“OneNote has enabled us to work with different people, different cultures, and just collaborate and share with students what’s going on outside the classroom.” – Lee Whitmarsh, UK
For art educator and new Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (#MIEExpert) Lee Whitmarsh, technology is a means to an important end: helping his students experience art as fully as possible, and in a global context.
I was excited to chat with Whitmarsh at the recent Microsoft E2 Global Educator Exchange in Budapest, after I’d looked at his project using OneNote to support creative collaboration. (Here’s a great Office Mix detailing the project, “Creating a Photography A-level Teaching and Learning Hub.”)
“OneNote,” he says, “has enabled us to work with different people, different cultures, and just collaborate and share with students what’s going on outside the classroom.”
But how does it work in the realm of art education?
“Through photography – it’s such such a visual medium, that students are getting to see visual literacy from different areas and [it changes] how all the students see their environment. They’re able to take [what they’ve seen] on board, and then apply it to what they’re doing in their environment.”
And it’s all happening inside OneNote.
“We first set it up and thought about not what the technology can do, but what it needs to do for the students,” Whitmarsh says.
When it came to setting up the collaboration space, his students were thinking big.
“The students – innocently – said, ‘Why do we have to [only] collaborate with each other? Why can’t we go wider?’” says Whitmarsh. “So we just tried it, and we have a wonderful IT department that found a way to actually get students in Seattle (Lynnwood High School) within our OneNote. We do cross-collaboration links, we do peer review, self-review, and we’re going to set up a Skype session to put names with faces.”
Whitmarsh wasn’t at E2 just to share his project, he was also focused on collecting new ideas, some that he might share on his blog.
“It’s been beyond what I thought it would be,” he told me. “It’s been inspirational. To see all the educators from across the world so passionate, so open to ideas, and talking to you about what they’re doing—sharing and listening. It’s just been revolutionary.”
Here’s to revolution, and to teachers like Lee Whitmarsh who are leading the way. Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure.