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On the site you will find my digital arts portfolio as well as curriculum & lesson plans, and my ed tech blog.

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"Check out my site and the below links to learn more about me and my work."

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Got questions? Want to connect? Drop me a line on my contact form.

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Portfolio

Design, Illustration, & Photography

Life In and Out of the Classroom

Philosophy of Education

Philosophy of Education

As Nelson Mandela said, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Truly, the forte of learning exposes how teachers possess a great power to influence. It is this potential to influence the students, to motivate them to great heights, to inspire brilliance, to encourage growth and creativity that makes the teaching profession such a remarkable institution.

My philosophy of teaching is of more progressively bent. To me learning is about active participation, problem solving, and creation. Teachers are facilitators and should be guides to foster thinking. I firmly believe knowledge is constructed through doing and that the importance isn’t in a single right or wrong answer, but how you got to the solution. Teachers should help promote a mentality of persistence, of not giving up after one failure, but trying and trying again until there is some measure of success.

I believe teaching is as educator Josef Albers once said, “good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.” A teacher can open the world to a student and can create a place to question, to think, and to create.

Education

Graphic Design

Course Description

This course explores the fundamentals of Graphic Design. Students look at the history and current use of Graphic Design to create projects to delve into the principles of conveying information through visual communication. The final collaborative project will be the school’s yearbook.

Students will explore such questions as:

What is Graphic Design?

How can I apply these principles to what I create?

How does Design impact and change the content we are viewing?

How has Design been used to manipulate the meaning of what we view?

Education

Photography

Course Description

Digital Photography is designed to be an introduction to the aesthetic and technical theories of photography. Students will learn the basics of using a digital camera. They will work on developing a critical eye for composing photographs, as well as explore how to post-process their work in Adobe Photoshop. Using project-based assignments, students will photograph various subjects, reviewing and critiquing each others’ images.

A strong emphasis will be placed on experimentation, exploration, and how to use photography as a form of creative expression. As a class we will focus on answering the questions of how can we develop a critical eye and evolve from picture takers into image makers? And what makes a successful photograph?

A little bit about me...

Hi, I’m Meira. I am a Google Certified EducatorTech Integrator, Digital Arts Teacher, and Creative living and working in Bulgaria.

Education

"I have a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Alfred University and a Masters degree in Educational Technology from Teachers College, Columbia University."

Bio

I originally hail from NYC, USA.  I am a Tech Integrator, Digital Arts Teacher, and Creative living and working in Bulgaria. I am passionate about creativity & creating, education, art, technology, and making my life more efficient and easier through technology. I am a strong proponent of utilizing social media in the classroom, visible thinking practices, and supporting life-long learning.

Christine McAuliffe (Astronaut)

"I have touched the future: I teach"

Services

We are absolutely passionate about simple yet sophisticated user experience and designs that we, and our clients, are very proud of.

Website & Development

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The Process
  1. Strategy:
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  2. Design:
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  3. Communication:
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Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

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The Process
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  • Came across the table
  • This is just dummy text in an unordered list

E-Commerce

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UI / UX

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The Process
  • A supercool hipster collection
  • Came across the table
  • This is just dummy text in an unordered list

Ed Tech in the City

About My Blog

Read through my posts for tech tips, tricks, tutorials, & reviews, as well as ed tech & education writings. These posts are imported from my Tumblr account.

screen

April 13, 2015

Getting the Most out of Google – Google Extensions & Apps

Chrome is Google’s web browser and you can use it to browse on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. You can sign in to your Google account to sync Chrome bookmarks, browsing history, extensions, and settings to your devices. It is currently the most popular web browser globally and if you use Google for Education, […]

image

April 7, 2015

Here are a few of my favorite things (apps)

As I sit here in a coffee shop in a small town in Poland, I ponder what to write for my (somewhat) weekly blog post. Well, firstly I asked myself, why do I blog? And to answer my own question, I would say, blogging is a great way to organize and sythesize information. Countless studies […]

