"Be Somebody that makes EVERYBODY feel like SOMEBODY"
Dr. Inoue describes omoi best as a deep seated feeling that is “integrated with your thinking, past memory, intention, and passion that penetrates your mind and defines your identity” (2015). My omoi for my profession and career is simple.
I would arrange my stuffed animals and dolls in a line, while reading to them, I pretended that I was a teacher, even as a child, this gave me a sense of fulfillment. You see, during those days I suffered from seizures, often times making the other kids apprehensive about playing with me. Seeking attention, showcasing my creative side sometimes came off as disruptive. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Herte, was able to see past that and tap into the greatness of a child that just wanted to be understood. She suggested that I be tested, discovered that I was gifted and talented (GATE), then moved me into a specialized program with other kids that were bused in from neighboring communities. (This also gave me exposure to individuals that were not used to diversity, thus further enriching my view of the world.) She was the first teacher that inspired me, with her eagerness to help, she made me feel like I was special and worthwhile. I remember watching Mrs. Herte, studying her as she executed the lessons of the day, falling in love with being a teacher and that with hard work anyone can learn. It started with those moments in first grade my desire to be a teacher. I feel like it is my duty and mission in life to help other children see the best within them to change their lives in a positive way. My choice to work with teenagers stems from the trying times my peers and I had while maneuvering through adolescence. I aspire to give them the support they need, to be okay with who they are, arming them with tools of betterment whilst on their journey into adulthood and to be able to say at the end of the year that they had indeed learned worthwhile skills to carry into the future.
Research Context and Demographics For the last 10 years I have been the Dance Director of the Performing Arts Department at El Camino High School (one of two high schools) in South San Francisco, California. The school is located 10 miles south of San Francisco, close to the San Francisco International airport, approximately 30 minutes north of Silicon Valley. We are also the home of many biotech companies, with the main biotech giant Genentech. Look for us under the sign on the hill that famously reads, “The Industrial City.”
Our school serves 1,479 students in grades nine through twelve.
The student: teacher ratio is 25:1 and is higher than the California average of 22:1.
Free and reduced lunch is 26.4% where the state average is 58% and the county average is 36.3%.
Minority enrollment is 92% of the student body (majority Asian and Hispanic), which is more than the state average of 74%.
From our last WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) the outcome of the surveys completed by the students represents a positive outlook for the school.
My teaching day consists of five classes, with five different dance levels of students from various grades and academic levels. Spanning over five periods, I see a total of 140 students daily. Our large dance studio has professional dance flooring, surround sound speakers, large mirrors, and a white board.
Statement of Problem Although I teach dance, I like to present very rich lessons that will connect to the lives of my students. I see how much technology is a part of my students lives on one side and traditional administration on the other that don’t acknowledge the fact that students carry around mini computers in their pockets all day long. How can these smartphones be used in class for educational purposes? I like to incorporate social media and technology in my classes. In previous years I had students using paper journals, but this year I wanted to get away from that and have them use technology blogs and vlogs for journaling and social media for posts and reflections. Although I incorporate technology and social media already, I want to see if it in fact enhances my student's learning experience. We are in a technological age where connections are key and our future relies on students being familiar with such tools as they go through their high school career and beyond.
Quantitative Needs Assessment: The survey that I did consisted of four questions with a 5 point likert scale. Out of the 45 participants that took the survey it shows from question one that most of my students felt that technology was a daily part of their lives. I was surprised at the amount of students that said they did not use technology in their other classes. Furthermore, I expect in this day and age that all high school classes should be using technology but 13.3% said they did not. The third question was put in to report how my students would address a situation. I did not want to say they liked it or not but found it “annoying” and only a few think technology and dance was bothersome to them. And finally, the results of the last question came out as I expected and showed that majority of the participants believed that video as tech has helped them as dancers. With this in mind, I think I would have liked to know more information.
Qualitative Needs Assessment:
What was your favorite project in dance class at El Camino High School?
What technology do you use daily? Be specific (apps, devices…).
What site(s) have you used to learn more about a genre of dance or dance figure?
What actions do you take to secure achievement in dance?
From this questionnaire of fifteen participants (11 female/4 male) from different grades, most of them favored the different projects with technology. I was surprised that five of the participants mentioned the choreography unit as their favorite project from dance class which does not involve technology. The information gathered also shows that YouTube is the number one site used by the participants of my questionnaire and Google as the second site used for information. This was also surprising but shows that dancers are learning visually even outside of class. The one common theme amongst all of my students that took the questionnaire and had the same response was that their smartphone is their number one use for technology. The needs assessment suggests that technology is important in the lives of my students each and every day. They choose to learn visually, so examples and presentation displays will benefit teaching in the classroom. Since students are using their smartphones for personal use I like the idea of incorporating their everyday use of their smart digital technology to their educational needs. This may take some pressure off of assignments as they may not seem like they are actually learning if they are using their everyday personal technology and apps. Moreover, from another survey that some of my students participated in, I was able to really see how many students have smartphones, internet capabilities, and access to social media.
Out of the ninety-two students that answered the survey, they all responded yes to having a smartphone with wireless capability for internet access. Also, a large number answered positively for having an additional computer at home as well as using social media. Acknowledging this, I see the relevance to my quantitative and qualitative needs assessment because the fact is, technology and social media are constant in the lives of the young people I teach. In my dance classes they are not only learning dance steps. With each dance unit they learn other components such as: body image, self-esteem, history, terminology, music, nutrition, collaboration, etc. For this reason, I wanted to incorporate what they are already using to help support their learning and not make it feel like a chore. Learning should be fun, exciting, and memorable. My needs assessment allowed me to recognize that students’ use of technology really supported their learning and that I should incorporate more opportunities for digital learning and technology use in the classroom with each unit and level. With this in mind I decided to develop my initial research question around my three passions: technology, dance, and social media. Therefore, I wanted to look at what ways technology may enhance a student’s experience in dance class. Through exploring my passion for dance, technology, and social media I have learned several things. I understand that the world we live in today is ever changing just like the youth surviving in this age of communication and technology. These digital natives have instant access to information and can get what they want with a few swipes or clicks of their fingers. Because I see them so invested in their social media applications on their phones, I want to investigate and explore to see if technology and social media would enhance a dance student’s learning. As a result, I found that the Multiliteracies Theory (New London Group, 2000) explains that using various modes of learning will communicate higher order thinking and creativity. With this in my lens I wanted to explore the ramifications and effectiveness of technology and social media in learning.
My research question is as follows:
What are the effects of using technology and social media to enhance learning in a performing arts class, specifically dance, in secondary education?
How does technology impact student’s effort or motivation?
How does technology and social media enhance student learning?
How does Project Based Learning (PBL) with technology affect student’s ability to produce quality work or learning?
I am hoping with these questions, I will show evidence of students’ desire to want to complete work if technology and/or social media is involved. Also, I want to show how much technology can benefit in terms of the willingness of the student to do better.