo, to a notion that its a tool perfectly suited to the needs of a visual art or music educator.
While there was no consensus on what the iPad will ultimately provide us, in terms of an innovative tech tool/toy, the tech directors seemed interested in keeping an eye on our blog and NING. They seemed to comprehend that the 66 distinct people we’ve worked with in the past three years have become more fluent in the integration of technology into educational settings – not through direct instruction, but through supported inquiry. They also seemed to recognize that our art, music and theatre teachers are able to innovate with all sorts of new technologies – working independently to discover the use of tools, versus needing direct training or tech support. I am hopeful that one of the lasting impacts of the Arts Educator 2.0 project will be that our arts educators will become a key player in the deployment of new technologies in their districts – offering to be guinea pigs, to share their innovative ideas, to lead and support the colleagues around them.
One of the most hopeful questions I fielded yesterday was, “Do you know of a good place to get grant monies to put interactive whiteboards in to our art and music classrooms? Those folks always seem to get left out when we implement technologies.” (I mentioned DonorsChoose, Best Buy Teach grants, and the local STEAM grant opportunites.) It appears that even the tech directors are seeing how important it is to infuse technology into arts education. Hooray ArtsEducator 2.0 – hooray to all who have worked so diligently to make the connections between the various levels in the schools and districts disappear.