IMG_0718

March 18, 2015

Sketchnoting & Making it Visual

Visual Note Taking – What is Sketchnoting? Sketchnotes are rich visual notes created from a mix of handwriting, drawings, hand-drawn typography, shapes, and visual elements like arrows, boxes, and lines. A great video that introduces the idea of Sketchnoting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY9KdRfNN9w Why use Sketchnoting? Sketchnoting can help you process information. Sketchnoting engages the whole mind and […]

sample-map

March 4, 2015

Map it to me! Exploring Google My Maps

Have you heard of Google My Maps? I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t, and no, I don’t mean the map you go to when you need directions, but the Google tool for building custom maps, routes, etc. As a Google enthusiast and a Tech Integrator at a Google school (and at this point is […]

explaineverything

February 10, 2015

Using Explain Everything to Make Thinking Visible

Knowledge, facts, information, all these words are a part of teaching and learning. But the glue that holds all of this together is the thinking. The preconceptions, the conceptions built from new knowledge, the critical and the deep are the areas of thinking that are at the crux of deep learning. This is not merely […]

21stCentury

February 10, 2015

Code Alert! Why we should teach computer programming to kids of all ages

Computers have changed almost every aspect of life over the past few decades. It is hard to think of one field or facet that hasn’t been indirectly or directly influenced by the propagation of technology. Yet, the world of education is severely lagging in preparing the next generation with the skills required to succeed in […]

kahn

January 28, 2015

Review: Khan Academy App

Khan Academy started with providing math learning and now has expanded to science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and probably more to come. When I heard about this app, I knew that some of the teachers already use Khan Academy in their classes, so I thought perhaps this app could be helpful. On the iPad you have access to all the content and videos lessons that you can stream from the site. It has a nice clean user interface, content is well organized and easily accessible (providing you have good wireless). This makes working on questions, reviewing material, in my opinion, much easier and smoother.

January 27, 2015

iMovie 10.0.6 Tutorials

iMovie 10.0.6 Tutorials I just finished uploading a set of pretty comprehensive iMovie (10.0.6) tutorials that I made for my video class, so enjoy!

Education

Video Production

Course Description

This course explores video as a medium for artistic expression and social inquiry, concentrating on creating, presenting, collaborating, and analyzing the moving image. Technical components include all aspects of image production: image acquisition and digitization, basic editing and final output. Students will gain an understanding of the video image-making process.

Strategies for the use of video as an art-making tool will be explored through individual assignments, group projects, screenings and discussions.

Students will be encouraged to think critically and creatively, to explore and experiment, and most importantly, to find their own voice.

Understanding By Design

Video Production

Acquire, Make Meaning, Transfer

In the Classroom

Acquire, Make Meaning, Transfer

"Acquire - lecture & examples
Make Meaning - produce, curate, explain
Transfer - Ongoing, projects and critical thinking"

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand the use of video cameras, and video, audio and photo editing tools.
Students will understand how to actively participate in the creative process.

Students will understand that communication and collaboration are essential to create a successful production.

Students will understand the value of each step involved in the production process prior to filming. Including creating a timeline, story-boarding and scriptwriting.

Students will understand the processes of critical thinking, problem solving, and decision-making.

Transfer Goals

Students will develop the ability to discuss and critique videos.

Students will be able to create work that utilizes the basic camera shots to express meaning.

Essential Questions

How can we use video to create meaning?

How do I use technology as a tool?

How do I give shape and form to my ideas?

Knowledge

Students will understand how to actively participate in the creative process.

Students will learn the workflow involved in pre-production, production, & post-production.

Students will understand the terminology of film including shot terms and editing term.

Students will learn how to write and script and create a storyboard.

Skills

Use of iPad/DSLR for shooting

iPad apps (Horizontal, Index Card, 8mm)

Editing in iMovie

Composing in Garageband

Use of a green screen

Education

Video Production

Syllabus
(One Trimester)

Unit 1: An Introduction to Video

What is video? Students are introduced to video as an artistic medium through stop-motion animation. Students have their first foray into crafting a story and storyboarding through creating an original stop-motion piece.

Unit 2: Video Basics, Writing a Script, & Storyboarding

An introduction to video terminology and the compositions of a shot. The process of writing a script and storyboarding. Students learn how to shoot their projects and edit their video using iMovie.

Unit 3: Creating an Original Work

Utilizing all that has been learn over the course of the term, students will work collaboratively to create an original short. Students will follow the process of pre-production, production, and post-production to create a video the portrays their story.

Educational Technology

Tech Integration

What is a Tech Integrator?

