Digital Media Final Project: Tah-da! a GLOG!


or click to here:


I set out to make a tool that teaches Middle School Art educators how to teach the unit I created for 7th grade. I wanted an online multimedia tool that not only gave my audience instruction but also examples of real studio work. I have found in my own teaching that having examples is helpful in envisioning the final project outcome, so I wanted to do the same with my tool. I also wanted to tool to be engaging and exciting in order to encourage more educators to use it. So often we are pulling up the same boring Lesson Plan formats, and I wanted something with a bit more depth and visual appeal to an art educator. The tool also may be presented to the classroom as an introduction to the lesson and for more in-depth examples if the teacher chooses, but it’s mainly a resource for them.

Being fairly naive when it comes to creating technology, I was looking for a way to create a website or webpage that wasn’t just another blog. I came across several options for teachers who want an online presence. Lots of free sites offer teachers the opportunity to create their own pages with the option to allow access to their students and even parents. I found to be the easiest to setup. I started a page for my student teaching experience and future classroom and uploaded lessons, photos, and files. The service also allows teachers to hold discussions online, report grades and private message with users. As always with freeware, there is limited service available for free, and much, much more for only $5.95 per month! Seeing as I don’t need full services yet, I’m just experimented with the free version. But the more I worked with it, the site just wasn’t the right forum to create a teaching tool for other teachers, a resource maybe, but not a tool. So I searched on.

In going over notes in my notebook one night I came across the word “GLOG” with a star next to it in the margins. A star always means “IMPORTANT, LOOK THIS UP!” in my notations, so I googled “glogs”. I came across and found it to be advertised as “a collaborative online learning platform for teachers, educators and schools.” This sounded more like the tool I was looking for. A Glog is described as an interactive poster which drew me in because I am very familiar with posters, having completed every project in grade school with the best, most beautiful and creative poster ever, every time. So this seemed like a technology I could get used to. Looking through the samples, I loved the endless possibilities in the visuals and that the arrangement of medias could take on many creative forms. Glogs can hold images, videos, audio, links and file attachments, animations, drawings, and a discussion wall, right on the page. Plus, alongside the free version available to anyone, they offer teachers a trial of the Premium platform free for 30 days! So I signed up and got to experimenting with the functionality and tools available.

This Glog format seemed to fit my purpose perfectly. I could outline my unit plan, class by class, and alongside provide multimedia tips, tricks and hints for my audience. I included links to helpful webpages with further info, video and audio of actual student work, as well as a link that directs the user to purchase the same equipment I use and recommend for the lesson.

My Glog details a 6-Class Unit on printmaking, specifically collagraphs, connecting in a modern artist for inspiration and further content knowledge. I provide the  image which can be clicked to enlarge for better viewing and close-up inspection. There is also a Materials Needed List including a QR code that can be scanned with a smartphone or tablet that links to a webpage where the user can instantly purchase the specific equipment listed. There is a video slideshow presentation of photos which visually takes the user through the hands-on process of the unit plan, starting with my demo pieces and ending with the students’ final matted drafts. Each lesson is written out with setup tips, demo instructions and discussion points. The Worksheets I mention in the lessons are attached at the bottom of the Glog where the user finds the small PaperClip icon. There are two links that highlight themselves on the Glog to let the user know about an embedded hyperlinks: one takes you to an in-depth presentation of the artist on a museum website, the other to a YouTube video advertising the documentary I suggest using alongside the Unit Plan. There are two audio files where the user can click the PLAY button and listen to real students reciting the poetry they created through this Unit Plan. And finally there is a box of “optional” tips to help the educator round out the experience for the students.

I really enjoyed getting to use the Glog format for my tool. Alongside learning this new technology, I also had to figure out how to format the multimedia links within to best fit the Glog. My slideshow of photos was originally going to be another Document Attachment, but I felt the slideshow was much more dynamic and covered more content than even a short video demo could provide. I created the slideshow in Keynote and played around with transition timing. I learned how to record my students using my iPhone microphone application, which was a great experience to learn, both for them and for me. The students practiced reciting out loud, then it took us a couple takes to get a clear, smooth recording. I was able to easily upload those files to my computer as Mp4 files and upload them to the Glog and create a “player” format for them to display. The QR code was a VERY recent introduction in our digital media class, and I loved the idea of incorporating that into my tool since they are seen everywhere these days and can be very functional.

