Monday, August 13, 2012

It's going to be a great year. iPlan on it! *wink*

This summer was a real first for me in that I spent most all of it on professional development...
  • Before the summer even started I was already doing pre-coursework for a grad class in middle school curriculum and instruction.
  • The day that would have started my summer break was the first day of my five week (condensed) painting class
  • As soon as I finished my painting class I traveled out of state to finally complete the week long intensive course that I had been working so hard on the coursework for. My bedtime averaged 2am for the entire week. 
  • Almost immediately upon my return home my husband and I jumped in the car and (literally) left the country for northern Canada where I spent almost 10 days trying to juggle my online coursework with public access internet connectivity that was over 30 minutes of driving into town. When I wasn't trying to get work done to turn in on one of those every day trips, I was reading nonfiction books like Imagine by Jonah Lehrer - something that has truly transformed my approach to teaching the creative process to my students. 
  • When I finally got home I was back to work with another graduate studies course for Exceptional Learners that will end only when I am back in my classroom.
  • In the midst of all of the above, I have been freelancing with all manner of work including face painting and visual branding and website design overhaul for a local small business in addition to trying to keep my own artistic juices flowing by trying to "live a life more creative" by giving only handmade items!
I know all of the work has not been in vain because every step of the way I have truly felt more motivated and newly inspired to do MORE and BETTER as a visual artist and art education professional. During times and in places I never could have guessed, there were things that did nothing less than change the trajectory of where I am going with my own understanding of creativity, the creativity process, and creation itself. It's been amazing.

One of the biggest things of this summer is this: Because the Lord is SO provident and sovereign I have had the great blessing of finally being fully outfitted in Apple products. I have shared a reviews and thoughts on some of the iPad apps that I have had the time to play around in but this past weekend I stumbled upon something completely unexpected - the app for Mac that is Keynote! Now, it's likely that I am behind the times on this because I have been such a fiercely loyal user of Powerpoint even in the face of things like Prezi. Still? I have been diligent with prayer and with my own sweat and tears for weeks now trying to figure out how to apply all that I have learned so that it absolutely transforms me as an art education professional especially and I feel like Keynote is one of the last big pushes that I have been waiting for.

I don't know what it is (for me) about Keynote that sets it apart from Powerpoint but I just like it so much better. Powerpoint has definitely come a long way and I can appreciate the ways that it has been kept up to snuff but Keynote? I don't know. There is just something more about it that puts it slightly above Keynote.

Like with most everything Mac, the software is definitely very intuitive. It also has really terrific template design options. (I LOVE a good template that I can hack apart and then put back together again.) AND the templates don't lock you in so much that it is a pain to include more than one master design template theme within one presentation. Yes - I believe it's important to have visual cohesion and so master design templates are a great idea but at the same time? I don't know. I have always enjoyed the possibility of visual compartmentalization and organization using the visual presentation of both individual slides and sections. I feel like this is especially important when you are using multimedia to present new lesson and project ideas. There needs to be a visual separation between the introduction, lecture and discussion, and then the project itself. Anyway...

This past weekend I spent some times knocking around in Keynote and before I knew it I had created a brand spankin' new multimedia presentation for the first day of one of my classes...

A screenshot of one of the slides from my 2D Design presentation in Keynote

I say that so nonchalantly but honestly? That's how easy it felt like it came together. It just all fell into place. And when I went through the finished presentation I realized that it could easily be used as presentation template that could be beautifully re-shaped for each of the other four classes I am also teaching this year without making it seem like I just duplicated any of them.

Screenshot from the Graphic Design presentation

One of my favorite finds within Keynote so far is the fact that you can export your finished presentations as quicktime mini movies. So? I did that for each of them and I plan on sharing them with you!!! You'll have to wait until tomorrow to see my first one though. It's the one I did for 2D. I have queued up a posting so it will be posted first thing Tuesday morning and then my two other presentations - for 3D Design and then Graphic Design - will follow on Wednesday and then Thursday. Something else I hope to share this week? I fully unpacked and put together studio classroom!!! I got my shipping confirmation for a whole year's worth of supplies and between me and the other art teacher? We have TWO trucks coming in order to deliver all that we have ordered. (I KNOW. RIDICULOUS.) I will, of course, share my unpacking adventures here on the blog but you can also keep an eye on my instagram feed (username: dreampraycreate) because I am sure there will be plenty of glimpses of it on there.

By the way...  I just wanted to thank you all for visiting my blog (and continuing to come back to it) and PINNING things from it on I regularly check my stats and it fills me with so much joy to see that one of the most frequently visited sections of this blog is the lesson/project idea and teacher planning sections!

My main goal with this blog is to connect with other art educators and help the art education community be better established online. I know how hard it is to stay fresh with ideas and I have drawn so much inspiration from art educators that I surely might never have the opportunity to meet despite the fact that they are truly making my job easier and make me love what I do more with each passing year. For all of these reasons, I made the decision a week or so ago to completely remove any ads from my site that might be annoying or be visually clutter-y and therefore make it that much more difficult to navigate what is here on my blogsite. I'm not here to make money or be rich and I am only here to give back to so many of you all who have already given so much to me. Thank YOU for giving me a place here on the web that I can call my own and for allowing me to share things so freely the way I do.

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