Tech Integrator, what is that? Well at every school I have worked / visited / observed this job (the job of which is often called slightly different things), is always defined in a diversity of manners. But let me define a Tech Integrator, which is half my current position, as such: a person who works with teachers to facilitate the synthesis of technology into all areas of the educational process which includes technology’s role in the overall network of the educational process from teacher’s learning network, student and teacher’s digital workflow, student’s use of technology, technology within the lesson/curriculum, and successful usage of technology.

So, basically I view technology’s role within a school in three areas, not always mutually exclusive:

Teacher’s use of tech to create materials, manage classroom & class work

Technology used to present information within class

Students’ use of technology to create and learn

Ed Tech + Visible Thinking

I am a strong proponent of using Technology to support the practice of making student’s thinking visible. One great tool to use is Explain Everything, an easy to use interactive whiteboard that is available on various devices including the iPad.

Education

Photography Course

Syllabus
(One Trimester)

Unit 1: Camera Basics and Photography as a Visual Language

Understanding camera basics: aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, focal points and exposure. Exploring techniques in taking photographs and the effects of perspective and angle while shooting. Beginning to explore post-production in Photoshop.

Unit 2: Composition using Black & White Photography

What is composition? An introduction to composition fundamentals; balance, point of view, lines, shapes, repetition, rules of threes, perspective, and symmetry. An emphasis on looking vs. seeing, using black and white photography to see tone, line and form. Using focal length, camera position, and depth in your photographs. The use Photoshop to enhance and change your composition.

Unit 3: Light

How do we capture and shape light? Direction & finding light, shadows and negative space, using exposure, and how to light a subject with reflectors and flash. Post-production techniques to change and enhance exposure.

Unit 4: Color

The basics of color and color composition. The fundamentals of color theory and exploring purposeful usage of color.

Unit 5: Individual Projects

Utilizing all that has been learned over the course of this trimester, students will be working on an individual project to create a series of photographs that is a cohesive body of work. Each student will present their portfolio to the class for a critique session.

Understanding By Design

Photography

Acquire, Make Meaning, Transfer

In the Classroom

Acquire, Make Meaning, Transfer

"Acquire - lecture & examples
Make Meaning - produce, curate, explain
Transfer - Ongoing, projects and critical thinking"

Enduring Understandings

Students will know the basic functions of a camera.

Students will know the basic elements of composition, light, and color.

Students will understand that color, form, and composition are used to create meaning.

Transfer Goals

Students will develop the ability to discuss and critique photography.

Students  will be able to create work that utilizes the principles of photography to express meaning.

Essential Questions

What is photography?

Why is photography art?

What makes a photograph meaningful?

How can we develop a critical eye and evolve from picture takers into image makers?

What makes a successful photograph?

How are images used as a visual language?

Knowledge

Students will understand how to actively participate in the creative process

Students will learn the workflow involved in photography shoot

Students will understand the terminology of photography

Students will understand basic color theory

Skills

Use of a DSLR camera

Use of tripods, flash, and reflectors in photography

Basic knowledge  of Adobe Photoshop

Education

Graphic Design

Syllabus
(Three Trimesters)

Unit 1: The Fundamentals of Graphic Design

What is Graphic Design? An introduction to visual communication concepts and tools. Students learn the fundamentals of design, typography, color theory, & the history. Students develop design skills through project-based assignments, create idea boards using Pinterest, and design guides with typography & color guides. Students learn the programs Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign.

Unit 2: An Introduction to Digital Illustration

In the Illustration unit students explore how to interpret concepts visually and create visual pieces using the computer. Digital skills are developed through the creative processes with project-based projects. Students gain an in-depth knowledge of Illustrator as a illustration device.

Unit 3: Photography and Design

Students learn about the foundations of photography. Understanding camera basics: aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, focal points and exposure. An review of composition fundamentals from design and how this relates to photography; balance, point of view, lines, shapes, repetition, rules of threes, perspective, and symmetry. Exploring post-production in Photoshop.

Unit 4: Individual Project

Thinking about all that has been covered throughout the course, students will be proposing a large project to concentrate. They will be creating a substantial body of work and a related artist statement. The course will conclude with a critique where students will present their work, discuss their project & process, and receive feedback.

Understanding By Design

Graphic Design

Acquire, Make Meaning, Transfer

In the Classroom

Acquire, Make Meaning, Transfer

"Acquire - lecture & examples
Make Meaning - produce, curate, explain
Transfer - Ongoing, projects and critical thinking"

Enduring Understandings

Students will know the basic principles of graphic design.