I plan to use Glogs again in the future as I think I can find many applications for them. One thing I plan to figure out is how to link to other pages I can create, and the easiest solution I can find right now with my limited skill, is to create a blog post and then link directly to that blog post. I also plan to make them possibly more interactive to use with my students in the place of worksheets. With Teacher Premium Package, over 200 students can access your Glog which would be a great opportunity to integrate this digital media into the classroom. I also think it’s a great new way to replace boring presentation slideshows!

You can sign up to create your GLOG here —>



Lesson Plan with Online Partner

Please find Lesson Plan (partner: Jeff Herrity) along with a sample of our digital communication and my response to the experience, below:

Lesson Plan:

Photos of Student Work, using Photoshop (high school digital art)

Goal: To teach students the basic tasks within Photoshop in regards to photo post-production techniques- students will learn to make basic edits to the photos of their work.

Big Idea: Students will gain an understanding of why images of their work need to be as professional looking as possible in order to properly promote their work as artists and to use the images in portfolios.

Objectives/Outcomes: The Students will:

1. Understand basic mechanics of taking high quality digital photographs of 2D and 3D artwork

2. Learn how to transport digital photos from camera to computer

3. Identify basic tools within Photoshop program

4. Understand how to utilize key tools in Photoshop to apply edits to digital photos.

Teaching Procedure: (pre-work and previous lessons that we are building on: have students make work, and then have a unit where we teach them to shoot the work. They come to class with the images to use for Lesson)


Photo Selection: students will come to class with 50 images. Discuss what makes a good photo of work (lighting, angles, distance)

Based on criteria discussed, students spend 10 minutes selecting 5 images to tweak. Open images into photoshop (2 minutes). Basic tweaks, five minutes per image (exposure, cropping, clarity, noise, sharpness, contrast, how to save/apply same changes to all images). Save image (various formats for web and print).


More advanced image tweaks: masking, modifying specific areas of photograph (backgrounds/shadows), erase tool for skin imperfections, content aware fill, edit group shots to fix blinking

Assign out of class homework to turn in 5 edited images.


Our correspondence via email:

Jeffery Herrity
Dec 6 (13 days ago)
to me
hi virtual partner.did you have any ideas for what we are to do for our distance learning project?  I was thinking about a simple lesson with photoshop and how to make minor tweaks to images of student (or your own) work.

but it could also be something else, but I was trying to think of what we could do that could be done in a 45 minute class period for older students that are NOT photo students, but fine art students.

we could cover:

1. how to take good pictures (just lecture and bulet points)
2. take pictures of student work (they would have to come to class with an object they made.)
our examples would be pictures we have taken (at my studio at flux) a good one and the retouched one
3. download to computer
4. open photoshop or other photo software (perhaps talk about different options out there from the expensive to the freeware)
5. make simple tweaks
6. save the file in multiple formats
7. end.


Leah Carpenter
Dec 6 (13 days ago)
to Jeffery
I like where you are going with this…

but please note- I SUCK AT PHOTOSHOP. haha. my skills are limited to resizing and messing with colors. I can do a bit with the lasso tool… haha. so this may take some learning on my part too? But I’m totally willing to learn and work on it!
What if instead of taking pics of student work, we talked about how to take photos of students to utilize for various portraiture projects? just an idea. i feel like there are plenty of tools on Photoshop to mess with with a portraits that are useful for students/teachers
talk soon,
Leah Carpenter
Dec 14 (5 days ago)
to Jeffery
Ok so this lesson…So I don’t believe that we have to present in class, correct? Just write out a lesson plan to post to our blog. So why don’t we throw this back and forth add/make tweaks.

Lesson: Photos of Student Work with tips on Using Photoshop
Goal: ?
Big Idea: ?
       The Student Will:
        1. Understand basic mechanics of taking high quality digital photographs of 2D and 3D artwork
        2. Learn how to transport digital photos from camera to computer
        3.Identify basic tools within Photoshop program
        3. Understand how to utilize key tools in Photoshop to apply edits to digital photos
Teaching Procedure:
Class One: Set up back drop and lighting for taking photographs. Layout artwork. Show examples of successful photos and unsuccessful photos to point out what makes a great photo. Walk students through buttons and features on camera and allow them to practice a few shots. Then let them photograph the artwork, 3 angles, 9 photos total.
Class Two: Demo how to attach camera to computer (or insert Flash discs, depending on your model) and open up the folder containing photos. Move these files to a New Folder on Desktop and Name Folder. Have students look through photos to pick out the best 2 photos they took.
Class Three: Open up Photoshop Program and first give brief lecture on program and its uses. Show simple layout and common uses and tools that students will be focusing on. (pick out a limited number of tools that students will be able to use, in order to eliminate overwhelming amount of tools the program offers). Have students drag one photo into the Photoshop program. Walk them through applying tools they have as an option as an example
Class Four: allow students time to tweak photos. Save in multiple formats and print.
What do you think? Please add/subtract info and ideas. Just wanted to get this off the ground.
Talk soon! Hope you are having a great week!
Jeffery Herrity
Dec 14 (5 days ago)
to me
hey – this looks good, but I think we need to pare it down some…didn’t selila say that the ‘lesson’ should one lesson, this is more than one lesson… perhaps we really go minimal – let me think on this, but we have to trim it back a good bit…or am i misunderstanding what she wants? my lesson would look like:

