Technology provides the world with a set of powerful tools for thinking, working, and communicating. Synthesizers, drum machines, electronic instruments, and a range of recording and editing equipment can be used to compose everything from popular dance music to esoteric sound art. Technology is not the heart of fine arts education, nor are these ideas on using technology to teach the fine arts intended to direct learning. However, new technologies can support learning of the TEKS, as well as offering students the opportunity to learn new technological tools.
The introduction of technology into the classroom must be well planned, organized, and carried out comprehensively. If you are uncertain about what technology is available in your school or district, ask the school administration about your options. If technology is not an emphasis in your school or district, consider developing and implementing a new technology plan with administrators, specialists, and faculty.
The following ideas are for teachers in the process of implementing technology in fine arts programs. These thoughts and strategies are not exhaustive; they are intended to incite ideas for using technology in the fine arts.
Technology supports traditional learning goals by:
- Offering additional means for teachers to accommodate different learning styles and paces. For example, interactive technology enables students to learn at their own pace, making decisions about what and how they learn.
- Motivating students to learn in new ways. The excitement of exploring the Internet can spark new interest in learning.
- Encouraging students' self-direction. Students can make the choices of what and how to research online, how to use technology, and how to plan and create online journals.
- Giving special-needs students more opportunities to collaborate with peers. Internet and interactive technologies can be a rich source of peer coaching and cooperation among students. Learners take on different tasks in working towards common research, production, or presentation goals.
Technology provides new learning tools in the fine arts:
- Providing students with valuable, new creative tools.
- Offering students efficient, exploratory ways to research fine arts topics and themes with the Internet's network of library catalogs, campus information systems, directories, databases, archives, and other interactive media technology.
- Enabling students to communicate with artists, teachers, and students around the world in online discussion groups, Listservs, bulletin boards, and e-mail.
- Allowing students to document and assess their learning in a new way. Students can keep computer journals and create/save digital works.
Steps for Integrating Technology into Fine Arts Education
Schools must develop comprehensive plans for integrating technology into their curricula. An effective plan is based on the shared vision of teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and technology experts. Technology should strengthen a district's curricula, provide new strategies for teaching the TEKS, and engage students in meaningful learning.
When a technology plan is in place, teachers might consider the following strategies for making the most of these learning tools. If a plan is not yet in place, many of these strategies can prepare teachers and students for future use of technology.
- Create an atmosphere that emphasizes collaboration.
- Develop activities that incorporate challenging, authentic tasks with technological tools to increase the value of the learning experience. The TEKS should be the primary goal; incorporation of technology should be secondary.
- Collaborate with other fine arts teachers; work in teams to design and implement technology-supported projects.
- Join students in exploring new technology that expands learning. Modeling technology use is a good way to show students positive ways to approach new learning challenges.
- Design activities so that every student has something to offer. Draw from your knowledge base of students' strengths and needs to foster success and to bolster specific areas of learning.
- Develop assessment procedures to monitor and document each student's progress.