Students will know that color, form, & typography create meaning.

The students will understand how to create and develop visual response to communication problems including typography, aesthetics, composition, and construction of meaningful images.

Transfer Goals

Students will develop the ability to discuss and critique graphic design.

Students  will be able to create work that utilizes the principles of graphic design to express meaning.

Essential Questions

What makes good design?

How can we use graphic design to create meaning?

Knowledge

Students will learn the principles of Graphic Design

Students will understand basic color theory

Students will learn the workflow of a design project

Students will understand the fundamentals of typography

Skills

Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign

Thumbnail sketching

Sample Lessons & Projects

Photography

Coming Soon...

Education

Photography Student Work

Portfolio

Graphic Design & Digital Illustration

Portfolio

Photography

Sample Lessons & Projects

Graphic Design

Animal Totem / Icon Project

This project is an exploration of using Graphic Design principles to create an iconic image. In many Native American tribes they believed that each individual has an animal totem or animal spirit that accompanies them through life and guides them. Using a pre-planning sheet shared via Google Classroom, students were asked to think about what animal would embody them.

Students had to brainstorm, decide on an animal, write a brief description, and create a related Pinterest board. Students furthered their knowledge of Adobe Illustrator using prepared screencast tutorials, and explored how to translate an image and essence into a graphic image. This was coupled with a class critique where students had were asked to use Visible Thinking techniques to provide their feedback to their fellow students. The final part of the project was a student and teacher assessment via the Design Scoring Rubric.

Learn More

Graphic Poetry Book

In this project students were challenged to use their combined knowledge of Graphic Design Principles, Typography, and Color Theory to create a Graphic Poetry Book. This book was a visual response to a poem where students used a poem with strong imagery that mixed both original visuals and typography and then created a book that illustrated that poem. Poem examples were provided or students had the option to choose their own poem, use an original poem they had written or use rap/music lyrics. Students used Adobe Illustrator and had their first foray into using Adobe InDesign.

Students began their project by using Visible Thinking techniques to analyze their poem and watched original screencast tutorials to build up their skills. The project culminated with a round robin-style written feedback session using Visible Thinking techniques that was combined with warm/cool feedback. The final part of the project was a student and teacher assessment via the Design Scoring Rubric.

Learn More

Holiday Card Project

‘Tis the season… for holiday cards!! This project was an exercise in creativity based around one design principle. Students created a non-denominational holiday card to flex their design muscles. They had to work with both Typography, Color Theory, and the constraint of the size of a card in order to create their original design.

Each student picked one design principle to concentrate on, created a Pinterest board, created a type & design palette, and an original holiday card. Students presented their work for a critique and did a self-critique via the Design Scoring Rubric. Each student then performed an act of random kindness by giving a printed version of their card to a member of the school community.

Learn More

Education

Graphic Design Student Work

Video Production

Sample Lessons & Projects

Stop-Motion Project

Students are introduced to video as an artistic and visual language through stop-motion animation. They learn about stop-motion and then view/analyze a few examples. They then craft an idea for their own animation, working either individually or in small groups. Students experiment with using the stop-motion technique to create a simple two-dimensional and/or three-dimensional animation that communicates an idea or story.

Learn More

Scene Remake Project

This project is used to introduce students to the basic shot compositions used in video and films, as well basic editing concepts. Through the process of deconstructing and reconstructing a chosen scene, students  learn how to create a basic script, storyboard their shots, use the vocabulary of video production, learn how to organize their workflow, scout locations, and the basics of video editing with iMovie.

Learn More

Video Production

Stop-Motion Project

Project Description

Students are introduced to video as an artistic and visual language through stop-motion animation. They learn about stop-motion and then view/analyze a few examples. They then craft an idea for their own animation, working either individually or in small groups. Students experiment with using the stop-motion technique to create a simple two-dimensional and/or three-dimensional animation that communicates an idea or story.

Stop-Motion Description

Stop-motion (also known as stop frame) is an animation technique to make a an object, person, or image appear to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence.

Related Standards

ISTE: Creativity and Innovation

ISTE: Communication and Collaboration (if working in a group)

Stop-Motion Examples

For these examples I used educanon to add stop and think points in the videos.

Example One – Western Spaghetti by PES

Example Two – School Lunches Around The World

Example Three – Against The Grain

Class Screening & Critique

Every project is coupled with a class screening or the work and a group critique. Each student will be asked to give feedback to their fellow videographers. They are expected to give at least two pieces of feedback, one warm and one cool.