(pre-work and previous lessons that we are building upon:   have students make work, and then have a unit where we teach them to shoot the work, they come to class with images to use)
1. Photo selection – students will come to class with, say 50 images
– discuss what makes a good photo of work (let’s use sculpture as an example)
– lighting, angles, distance
2. Based on criteria above, students spend 10 minutes selecting five images to tweak
3. Open images into photoshop (2 minutes)
4. Basic tweaks (five minutes per image) (25 minutes)
– exposure
– cropping
– clarity (noise, sharpness, contrast)
– how to save or apply same changes to all images
5. Saving image
– what formats to save them in
– print
– web
6. Prep for next lesson, more advanced image tweaks
– masking
– edit image more drastically
7. Homework assigning…

My Response to the Experience:

I have a crazy schedule between normal grad classes, student teaching 3 days a week, plus working at a restaurant on the weekend, so group projects always give me a headache because scheduling  a time when everyone is available is nearly impossible. So being able to completely handle this online was very helpful. We were tempted to get together in person to work on the project since we have classes together and live nearby each other, but we kept it strictly to email correspondence. I think we could’ve utilized a few more things to make it even easier, especially if the project had been more involved, like Skype or Google Docs. I think that this type of collaborative group work would take some getting used to. I felt that both Jeff and I were a bit hesitant to completely do this all online and maybe felt the need to work on it with each other in the way that we are used to, with writing things down and giving/getting that instant feedback that you have face to face. Currently in my student teaching experience, my mentor teacher and I correspond via email about a lot of what we do and have planned for the classes we teach. We just simply don’t have the planning time to go over it together in person, so there is a lot of catching up with each other, assigning tasks, and sharing ideas over emails. We plan to do that a lot over winter break as well so that we can transition as smoothly into the next semester as possible. So I guess this digital correspondence has real-world uses and possibilities for those who need to collaborate but have a tight schedule. This could also be a huge help to those who are not geographically near each other.

Face-to-Face vs Online learning

I’ve only taken an online course once, and it was in my undergraduate studies, a requird class that was meant to introduce freshman students into campus and college academic life, and mostly considered to be a joke by most students. Needless to say, I didn’t give the class much priority and often forgot about assignments/tests/quizzes until about 15 minutes before their due date. Once or twice, I may have forgotten completely about an assignment! So even though the class was not difficult in content, my grade reflected a student that struggled.

I blame the online format and the lack of routine. I  know that I am a person who needs that classtime, I need the meetings to keep me on track and focused on the class. So I can’t imagine being successful in an online degree program. Even just last week, I stated in my class that I felt it was unfair that they offer my same masters degree at other universities as a completely online degree program. I feel almost offended that someone would think that they could learn as much and be as successful as I would be with  just an education through a computer.

But my teacher really challenged me to think about my feelings and re-think what the possibilities of an online course or degree could encompass. So I’ve been trying to take another look at online learning to see if I might come around to seeing the value or if my original thought would be confirmed- that online learning is inferior learning.

First off, I recognize that just by utilizing the internet daily- I do already learn online. I search for answers and information all the time for both personal use and academic use. So right away I can acknowledge that our generation is spending a lot of time online, on the computer, so it is a very comfortable and convenient venue for a lot of people today.

I found a report of research from the Department of Education which conducted research on the possible benefits or downfalls of online education for students, including the age group of K-12. I am surprised to see research for this age group, because I mostly think of online education geared towards college and beyond, maybe even some high school level classes. The report ultimately says that a blend of face-to-face and online education is the best learning scenario for those they studied. But more surprising I found that there are entirely virtual high schools! Florida has a the Florida Virtual School which serviced over 60,000 students between the 2007-2008 school year!  I personally, just can’t imagine having had my high school years spent online, but then again I realize that I’m taking only my personal experience into account.

I have to think about those who have lives different than my own. For those who have learning differences, or physical disabilities, online learning may be the easiest option for them. Bottom line most positive argument for online education is the availability of content anywhere, anytime. So for those who have inflexible schedules or attention spans, online content has got to be a great alternative for them.

