It's safe to say that technology is everywhere. And more and more students are interacting with technology at even younger ages.
But we still need to teach kids how to become more independent with technology so that they can follow up on their curiosity.
In this episode of the EdTech Heroes podcast, host Nef Dukes welcomes Rich Stachon, Art and Design Educator at Glen Crest Middle School. They talk about the importance of exposing students to technology as early as possible, why teachers don't have to be tech experts, and how to use technology to teach kids to appreciate art.
👋 Name: Rich Stachon
🎨 What he does: Art and design educator
🏫 School: Glen Crest Middle School
📝 Noteworthy: Rich has more than 15 years of experience as an art and design educator. In 2016, he was named the Illinois Art Educator of the Year, but before he did all that, he earned his bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University and a master's degree from Full Sail University. He's also an adjunct professor at The Art of Education University.
Be authentic with your students. Students appreciate honesty and authenticity.
Rich says, "I talk about that with my students too. Honestly, I'm pretty open. I believe in art and life, and it's what we're trying to do here as educators — trying to have them beyond the walls of the classroom. So I talked to them a little bit about my past and how I didn't have this straight road to college like high school, college, career; it was more like high school, college, finding myself and then figuring out, 'Okay, here's what I really want to do, what I have passion for,' and then I went after it."
Expose your students to technology in the classroom. Students need to become independent with technology, so it's essential to introduce tech gadgets into the classroom as early as possible.
Rich says, "My whole idea about everything is that I know they're not going to master everything that I'm teaching them. I have seven weeks with these students. Let's be honest. And what can I instill, and honestly, it is about thinking, it's about the process, and if you could learn some of these apps and get into it.
But when I'm not here, when you don't have art, how are you going to be learning them? And can they use them and [do they] have their devices? If they can't afford or they don't have heavy-duty hardware, they could still use the stuff that they have, and then they could continue to learn."
You don't have to be a master of technology to use it in your classroom. One of the biggest misconceptions about tech is that you have to be an expert to be able to use it in the classroom. Rich begs to differ.
He says, "I think that more often than not art educators or just educators in general, with utilizing technology, I think that you have to do it. I think that you don't need to know everything about a particular application or program in order to teach it. I think that the biggest misconception out there is that you have to be the master of something."
Listen below to hear Sultan Rana discuss how presentations can be revolutionized with video!
Video gives opportunity to show the behind-the-stage process 🎭
"It wasn't just the end product that you put up and say, 'Hey, watch the process.' It was, 'Hey, this is kind of one stage of it. If you want to keep on seeing it grow and see the process of it, follow it here.' And my mind was blown. I was like, 'Wow.'
The conversation that I had with you, a year ago, about process? I never imagined that it would turn out like this. And the way that you're utilizing video with your students? It was really awesome to see that."
Teaching kids to appreciate art 👩🎨
"I'm more of thinking, 'Hey, how can I really get them to be — like art isn't just going to the museum and putting hands behind the back and looking at art.' I'm trying to think, 'Wow, can I engage them in a way that they understand that art is all around us and that they're engaging with art and design every single day, but they just don't realize it.'
And I think that by changing the perspective by me thinking about that, I do make it fun. It just comes as a byproduct of me thinking, 'Hey, how can I make them think about art differently than they already do?'
The benefits of actively engaging with your community💡
"Once you start doing it, you start realizing that, 'Man, I'm learning so much from sharing. I'm learning a lot from just sitting in the background and hearing all these things and seeing all these things.' But once you really start being active and start sharing yourself, that's when all these opportunities really start coming up for you. And the growth goes — like we've been saying this whole discussion — to that next level; it really does, once you start sharing and being active in your community."
[19:46] "One of the things that I've been trying to focus on with my students is to think about why we're doing these things and take a step back from, 'All right, well, I'm done with it.' 'Okay, you're done with it, but let's take a look and where was the process? Where do we learn, and what do we actually learn?' So video's really key with that."
[31:44] "What's really great about it is that you start seeing students — obviously, you see their growth, but you start seeing where it clicks, that light bulb. And that's when you're like, 'Okay, this is why I do this. This is why I teach. This is why I'm here. This is why I belong here, because of this stuff,' and it is magic to see that click."
[35:29] "I think that number one is that you’ve definitely just gotta let it go and just get out there. You don't need to know everything; start utilizing it, but you've got to think about why you're utilizing it in the classroom. Why are you really trying to do this? Why do you want to bring it into your classroom?"