Warm Feedback:

Provides specific feedback to the creator

NOT general statements of approval.  Avoid statements such as: “I liked it.”, “This is good.”, “Great job!”, “Well done.”

Highlights and recognizes the strengths of the video (“names what is effective”).  “Your use of color  prompts a few questions in my mind. I’m already wondering what will come next.”  “The flow of your video makes sense to me.  I can see how one scene leads to another.”

Cool Feedback:

Wonderings, questions, and dilemmas viewers find in the content

NOT criticism.  Cool feedback poses ideas that prompt the presenter to think about the work from a different perspective.  “I” statements and the use of “might” rather than “should” promote an environment of respect and leave the creative control in the hands of the presenter.

Video Production

Scene Remake Project

Project Description

This project is used to introduce students to the basic shot compositions used in video and films, as well basic editing concepts. Through the process of deconstructing and reconstructing a chosen scene, students  learn how to create a basic script, storyboard their shots, use the vocabulary of video production, learn how to organize their workflow, scout locations, and the basics of video editing with iMovie.

Project Requirements

Students are  recreating a scene from a movie, tv show, music video, etc. Scene is a minimum of 2 minutes long and that is school appropriate. Students must analyze the scene’s lighting, camera moves, shots, angles, audio and acting and recreate it. The shot composition and action of each scene is what is important, whereas within that constraint students are encouraged to use their creativity in their interpretation.

Related Standards

ISTE: Creativity and Innovation

ISTE: Communication and Collaboration

ISTE: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, & Decision Making

Graphic Design

Animal Totem / Icon Project

Project Description

This project is an exploration of using Graphic Design principles to create an iconic image. In many Native American tribes they believed that each individual has an animal totem or animal spirit that accompanies them through life and guides them. Using a pre-planning sheet shared via Google Classroom, students were asked to think about what animal would embody them.

Project Steps

Students had to brainstorm, decide on an animal, write a brief description, and create a related Pinterest board. Students furthered their knowledge of Adobe Illustrator using prepared screencast tutorials, and explored how to translate an image and essence into a graphic image. This was coupled with a class critique where students had were asked to use Visible Thinking techniques to provide their feedback to their fellow students. The final part of the project was a student and teacher assessment via the Design Scoring Rubric.

Related Standards

ISTE: Creativity and Innovation

ISTE: Communication and Collaboration

ISTE: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, & Decision Making

Graphic Design

Graphic Poetry Book

Project Description

In this project students were challenged to use their combined knowledge of Graphic Design Principles, Typography, and Color Theory to create a Graphic Poetry Book. This book was a visual response to a poem where students used a poem with strong imagery that mixed both original visuals and typography and then created a book that illustrated that poem. Poem examples were provided or students had the option to choose their own poem, use an original poem they had written or use rap/music lyrics. Students used Adobe Illustrator and had their first foray into using Adobe InDesign.

Project Steps

Students began their project by using Visible Thinking techniques to analyze their poem and watched original screencast tutorials to build up their skills. The project culminated with a round robin-style written feedback session using Visible Thinking techniques that was combined with warm/cool feedback. The final part of the project was a student and teacher assessment via the Design Scoring Rubric.

Related Standards

ISTE: Creativity and Innovation

ISTE: Communication and Collaboration

ISTE: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, & Decision Making

Graphic Design

Holiday Card Project

Project Description

‘Tis the season… for holiday cards!! This project was an exercise in creativity based around one design principle. Students created a non-denominational holiday card to flex their design muscles. They had to work with both Typography, Color Theory, and the constraint of the size of a card in order to create their original design.

Project Steps

Each student picked one design principle to concentrate on, created a Pinterest board, created a type & design palette, and an original holiday card. Students presented their work for a critique and did a self-critique via the Design Scoring Rubric. Each student then performed an act of random kindness by giving a printed version of  their card to a member of the school community.

Related Standards

ISTE: Creativity and Innovation

ISTE: Communication and Collaboration

ISTE: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, & Decision Making

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Educational Technology

Resources

Ed Tech Resources

In this section, find a selection of resources that I have curated or created.

Enjoy!!

Recommended Sites

Here are a few sites that I recommend checking out.

  • SlidesCarnival
    A site where you can get lovely pre-built Google Slides Presentation templates.