But the human connection is what is lost for me. The availability of immediate call and response, the heated discussion or the burning question answered. Those in-person reflexes are what makes a classroom lively and stimulates thought and discussion. I find those moments valuable to both the learner, the teacher and the rest of the classroom as well. Body language, eye contact, and even talking with your hands are these great interactive human languages we speak with one another.

So in conclusion, I can see that complete online learning may be beneficial to those who otherwise can’t work out a situation to be in a physical, brick-and-mortor classroom, and I can also say that I think it is helpful blended with a face-to-face class. But I can’t yet say that I believe a total online education would top an in-person program.


US Dept of Education Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learrning: A Meta Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. 

A Day for Digital

So, I just came across news about Digital Learning Day from the Arts Education Partnership Newsletter. Looks like a great idea to help spread awareness of the possibilities of using digital technology in the classroom and to encourage educators to branch out of their comfort zone and make some digital advances in their own classrooms.

From the Website:

“This day will challenge education professionals and policymakers at all levels to start a conversation, make a proclamation, improve a lesson, or create a plan. There will be customized toolkits for all audiences, grades, and subjects to help you think about how you can contribute to the campaign and start the wave of innovation in your hometown.”

-Bob Wise

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a national organization based in Washington, DC and led by President Bob Wise, former governor of West Virginia. Recently, the Alliance announced the creation of the Center for Secondary School Digital Learning and Policy to cultivate models, highlight promising practices, and develop policies to address the effective use of technology in America’s schools.

The Digital Learning Day campaign is the flagship project of the Center and will highlight a broad array of instructional strategies and approaches that use technology, including blended and online learning, formative assessment for personalized instruction, school improvement data, relevant and consistent continuing education for teachers, promotion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and innovation, as well as broadband access for all.

Podcasting for Educators- we CAN do it!

“It’s not about the technology, it’s about the experience of working with information, and then sharing that information with others” As a person slightly intimidated by the content of this class and the technology, I love this quote as a way of thinking of podcasting. Podcasting was nearly the only term on the signup sheet … Continue reading

how would I teach Photoshop??

In class, we have been introduced to Photoshop by way of demo and then practice on our own. Being a person brand new to Photoshop, I am trying to soak in as much as possible. I am finding that by being a newbie to the program, I am able to learn as my students may learn. This way I can have a very personal experience from a student perspective in order to help shape my future teaching habits and lesson plans for programs such as Photoshop. And it is my goal of this school year to learn Photoshop.

*I would also like to note, that at this same time, I am taking a Digital Screenprinting class where we utilize Photoshop to make slides for printing. This class teaches us Photoshop for very specific purposes for the specific art we are making and is not meant to be a general introduction to the program of Photoshop. HOWEVER, my teacher is wonderful and understands my intimidation with the program and is therefore very patient with me and has vowed to help me learn in and outs of Photoshop above and beyond what we are using it for in the classroom.

I am personally a BIG notetaker. I find that runs a bit counter-intuitive to working with a computer. But for me, I find it helpful to write down notes and step-by-step directions and hints to have alongside my computer keyboard for referral. Last week’s class gave us the opportunity to play around with some of the basics of Photoshop- using the brushes to create images. Below are my first two creations.

1st Photoshop image

I feel fairly happy with what I created, although I feel there is a sense of hesitation in the work, most likely due to my own fear of the program itself. I found my biggest challenge was actually not utilizing the HISTORY screen to go backwards and instead kept pressing COMMAND + Z to “undo”. I found that this only worked for one action, and then remembered that Photoshop runs by that HISTORY screen. I found the brushes fairly easy to use, but I cannot believe how many specifications you can mess with to get an exact mark or stroke.

I think that when I do go to teach Photoshop, I won’t need to be a complete expert and know every nook and cranny of the program. Because it is so extensive and because there are a million possibilities I think part of the purpose of students learning about the program is to feel free with it to explore the extent of its capabilities and how they can best utilize all of its properties for their own purposes. I think teaching basics and then allowing students to make their own discoveries is best. Teaching too much might make them feel like they can only stick to what they’ve learned and they won’t feel led to explore outside of what is taught. But teach too little and they will feel overwhelmed by the program and that it can’t help them.

But…how do you know when you’re teaching too much and too little? I think so much of it has to do with your audience. For example, in our Digital Media class, there are a couple others like me with no experience, there are others with some experience, and there are others who are pros at the program and were completely bored and almost insulted with the instruction to “play with the brushes in the program”.

