Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Michael Skocko, New Media Arts Teacher Valhalla High School, El Cajon, CA

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Michael Skocko, New Media Arts Teacher Valhalla High School, El Cajon, CA

Article excerpt

THE TURNING POINT

The turning point for me carne in my second teaching assignment. I was in a junior high classroom with 25 computers, teaching Adobe Dreamweaver and Photoshop and failing miserably at direct instruction. After a few weeks of stumbling about, I started getting up in the middle of the night and making video tutorials. I built a website, put the tutorials on it, and encouraged the kids to go ahead and work at their own pace.

It helped to empower my students--they all have the opportunity to revisit lessons or jump ahead, whatever best serves their needs.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

>> FROM SMALL THINGS...

I inherited apathetic, uninterested students. Today, kids fill six new media arts classes, and they come in before school and on Saturdays to work. The few pages I uploaded to my website have grown into what may be the largest collection of Adobe-centric resources a teacher has ever created. It starts back with Flash 5 and Photoshop 7, and just keeps moving on as time goes by.

>> LEARNING DISGUISED AS A GAME

All of this learning takes place in a gamified system. For the kids who are really into gaming, that becomes a motivating factor, and for those who aren't, it's not interfering with accessing all of the information. But unlike some people who are using gaming in the classroom, the experience points play no role whatsoever in grades. When you come down to it, it's not really a game; it's lessons disguised as a game.

>> THE LARGER LESSON

I have 20 years' experience as a graphic designer and the artist and, as much as that means to me, I know that only a handful of the kids who come through my room are going to find a place in that particular industry. …

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