High-tech classroom

Mrs. Melissa Kristiansen, PHS art teacher, has a new and improved website-and it is not just filled with pretty pictures. Yes, the art program at Poultney High School has entered the high-tech era, and in the process is also striving to become a greener environment.

Kristiansen began by redesigning the school's art teacher web site (www.phsvt.org/faculty_webs/melissa_kristiansen/index.htm). Her concern that the address might be too long for people to remember was solved thanks to Clarena Renfrow, PHS information technology teacher.

By going to www.tinyurl.com, they took the site address above and turned it into www.tinyurl.com/bprdqm.

Students can visit this site and check out their class, look at project examples, and view their homework. Prospective students can look at the galleries of work by students, as well as their teacher.

Now, students are doing their homework through blogs and wikis. They can go to the website, click on their class and find the site for their on-line conversations. Kristiansen said, "This may not make homework "fun", but it certainly is more engaging for teenage learners and develops higher order thinking skills, increases vocabulary, and refines their reflection and critique skills, as well as cuts down on all the photocopied homework packets that used to go home in the backpacks weekly."

Kristiansen plans to scan the homework packets and turn them digital and access digital storytelling software for further reflection and critique opportunities. How is this evolution taking place?

Ten teachers from the district, including Kristiansen, are taking the Web 2.0 class taught by Renfrow. PHS teachers are fortunate that Renfrow is the IT teacher; and when glitches or questions arise, she is there to lend her expertise.

Teachers have been learning to use an ever-expanding amount of free technology tools and then applying the best fit to their individual classes.

Kristiansen's 3D art class utilized www.lulu.com and now sells their photo book Naturally Art from that site. By searching for "Naturally Art Poultney" the book appears for preview and for sale. The money raised from the book will enhance the art budget at PHS.

Kristiansen said, "We hope you can take a trip to the Web site and experience the talent and creativity that I enjoy in my classroom. The evolution continues."

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