As a teacher, you will rarely have classes where skill and competence levels are all equal. Part of the challenge of teaching is working to accommodate diverse learners. Knowing your classroom has got to be your first task. Surveying your learners to find what they do and don’t know and to get an idea of what they’d like to know at the end of the lesson.

My strategy for teaching a diverse audience is similar to a workout class where the instructor may give you the basic step and then also a more advanced version for those who are ready for that information. In this way I could not only reach both the beginners and more advanced on their own levels, but this might both inspire the beginners with the possibilities in the future and act as a reminder to the more advanced students of the “back-to-the-basics” approach that may clear up bad habits they may have formed.

After I would get to know my audience I want to make sure that I am teaching the technology in a way that is dynamic and interactive in order to keep attention of all learners and to work for auditory, visual and tactile learners. I would make sure that I am clearly narrating my steps, careful to leave out any jargon. And giving clear visuals on a screen that is accessible to the learners and being careful to not move my mouse to quickly over the screen. In class, our teacher has noted that it is a good idea to teach everything via longhand as opposed to teaching with Shortcuts. I agree. I think this helps most students to learn where, how and why something happens on their screen. Also, I do think having lots of hands-on time is important because lots of learning with technology is the process of trial and error and discovery of manipulation.
For me personally, when trying to soak up something new, I do turn to instructions via YouTube videos often. Here I have learned how to fold a fitted sheet, french braid my hair, and most recently, how to create a podcast. Below are some resources I have found to help out with learning Photoshop.

Adobe’s website:

Adobe’s YouTube channel:

My Favorite, “You’re Adobe, Not a Dummy!”:

Challenging Copyright


Napster is now a Best Buy company offering music downloads for paid subscribers. You can listen to full songs without having to download them. You can access your music on your devices, and you can have access to the largest music streaming catalog available. Starting at only $4.17/month, the music you crave is at your fingertips.


Napster, started by a college drop-out, is a peer-to-peer file sharing network filled with rare, live, album, and unreleased music that is free to users willing to wait out the downloads on their dial-up networks. You can burn the mp3 files to blank compact discs that you can carry around in your DiscMan.

The Napster Story

As Shawn Fanning was bored with college, he began programming for Napster, a service he wanted to create to make it easier to find music mp3’s online rather than using the search engines of those times. When Shawn unleashed the service in June 1999 to a couple of chatroom friends who couldn’t keep a secret, 3-4 thousand users downloaded the program and it was clear that this could have big business potential. Funded and encouraged by his uncle John Fanning, they pressed forward with Napster and it quickly became a profitable success. John does claim to have investigated possible future legal issues with copyright laws and intended the company to follow all laws. Those involved felt that Napster was protected under fair use laws, the same that allow a person to tape record a song for another person. Napster didn’t host the files, it merely offered the network where peers could trade with each other. They did not monitor or have control to the content that was traded and they had hopes that the service would bring attention to many unsigned bands and even warned users not to infringe on copyrighted works.

The record industry felt differently. And although executives at Napster felt sure they would be able to strike a deal with the record industry, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued Napster in December 1999. The RIAA feared that Napster was creating a black market for illegal copies of digital music. They argued that this could, and already had affected hardcopy album sales in stores. Meanwhile, Napster moved their headquarters to Silicon Valley and searched for months for a venture capitalist to back the company.  They were having a hard time finding anyone willing to back the company since it was hard for anyone to see how they could face and win their impending legal battles. To make it even worse, the band Metallica sued Napster for copyright infringement in April 2000 after tracks from their unreleased album leaked out onto Napster months before the album was to be released. But they still pushed on, hiring new executives who were capable of bringing the startup into a real money-making business model and of negotiating with the record companies. The creators, the technology and the audience was there, ready to make Napster a success. But the licensing issues were holding the entire force back. They needed to find a way that the artists and the labels received royalties for the downloaded music.The court date came in July, nearly a year after the service took off, and the judge took only 2 hours to decide that the RIAA was in the right and that Napster had to shut off all access to its music service by midnight that Friday. Devastated, the Napster team felt they had to regroup and find a new way to legally bring music to people.

