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SWOT Analysis

I have been a High School Visual Arts teacher, in Clayton County for the past

10 years. This year, I transitioned to an Elementary Itinerant Visual Arts position in

Fulton County. My days are filled with excitement as an Itinerant Art teacher.

Currently, I am teaching at three different elementary schools on the south side of

Fulton County- all of the schools are within a 30-mile radius. I went from teaching

visual arts to 180 high school students a week -to teaching 600 elementary

students a week. I must admit, I am still adjusting to the change from high school to

elementary; however, the one thing that has really helped me to acclimate to my

new position is technology. I was accustomed to using technology to present

information to my students when I taught high school. And I discovered that using

technology to introduce new information to my elementary students made my

transition much easier. I started teaching in the year 2000, when technology was

first introduced to my school, (in Clayton County). First, came the computers, then

digital cameras, followed by email and electronic gradebooks. Since 2000, I have

discovered several personal strengths, weakness and opportunities with my use of

technology. I have also uncovered a few threats to technology, along the way. In

this paper, I will discuss some of my personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunity

and threats to/ with technology. Also, I will, sum up this paper by describing my

technology goals and plans with technology.

When I was an undergraduate student, I had a professor who would proclaim,

before giving a challenging assignment, a problem is just an opportunity for a

creative solution. For me, a problem in my classroom led not only to me finding a

creative solution, but it led to me finding a strength I did not existed. I used to
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dread starting a new project with my students A new project usually meant, a long

demonstration. During my lengthy demonstrations, I would use all kinds of tricks to

keep my students attention- from changing to tone of my voice (to a musical tone)

to scolding them if I caught them nodding off. But nothing seemed to work; even

the students who managed to stay awake during my lengthy demonstrations, zoned

out and could not remember anything from my lesson. Then one day, during one of

my scolding sessions, I yelled out to my class, I wish I could record myself, then

every time you ask a question, I could just press play! and that is when I had my

lightbulb moment Record my art demonstrations! From that point, I began

making instructional videos of every art project. I also learned how to use video

editing software (such as Microsoft Movie Maker) to speed up the videos, add music,

and instructional text. Not only did I discover that I was pretty good at making and

editing videos, but I also discovered how to keep my students attention during

demonstrations. Creating and editing instructional videos was/ is a technological

strength, I didnt know I had, however, I am glad I discovered. Now my students

enjoy learning new art techniques with my instructional videos. They actually found

the videos to be very helpful and even requested that I add the videos to Edmodo

(social media network for education), so that they could access my art videos at

home.

If I had to identify my weakness with technology it would be- ME! I know what

you are thinking, YOU? Yes, me, (also known as Human Error!) I am pretty logical

when it comes to most things in life. However, I have very little patience for details

and I am always in a rush or multitasking- which usually spells trouble when working

with technology. I can site several examples of the times I frantically called for the

tech specialists at my school, to come examine my LCD projector because it was


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not working, only to be embarrassed when the tech specialists informs me that

the LCD projector was not on or plugged into the wall. Error messages are

terrifying Especially when using the electronic gradebook. Usually, after I calm

down and actually read (interpret) the Error message, I realize it is informing me

that my password is incorrect. As you can see, technology is perfectIt has not fail

yet! Sometimes it gets old and need updates, but even then, it is still accurate. My

weakness with/ in technology is not technology, directly. It is me

When it comes to technology, I think the opportunities are limitlessOne can go as

far with technology as their imagination is willing to take them! In my classroom, I

see several opportunities for students to learn and for me to grow as a professional

with technology. For example, as I stated earlier- the instructional videos that I

created for my students could also be turned into an on-line resource for students

who are homebound, home schooled or adults who are interested in taking an

online art class. Also, with platforms like Prezi, I see the potential for creating

student-centered lessons for students, that can be completed independently of the

teacher. These are just two examples of opportunities that I recognize in my current

teaching experience There are plenty more where those came from

There is an underlying, quiet threat to technology in education It is lack of

meaningful and correct use of technology. By Lack of meaningful and correct use,

when it comes to technology, I am referring to the fact that students rarely use

technology in school to learn. Sure, they use technology to be entertained by

educational games or for research, similar to the way encyclopedias were used to

do research. But, for the most part, students are not using technology in a

meaningful way. Very few students are using technology to create, or invent

something new. Most students are using technology in the classroom the same way
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teachers are using technology as a faster and more convenient way to complete

traditional assignments and everyday tasks (papers, resumes, graphs,

presentations, etc. All of which were completed by hand, by students of the

previous generations). In the article Oversold and Underused, Cuban illustrated a

scene of an art room with computers on the side, that no one ever used.

Unfortunately, this scene is a familiar one to most classrooms across the country.

Like Cuban, I do believe that slowly, over time, more students and teachers will use

technology in a meaningful way- to learn, explore, and maybe even create.

My personal technology goal for the upcoming year is to create an online platform

for teaching art. I have a few leads on how to make this happen- one of which

involves, creating a website with modules, on topics such as How to Paint with

Watercolor Paints and How to Use Pen and Ink Techniques. In the future, I can

even see this becoming a secondary source of income. Step one of my plan is to

continue teaching while learning more about art and technology (from the

University of West Georgia). Step two, (which will more than likely occur

simultaneously with step one) is to create more instructional videos. And step three

is to embed technology and instructional videos into my lesson plans, and to create

modules. I would like to have a pilot website within a year.