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.


  1. I really liked hearing about the arts technology provided at your school. Since you're at a different setting than the rest of us I think it provides another interesting perspective in terms of what this school offers for its students. However, I like the notion that you present at the end about the integration of the arts and academics and I wonder how the technology in the arts can be used in something like your math classroom. I wonder if you could have the students record a video about a math concept? That would definitely be something they might not be expecting from their math class!

    Every teacher in my school has a projector, but unlike other Ann Arbor schools, none of them are attached to the ceiling (budget concerns stopped the installation years ago according to my mentor teacher). But I think this small thing of having it placed on the ceiling makes a big impact on whether my teacher would utilize it more within his practice. He complains that it takes up a lot of room on a cart in the front of the room, so I've only seen him use it once before to give the students a Powerpoint lecture. I wonder how other teachers might be using the projectors at your school. Maybe they are also utilized more by the arts program? I wonder if its a similar predicament to what's happening at my school where my teachers think it's more of a hindrance to set up than delivering the content in a different way. I look forward to hearing more about your experience at the DSA!

  2. Jonathan,

    I enjoyed reading your take on the technology available at DSA. When I think about my classroom, my teacher typically uses the whiteboard and occasionally uses the projector. I think it would be helpful to have a document camera, but that is something I will most likely have to buy on my own when I start teaching. One thing I really appreciated was the fact that you reminded me about integrating the technology used in the arts classes for academic purposes. There is so much available to students in their arts classes, why not integrate that technology into our own classes? One example might be using the video technology to make a final project about meiosis, or having students record their voice in different areas to study the effects of different mediums on sound waves. I look forward to brainstorming more ideas with you, and possibly incorporating this technology into our classes at DSA.