My Opinion

And now here in 2011, you have Napster, owned by Best Buy still offering convenient music for consumers, but this time, for a small price. I think part of the problem of Napster was the freedom users had mixed with the users’ ignorance of copyright laws. At the time I personally was using Napster, I did not know about or understand those laws. Since the service was available, I used it and figured it must be O.K. to do. And it has never seemed to me that Napster set out to kick the music business in the crotch with it’s free service. I believe that Shawn’s intention was to create a community of music and he never intended to hurt artists, but rather help them and their listeners. I think Napster brought to the forefront, in a clumsy way, the obvious need for the music industry to stay ahead of technology and to protect itself. Music naturally lends itself to grassroots movements, and Napster was perfect in that respect. Compact Discs weren’t cutting it for consumers who had access to the internet and were becoming accustomed to having access to what they wanted at the very moment they wanted it, and so Napster came in and filled that void. I know I still have CD’s lying around filled with tracks that I had downloaded through Napster’s original service. The experience with Napster sure primed me for iTunes music downloading service, as I now have spent hundreds on the pay-per-song service. I love being able to have access to music instantly, even on my smartphone, and I thank Napster for blazing the rocky trail.


who owns what?

When I think of copyright laws, I first think of my early experiences with Napster. The program became available and I thought it was the best thing in the world- spending long long hours downloading songs. I never even had a thought that it would be considered “stealing” from the artists. I downloaded singles, albums, but mostly a lot of unreleased, live and demo songs from my favorite artists. And now, looking back, I guess my “payment” for this music was the countless hours I spent in front of my computer working my download “queue” and networking with other sharers.

This was in high school, around 2000-1, and then more attention was paid to Napster, by Metallica and other artists who were upset that their songs leaked onto Napster before they were actually released. And then we started hearing all about copyright infringement and I learned it was no longer safe to use Napster. As I entered college, I became more fascinated with the laws and sided with the music artists and took a stand against illegal downloading of music. I even gave a persuasive speech in speech class about it. Since then, I do believe that I’ve file-shared a bit between family and friends, but I’ve also spent HUNDREDS to have my music legally available through iTunes.

But what does this mean for me in the classroom? And, since my experience was with music- how do I apply it to images? Have I ever considered image use in classes I’ve been in?

So of course, I wanted to start my thoughts on digital copyright laws with a clear definition:

Definition of Copyright:
“The legal right granted to an author, a composer, a playwright, a publisher, or a distributor to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work.” 

But I love this layman’s definition even better:

“This means that you can get in just as much trouble for stealing someone’s song as you can for stealing her purse.”

Now as a teacher-artist, I immediately think of Google Images and how often I run to that to pull images from. Do I have the right to even do that? Most of the time I’m not paying attention to WHERE the image is coming from or WHO, but I just need that image right then and there. I know that when I worked in newspaper advertising, we used a paid stock image service with thousands of photos and images that we could use in our ads or in illustrating stories. But outside of that, I pull images for art projects, presentations, even posters. And I might have used some of these pulled images in the classroom….uh oh.

Ok, so I found a great website that seems to put this all into plain english, PLUS it is geared towards educators! (yay!)  (haha, i figured out how to make sure that opens for you in a new window!)

Reading up, I had no idea that ideas and creations were “automatically” copyrighted! Under our Constitution, any original, creative work is copyrighted. This site even says that since 1989, the copyright symbol and the phrase “all rights reserved” aren’t even necessary anymore! But, as teachers, we are mostly protected in presenting images/music/movies to our classrooms under the Fair Use rule.

After learning that most young people today are using YouTube over Google for basic search, I sought info on Fair Use/Copyright on YouTube. Most helpful, I found this vide0: The description of Fair Use is helpful, and the quick and dirty, helped to clarify the issue overall for me.

But more specifically, this video is a guy who is actually in a technology for education class (like us!) and is using some “high-tech” gimmicks in his presentation here. He recommends this website that even has an easy-to-use handout that teachers can print! And then as I’m digging, I realize that this guy has his own blog! and BINGO! I’ve found some super relevant info on copyright and education!

But overall I have learned that as educators, we have some freedoms under the Fair Use rule. And here are the rules:

Fair Use and Teachers

Fair use explicitly allows use of copyrighted materials for educational purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Rather than listing exact limits of fair use, copyright law provides four standards for determination of the fair use exemption:

