There are a lot of good things about learning and teaching in the age of technology. We have more options for tools than ever — including a plethora of digital devices, programs and apps, websites and other resources — that enable both students and teachers to do things they have never been able to do before. Of course, this brave new world has also ushered in new challenges that previous generations never even imagined. Students need to learn how to effectively and appropriately use these digital tools, and it is the teacher's job to model what that looks like.
Modeling should be woven into our teaching as a general best practice. For example, modeling good digital citizenship is something teachers should be conscious of at all times. Students are watching to see how their teachers cite the work of others in presentations and how they interacts with others on the web.
Students are also looking for modeling of specific skills. If you wanted to know how to do something important, such as set your house alarm, you would probably want someone to show you what that looks like. Millions of students have discovered that video tutorials and screencasts on websites such as YouTube and Khan Academy give them an invaluable teaching tool: Watching others model how to complete tasks, such as drawing a self-portrait, solving a math problem or conducting a scientific experiment. These short clips can be especially helpful for homework help when the teacher is not available.
Standard 3 of the ISTE Standards for Teachers asks educators to model digital age work and learning for their students. What does this standard look like in practice? Take a look at the activities in the table below. In a grade 9-12 art class, teachers need to consider how to model for students the act of making artistic choices related to techniques, styles and production using the elements and principles of art and design. The main objective of all three activities is helping students recognize and create layering and overlay in their artwork. However, only Activity 3 aligns with Standard 3.
Standard 3: Model digital age work and learning. Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.
Activity 1: The teacher begins the lesson by conducting a poster presentation showing how Robert Rauschenberg used mixed media to create layered imagery and verbally describing how he did this. The teacher models how to use layering skills with tracing paper and a pencil. The teacher then gives the students photographs and asks them to use paper and pencils to practice layering. Finally, the students hang their artworks on the classroom walls for peer evaluation.
Activity 2: The teacher begins the lesson by conducting a digital presentation on Robert Rauschenberg that shows how this artist used media to create layered imagery. Next, the teacher models a web search to select an image, then demonstrates how to use paper and pencil to practice layering and overlay. Students conduct their own web searches for images, then use paper and pencil to create a series of layered images. Finally, the students hang their artworks on the classroom walls for peer evaluation.
Activity 3: The teacher begins the lesson by conducting a digital presentation on Robert Rauschenberg that shows how this artist used media to create layered imagery. Next, the teacher models a web search to select an image, then demonstrates how to use a digital drawing program to practice layering and overlay. Students conduct their own web searches to select a series of images, then use the digital tool to create one image from the series of layered images. Finally, the students post their image to a web-based collaborative program, Edmodo, for peer evaluation.
a. Demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations.
Absent: No technology is used.
Partially addresses: The teacher provides examples of digital artwork and how to replicate it using another digital drawing tool. However, he does not demonstrate how to use the digital drawing program to create these images.
Addresses: The teacher provides examples of digital artwork and how that can be replicated using another digital drawing tool.
b. Collaborate with students, peers, parents and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation.
Absent: No digital tools are used, and collaboration is reduced due to time restraints and a lack of digital connectivity.
Absent: The teacher used technology initially to present work but then does not model the use of technology to replicate that skill. The students are not allowed to use technology to create the images.
Addresses: The students use a web-based collaborative program for peer sharing and critiquing.
c. Communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, parents and peers using a variety of digital age media and formats.
Absent: No digital tools are used.
Addresses: The teacher uses digital technology to communicate information to students about the artist.
Addresses: Both the teacher and the students use digital tools to communicate and share.
d. Model and facilitate effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate and use information resources to support research and learning.
Absent: No digital tools are used. Students do not how learn to select an image because the teacher provides one for them.
Addresses: The teacher models web searching skills.
Addresses: The teacher models appropriate web searching skills and proper use of copyrighted imagery/information.
Activity 1 does not correspond with any of the indicators for Standard 3. The teacher uses no digital technologies. Although it is possible to replicate the skill of overlay with traditional materials, such as tracing paper to see through to the picture underneath, digital art programs are far more effective at demonstrating how students can accomplish this using the technologies they may encounter in their careers and lives. The teacher can also model how artists and other professionals use this skill to gain a high-quality final image. In this activity, students do have the opportunity for peer review when they post their images on the walls of the classroom, but they can receive feedback only verbally, which can be time consuming and intimidating for some students.
In Activity 2, the teacher does use some digital technologies. He starts the lesson by giving the students a digital presentation of artwork from Robert Rauschenberg. The focus is on how this artist used media to create layered imagery. The teacher can use digital tools to zoom in on various parts of the image to give the class a good view of the artwork. Next, the teacher goes on to model a good digital citizenship while searching the internet for appropriate images. The rest of the lesson, however, does not align with the standard. The teacher does not model how to create the layered image using a digital tool, and the peer review is again conducted by hanging posters on the walls of the classroom.
The teacher in Activity 3 addresses all the indicators of the standard. He begins with a digital presentation and demonstrates an effective and appropriately cited internet search. He then models how to create layered images using overlays in a digital art program. The students get to conduct their own internet searches to select images and cite sources. They then use the digital program to create their own images. Finally, they post their digital works of art to a web-based collaborative program, such as Edmodo, that allows other students peer review their work and offer written feedback.
Jared Boone and Julie Mallinson assisted with this article. Boone works as a visual arts teacher at Salem High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Mallinson is a teacher of art and textiles at Helsby High School in Cheshire, England.
Helen Crompton is an assistant professor of instructional technology at Old Dominion University, Virginia. She is a researcher and educator in the field of instructional technology. She earned her Ph.D. in educational technology and mathematics education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.