Monday, September 30, 2013

Technology at Detroit School of Arts

My classmates and I were asked to find out what kind of technology was present at the schools we are placed. I'll be describing the technology that is available at the Detroit School of Arts (DSA). In order to obtain the information, I first asked my mentor teacher to answer as many questions as she could. I knew she would have knowledge about most of the available technology at the school for teacher use. I then went to the media specialist, who is also the librarian, as she is responsible for most of the technology in the school. I recommend seeking out your media specialist at your placement for most of your technology related questions, unless your school has a technology specialist.

The most interesting finding about the technology at my place is that every classroom has a with a cart loaded with 30 netbooks. One of the administrators of Detroit Public Schools received a grant promising that every student at DSA would have one-to-one access to a netbook. In total, there are about 700 netbooks available at the school and each student is allowed to sign them out to take home for use throughout the semester. This provided to be very useful as my classroom is implementing a "flipped classroom" where students watch lectures and take notes at home, and do homework during class time. In this current day and age, many people overlook the fact that there are still many students who don't have access to computers at home. Having these netbooks has provided my class with a solution to this problem.

Some other pieces of technology in my classroom includes a document camera which is owned by my mentor teacher, and a LCD projector. It seemed that most classrooms only had a document camera if the teacher had bought one with their own money. It also seemed that not all classrooms had LCD projectors. Although the school has 3 projectors that teachers are able to sign out, I'm curious to know how many teachers in the school don't utilize teaching with a projector and still teaching using the traditional whiteboard/chalkboard.  There is a smart board in my classroom that doesn't work. My teacher informed me that they ran out of money before installation was complete so she just uses it as a part of her whiteboard.

DSA is a special school where students major in an arts field (e.g. vocal, instrumental, dance, visual arts, radio/television). Having "Arts" in the name of the school, the arts program at the school is well equipped in terms of technology. The school has 30 video camcorders for student use and several computer labs loaded with Adobe and editing software. The school has a green screen room with television recording equipment, a fully operational radio station, and a theater with sophisticated sound equipment. I thought about the implications of having this kind of equipment and integrating it with academics. Before this school year started, there was an emphasis by the administrators around focusing on the integration of the arts and the academics. In other words, balancing the student's life as an artist and a scholar. I have yet to put that much though into the kinds of projects that I could do with the students, but I can see great potential for some amazing results.