  1. Purpose of use: Copying and using selected parts of copyrighted works for specific educational purposes qualifies as fair use, especially if the copies are made spontaneously, are used temporarily, and are not part of an anthology.
  2. Nature of the work: For copying paragraphs from a copyrighted source, fair use easily applies. For copying a chapter, fair use may be questionable.
  3. Proportion/extent of the material used: Duplicating excerpts that are short in relation to the entire copyrighted work or segments that do not reflect the “essence” of the work is usually considered fair use.
  4. The effect on marketability: If there will be no reduction in sales because of copying or distribution, the fair use exemption is likely to apply. This is the most important of the four tests for fair use.
I think teachers mostly need to be careful about the worksheets they use. It’s got to be so easy to just make copies, pass them along and before you know it, you passing out most of the book for 6 years. In the past, when I have taught (guitar, piano) lessons, I have built my own worksheets. I usually do this so that they can be exactly what I need at the time. If I can keep this up, it will be an easy way to avoid the copyright problems with published workbooks. And I think that showing film might also be easily problematic for a teacher. Even though you may not be showing the movie to the entire school at one time, you may be showing class by class to the entire school, and that may be problematic with the law.
In the end, as teachers, we should be very aware of the materials they use in the classroom. And I think it is important to relate that to the students as well so that they can learn the copyright laws. So, maybe when you are passing out copied materials, remind the students of why you made this copy and how it is OK that you do so in this case. This will also help to keep you accountable as a teacher.

Educators and Participatory Culture

When reading this article, I first had to define for myself, participatory culture, as I felt unfamiliar with the term. The definition I paraphrased for myself became: people connecting with one another and engaging with one another which creates a space where individual contributions matter.

The article stresses the need for Educators to take a role and responsibility in leading their students into a successful participatory culture that is the digital world. Jenkins stresses that Educators are the ones who can help children best navigate this space because of both the participation gap and the transparency problem. (defined below)

The Participation Gap — the unequal access to the opportunities, experiences, skills, and knowledge that will prepare youth for full participation in the world of tomorrow.

The Transparency Problem — The challenges young people face in learning to see clearly the ways that media shape perceptions of the world.

I took away some notes on the goals of media education that I liked. I like to keep quotes handy in order to remind myself of my intentions as a teacher. “The goal of media education: to encourage young people to become more reflective about ethical choices they make as participants and communicators and the impact they have on others.” I like this goal because it goes deeper than the goal I would’ve given at the start of this class before reading the articles so far and having the discussions we have had in class. Before, I wouldn’t have thought about the reflection aspect or even the responsibility factor. I thought it was all about teaching technical skills. But this goal really brings digital media back around to the fact that it is within this participatory culture that we are leading students.

Of course, I can’t help but to reflect on my own educational background. We took computer classes in order to learn how to save files and write word documents. We dabbled in internet search in a few of my high school classes, but ideas such as networking and social and ethical topics in digital were not included in the lessons. Those are the kinds of things we had to find out for ourselves through exploring the internet in our free time at home. I started blogging while in high school using a site called Xanga, although we didn’t call it “blogging” yet. I believe it was just referred to as online journaling. The group of friends and I that used Xanga had many experiences, trial and error, in learning about ethical issues of posting- public pictures, or using someone’s name, or making negative comments. There was some drama between friendships and even backlash from “anonymous” posters. But this was all something we learned for ourselves. Another form of digital expression that we learned through was Instant Messaging. The Away Message feature is much like today’s Facebook Status and there was usually a lot of weight behind posted away messages and I learned once again not to be defamatory or to give too much information.

But fast forward to today, and Jenkins says that literacy today goes beyond the print, and it includes digital social skills, collaboration and networking. These are now considered important skills that children need to learn at an early age. While I agree that I think it would be fantastic to teach kids such skills, from what I know about our education systems, I just don’t see it integrating soon or easily into current curriculums and with current teachers. With pressures brought on teachers from testing, standards, parents and administrations, it is barely all they can do to keep up with what “needs” to be taught. Jenkins does acknowledge that digital would be easiest to teach through integration rather than as a new subject, however I believe it becomes more complicated than that when it actually comes to carrying this out in the classroom. As we discussed in one of our first classes, our wave of teachers will be the first to be truly digital, having “grown up” with computers and the internet. So, I do think this will help to bring digital into the classroom. I think it may be integrated easiest by organically coming from this new generation of teachers. Digital communication and ethics is difficult to learn coming from a teacher who isn’t savvy and might think a “Facebook poke” necessitates a trip to the principal’s office. So I think we will continue to see progress being made more organically as new generations of tech-savvy teachers arise. I liked the example of integrating multiple technologies into a project as suggested in this article. It seemed like a great example of integration and for encouraging children to use the variety of media in compelling ways:

An exercise developed by MIT’s New Media Literacies (Jenkins, 2006b) asks students to tell the same story across a range of different media. For example, they script dialogue using instant messenger; they storyboard using Powerpoint and images appropriated from the Internet; they might later reenact their story and record it using a camera or video

This also raises questions in my head about parent involvement (which is always an issue in education). Can we educate parents to be influential in this digital move? I think this comes back around to the participation gap- do all parents have a computer at home that they know how to use effectively? do homes have internet access? And do parents allow their children to participate in the digital world? and if they do- can they/or will they monitor a child’s activity levels to keep them ethically sound and effectively communicative? From my personal experience, I see a divide between children’s internet savvy and their parents’ and I think they like to keep it that way. With the wide and far-reaching use of acronyms, children have a way to communicate without parents being able to decipher the messages. Maybe schools can offer classes or resources to parents in order to keep them up to date on internet lingo and trends so that they can more effectively work with their child in creating a positive, creative, and active involvement in the digital community. I  think the more that the families can participate together with this digital world, we ensure that this digital age does bring us closer together as a community and that it can help communicate between one another.

