Hello Darkness… I Mean… Technology My Old Friend!

Okay- time to brush the dust off the old blog! It’s been a minute since I’ve been on this site…

Let’s see what do I need to do… oh yeah I need to update the old about me page… new photo (little more grey in the beard now)… hmmm… no longer a pre-service teacher… how has it been so long since I’ve been on here? Right– kids, covid, this whole teaching for a living thing. Oh right and now I’m doing my master’s degree… guess this seems like as good a time as any to get back to using that Ed Tech knowledge I have tucked away.

So here it is the first blog of EC&I 830. It’s nice to have a new category in that menu bar. I spent some time digging around and I just might need to update this site and make it a little more fun and functional. I suppose I could have just added a category and started a new blog for this class and called it a day but it was fun to go digging around in WordPress again and to start to think about some of the things I could do with the website as I start to revisit all things “EdTech”.

So… if you are reading this blog it is very likely that you are one of my classmates in EC&I 830… or Alec… or maybe Katia. If you are not one of those people than I’m not really sure how you got here, but welcome!

I would like to take a minute to introduce myself in case you haven’t poked around my slightly updated/slightly outdated website. My name is Will Whitten and I am a teacher in Regina, SK. I am a graduate of the University of Regina, where I received my B. Ed. in Arts Education. I have been teaching in a one of kind program in our province known as the Balfour Arts Collective. I was lucky enough to meet and make connections during my undergrad with an amazing group of three teachers who were working on creating a program for students in Regina Public School Division unlike any other in our province (two of whom are in this class- you should check out their blogs too- Janeen & Catrina). Their vision of a program where students from all over the city could come together to earn their high school diploma while doing the thing they loved the most- whether that was dance, drama or visual art- really spoke to me and so I managed to arrange an internship at Balfour during the program’s pilot year. From there I knew that this was a special place for students who might not have the same sort of successful high school experience in other buildings. After my internship was finished I was lucky enough to sign a permanent contract and become the fourth member of the Balfour Arts Collective faculty. Since then the program has grown to nearly 200 students in grades 9-12 and six teachers who come together to share their love of the arts while earning credits in English Language Arts, Health and Wellness, Dance, Drama, Visual Art and Theatre Studies.

So that’s a little about who I am. What you may have noticed is there doesn’t seem to be a lot Ed Tech mentioned in my bio so far. If you did notice that you might be wondering to yourself how did I end up in a course like EC&I 830 that seems to focus solely on Ed Tech and its issues/successes in a contemporary classroom. Well let me put your worries at ease by telling you a little more about myself.

The Arts Collective program strives to be a cutting edge program for our students and so it is nearly impossible to meet students where they are without understanding how technology is shaping our world and our classroom. Before I returned to University to get my education degree I did a lot of things which included being a fine arts undergrad with a major in drawing, leaving the university to get a photography diploma, and working as an actor and theatre teacher all of which were impacted by new technology and all of which are areas where technology has entered our schools and our classrooms. It is nearly impossible to be in a high school art room with out seeing students using tablets and tools like procreate to create stunning works of digital art as beautiful and valuable as any painting or drawing. The darkroom of my photography student days has been replaced by 24.2MP CMOS sensors, 4K/60p video and Adobe Photoshop. In person auditions are being replaced by actors sending self-recorded auditions made on their phones. There isn’t a space in the arts that hasn’t been impacted by technology and that’s not even mentioning Instagram, TikTok and all the other digital media platforms where students are consuming and creating content. So as the arts and technology continue to evolve what else can we do but learn how to adapt and evolve alongside it to provide the best opportunities and education for the students in our classrooms.

So long story short I love tech. I love to understand how it works why we need it and what we might be able to do with it in the future. I have taken apart my fair share of computers, replaced hard drives, learned new operating systems, and at one point even spent some time learning how to write code. So my interest in technology runs beyond the classroom but my interest in this course comes right back to the course title and it is the idea of the issues and struggles that we face as teachers when we think about technology in our classrooms and balance the amazing possibilities it creates and allows for as well as the drawbacks. So I will finish by saying although I firmly see the value in technology, its endless possibilities and its benefits I am also concerned with the implications of handing over parts of our lives and our minds to technology and I’m concerned about how we equitably work technology into our classrooms when phones, computers, tablets and programs don’t come for free… whether we’re paying with our dollars or paying with our data.

I look forward to great debates, lots of information and learning from each other… and to the day when this whole blog could’ve been written by chatgpt.


One thought on “Hello Darkness… I Mean… Technology My Old Friend!

  1. Thanks for the insight in connecting art to technology Will. As someone without an art background, save for my killer stickmen (thanks Biomechanics), yet have to teach art, I am very interested in your perspective as we go forward in EC&I 830.

    Like

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