Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..

Spring Semester Kicks into High Gear

It hit me this morning as I was posting back to my many online students across the state (and the world) that Christmas vacation is over and its back to business as usual for me.  This is going to be a very busy semester considering the fact that I have taken on some extra courses and challenges. Nothing I can’t handle however it’s going to mean 60+ hour work weeks to stay on top of all my courses.

The beauty of technology in 2010 is that I can do so much of my work  from anywhere as long as I have my trusty mac laptop with me and a wireless connection.  Teaching online has become an art unto itself for me and I embrace the challenge of teaching a variety of courses including some “hands-on” activities in the online environment.

As I went through all my classes this morning welcoming my new online students and answering questions I came to a student who is registered for my Art Appreciation class in Selva, NC and is spending the winter in her home country of Bulgaria.  The fact that I have a student in Bulgaria is very cool to me and just goes to show how much education has changed (evolved) over the past 15 years. I no longer am confined to a traditional classroom nor must I be at any specific place to deliver my course content in a unique, dynamic and engaging way.

I’m teaching graphic design, studio lighting, computer art and of course my art appreciation and history courses all in the online environment.  Each course presents its own set of challenges for me to get the material, techniques and concepts across in a viable and understandable way.

I’m constantly exploring new and innovative ways to demonstrate art and photography techniques and concepts to my students.  YouTube is great and so is ITunes U and Jing. I also have been experimenting with an open source program called voice thread which is also very cool for sharing and critiquing art and photographs.

I guess the point of all this is my amazement as to how far we have come in education and I can’t help to wonder what teaching and learning is going to be like in another 10-20 years. I can’t even imagine considering how rapidly technology is evolving.

One thing I do know for certain…it doesn’t matter how much great technology you have at your disposal.  Great teachers still have to be motivated, empathetic, passionate and enthusiastic about the course material they teach. No amount of technology can take a lazy, non-caring teacher and transform him/her into a good instructor.

Teachers in 2010 not only have to know there course material and be passionate about sharing their knowledge with students –  educators also have to be problem solvers and technologically literate in order to seamlessly teach in a variety of learning environments.

Like I said…I have a full load + of courses this semester both online and in the studio, but I am excited about the challenge.  To me teaching is an art form unto itself. Once we as educators lose the passion and desire to teach its time we do something else in my opinion.

Gotta go….time to prepare for my Computer Art course that starts Monday and maybe sneak in a nap before NFL Playoffs.


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