Exploring Art Educators’ Blogs

Teacher Blogs

After reading Weblogs: Learning in Public by Jill Walker, I am further intrigued to see how this blogging phenomenon may be useful to my developing teaching styles and methods and how it may play out in this class with my fellow classmates. My favorite quote from the reading, that I plan to keep in mind throughout this process is, ” [Blogging is…] taking control of your own learning, finding your voice, and expressing your opinions. It’s about responding to the world around you and listening to the responses you receive in return.”

In looking out for some teacher blogs that I find useful, I realized that I already had a couple on my Bookmarks list. I don’t “follow” these regularly or anything, but I have found them interesting when surfing “teacher stuff” in the past. I will use this opportunity to dig a little deeper.

First off:

This is a Blogger blog that is hosted by the School Arts magazine editor, who is an experienced teacher herself in all levels from elementary to graduate. I found this because I was being cheap and didn’t want to pay for the magazine subscription and was hoping this blog may be an interesting substitute. (that’s a plus for blogs- they are CHEAP resources. and by cheap i mean FREE).

This blog contains all kinds of blogs and resources for teachers and pre-service teachers. There are some blogs that are personal reflections of teachers- such as the most recent post from a teacher encouraging that students are prompted to find artistic connections to nature. Other posts contain advice, lesson ideas, professional development topics. In the editor’s profile she notes “I am here writing for my like-minded compatriots, aiming to share your world of art education by providing timely art news; entertaining or thought-provoking artists, ideas, stories, and issues; professional opportunities for you; and project and lesson ideas and exhibition possibilities for your students.” I think she does an adequate job here on the blog- especially with the links to other websites and other blogs that she advocates and/or follows.


This blog is from a local teacher in Bowie, MD. I like her site because she seems to keep it updated and her teaching position is unique since she is an “art-on-a-cart” teacher with 3 elementary schools that she teaches at. She posts lessons and pictures of student work which is always helpful. I found this when looking for photos of classroom setup. Since I have no space of my own yet, I like to research ideas. I feel like this blog is most helpful because of all the photos that she includes. Since art is so visual and we as art teachers are likely most easily stimulated by visuals, I think her blog could have wide appeal for art educators and may be why I enjoy the blog so much.


Again, a blog by a female teacher that incorporates lots of photos. BUT I do enjoy looking at this blog more than the last simply because I find the design, layout and colors so much more pleasing. I guess that is definitely something to consider when creating a blog! not only should your writing be relevant, but neon green letters on a black background are not that appealing. also, the labels she provides along the side of her blog make navigating to specifics SO easy. She also encourages interaction and community by posting questions to fellow art teachers- such as “when do you have students dump their dirty paint water during a lesson?’ I love this example b/c it is SO geared towards art educators. No one else would find this questions remotely interesting, yet it’s completely relevant and even important to her audience, making this blog very much geared to a specific audience. She received 11 very involved comments to this post- proving that the question was very engaging to it’s audience.

SO, in conclusion, I believe that there are a few key factors in making a blog useful and helpful for teachers. First, I think that the writer needs to have some kind of credentials in their field, and I think they should make their goal clear in their profiles. I found that blogs that were just labeled “all things art” were just not engaging enough because they didn’t have a clear purpose. I preferred that the person spoke from clear experience and had clear intentions. Second, the layout/format of the blog has a big influence on the page’s “stickiness” or how long I, as a reader choose to spend on their site. A site can only be helpful if people look at it and spend time reading the posts and linking to a blog roll or commenting on posts. If the layout is not user-friendly, you are likely to have users leave your site and not take in any information. Lastly, I think that for teaching specifically- pictures are very helpful. Just because of the nature of art and teaching art, step by step lesson photos and finished student work photos are extremely interesting and helpful.

peace, love and art,



Jill Walker, Dept of Humanistic Informatics, University of Bergen, Norway. Published in On the Horizon, Vol 13, Issue 2, 2005. Pages 112-118.


***UPDATE*** Found a new blog to follow!