Technology Teacher you say? Well sort of. Last year’s Teacher Journal Reflection for Year Six I wrote about being at a crossroads for job positions. I didn’t get the Technology Coordinator job, and was full of mixed emotions after the news. On the bright side, I did become the technology driven Media Arts teacher. I have the only middle school class in the county where students make art on an iPad in our Arts Magnet school. On top of the new class, I also accomplished:
Technology achievements (listing them now to compare next year)
- Technology Curriculum created and implemented to three grade levels
- Presented first Instructional Technology Conference SC Edtech ’12 (p. 57)
- Accepted to present at National Technology Conference, ISTE ’13
- Art Tech Teacher YouTube Channel 649 videos, 111 Subscribers & 71,034 views
- Grew my Instructional Technology PLN @ArtsEdTech on Twitter 842 Followers
- Technology carries on with 284 posts and 745 lifetime views in the my blog
- 255 Likes on my Middle School Class’ Facebook Fan Page
- My Teacher Klout score is 62, can only go back three months when it was 48
- My 150 articles on Yahoo! Voices have received 358,161 views
Technology promotes student work and writing due to SEO
Over the summer, I enrolled in these “courses” for Yahoo! Voices. They were quite the eye opener on how I should write. I feel my writing became formulaic, but surprised with the money I started to make. I learned the value of back linking and keyword research in technology. I received Hot 500 Writer in August, September and October. I also got Hot 100 in November and April. Probably my biggest achievement was Top 1000 Contributor Award of 2012. All of which helped me in deciding how to share the instructional technology work of my students.
Teacher Connecting with Social Media
Teacher reflection is something I do every June. I review my goals, such as to touch as many lives as possible. I have used social media to show the instructional technology work of my students and my technology findings. I also used my writing to link to my videos and vice versa. But really capitalizing on social media was buying my own self hosted blog; The Art Tech Teacher now combines all of my technology skills.
Middle School not limited to four walls: Sharing and Networking
My middle school class wasn’t limited by the room from which it was taught. Through my Twitter account, I shared work with other teachers and vice versa. My Professional Learning Network asked me to share with others. I was asked to become a guest blogger about Minecraft and Class Dojo. I was also praised by the owners of other instructional technology tools such as a Toontastic, or GlogsterEDU and they even nominated me for top classroom blog.
School Teacher says “Farewell to Art”
Another school teacher got hired to teach art when we became an Arts Magnet middle school. I became the Art Honors school teacher, and the rest of my classes would be Media Arts. Meredith ended up doing some amazing art for our school, especially with an impressive teacher background. With a sad and heavy heart, I knew that she was a far better art teacher than me. It was a disservice to my Honor students that they weren’t with her. The Honors students and I had a pizza party on our last day. In the Spring Semester, they went to Meredith and I was able to focus on six classes of Media Arts.
Instructional Technology in Media Arts: The Pros and Cons
Instructional Technology has helped me a lot this year. Whether “Programming on an iPad with Hopscotch,” “Creating Digital Paintings with DrawCast,” or “Managing Unwanted Behaviors with Class Dojo,” I also had to promote my class. It was frustrating that some kids just wanted to come in and play. Hopefully, next year, they will see the work that must be put into it. The difficult thing at the start of the year was having an “IPad class” with no iPads. They didn’t arrive for the first nine weeks due to a back order of the covers. It is also AMAZING to see that not all students can watch a video tutorial. Instead I consistently award persistence and collaboration
Middle School Gamification
Perhaps I am to blame. My wife points out how I promote my class with Minecraft. Yes, I got Minecraft on the iPads because I kept hearing how much the kids loved it. I saw how ANY student could pick it up and loved the creativity. They helped me develop a Flipped classroom on it. They also made their own video games with Gamestar Mechanic, Sploder and hopefully paved the way for programming projects. I was also fortunate enough to receive some art funds to buy an Xbox Kinect and create middle school projects using the Xbox Kinect.
Technology Fair and Robotics
I hosted a Technology Fair as my major student exhibition this year. In previous years, I had two field trips and some form of an art show. But this year, my field trip turned into an overnight stay for a Robotics competition in Florence where we placed in a regional qualifier in Columbia. Those Robotics kids and our BWMS Tech Fair winners represented us at the HCS Technology Fair ’13, where our school received more awards than any other middle school in the county. Amongst those were Best in Show for Middle School level and second place Teacher Category. Phil Reeser and I co-created The Black Water Middle Mobile App and work with coding but lost to a grade book project.
Middle School Principal Farewell and End of Year Woes
My Principal retired this year, the lady who gave me my first position. Who constantly gave me the praise to do my best – was now gone. Our school became such a family over the years. It was so sad to see someone of motherly quality leaving. Perhaps it is for the best. The emotional time continued when my eighth graders graduated. It hit me with the empty nest syndrome that I normally get in my Teacher posts. But what was a big eye opener was how my wife noted how I changed this year. I wasn’t staying very late, my discipline cut down dramatically, but she also noted some excitement was gone too. Perhaps I was spreading myself too thin with technology duties. Perhaps with my new program, I will continue to nourish it and weed it like a garden until it produces the fruits of technology that desire – not a babysitting class. But a class where they have to use creative problem solving to produce amazing pieces of Digital Art.
Personal Final Thoughts
This year I presented at my first statewide Technology Conference in Greenville. But did you know there is a Greenville, NC AND SC? I didn’t until I did about an hour detour and JUST made it to the start of the conference. At the end, I rushed home and saw my wife napping. She pulled out a little baby bib that said, “Mommy loves me.” With many kisses on her face and holding her so tight, I was so excited that I was going to be a father. Little Michael James should be here by the end of June, and we have been doing a lot of things in preparation for his arrival. I do not know if I will have the time to do all that I do now with technology once I become a parent. I know my baby will come first and that work is just work. SO I got to ask: If you are a school teacher, how do you balance the load of middle school and family?
Technology – The Art Tech Teacher blog; the ultimate resource for making art with technology
Teacher – All of my previous Teacher Reflection posts
Middle School – PBS’ It’s My Life ‘Middle School: Movin on Up’
School Teacher – US News lists it as one of the Best Social Services jobs
Instructional Technology – The NETS standards on ISTE for Teachers, Students and more