“New Tools” by Kathryn Arnold

The Goal and Its Possibilities: “New Tools”

This year, with all of my classes, including those I teach online, my goal is to investigate and use  digital applications and digital technologies in additional ways to further develop student engagement and interactivity. I have participated in several events that are helping me reach my goal.

This Spring 2012 Whitney (Reading)  and William (Fine Arts) Clay’s most successful  Flex Day Video Workshop is proving vital to my growth as an online course developer and instructor. By the end, that workshop presentation on video technologies left each of us in attendance feeling like a pro J. The workshop methods mirror the engagement we wish to have with our students – we were all up taking photos on our phones and placing them into I-Movie with voiceovers effortlessly. The live demo of Camtasia  will prove invaluable as my investigation includes incorporating my own video clips into my online classroom.

In February 2012 I attended the College Art Association conference seeing first-hand use of multiple technologies to further develop the student engagement that is most truly welcome in an online classroom.

One session,  “Art History in the Digital Age: A Hands-On Workshop,” introduced the tool Scalar (http://scalar.usc.edu/anvc/?page_id=6 ), which will be out in Beta form this August. It creates an avenue to place course research/materials online in an interactive non-linear publication environment  connecting images, videos, additional web resources, research sources and more. It should become a great presentation tool (“media-rich”) with a living breathing interface.

A  second  workshop, “Technology in the Art History Classroom: A Hands-On learning Workshop,” introduced Prezi, Voicethread and OMEKA. OMEKA is a platform for online publishing and apparently a good way to organize online class materials (see http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/ ). Prezi is a collaborative application that can be used for group projects, since it has the capability to connect from multiple locations simultaneously. That’s ideal for forming an online community.  Voicethread is an application that helps to create classroom interactions around multimedia such as images, videos, etc.

So, as they say, “my work is cut out for me” as I venture forward. I am excited  to try out all of these tools and to experiment with what works and what does not.  At the same time, I hope  this brief interlude captures your interest.

Kathryn Arnold teaches Art Studio and Art History at WVC. She is a an artist whose work is exhibited nationally.

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