Ask the Experts: Incorporating Technology

Q: I would love to start incorporating all the technology you talk about into my own classroom, but I’m almost completely computer-illiterate. Help me! Where should I start?

A: There are many people out there who are so overwhelmed by technology as a concept that they choose to avoid it completely. Given the speed at which things change, it’s an understandable attitude. So where do you start? You’re a teacher—where would you start with a beginner?

I believe it’s important to give my students processes for self-discovery, which is why I believe that understanding how a computer operates, or thinks, should be your first task. Once you understand the general principles, you’ll be able to find what you need in a program—even if you’ve never used it before. I would recommend getting a MacBook (a laptop computer from Apple), since the company’s products are so easy to use. Apple offers many tutorials on its website, but you’ll be in even better shape if you live anywhere near an Apple Store. The stores regularly hold free workshops, and their customer service is tops.

Once you’ve mastered computer basics, start integrating technology into your classroom one thing at a time. I’d recommend starting with something that you could use to present materials, like Keynote, which is an app to create a slide show. There’s extensive online support and troubleshooting tactics if you encounter difficulties.

These days most technology classes are actually online videos that you watch as you work at your own pace. If you find yourself still struggling with the basics, find a class in your area taught by a human being with whom you can actually have a conversation.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty of the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Photo courtesy of Barry Blumenfeld

Teacher Voices
Getty Images

In 2001, young Chanel, a determined, ambitious, fiery, headstrong teenager, was about to begin her sophomore year at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, also known as the highly acclaimed "Fame" school. I was a great student, a promising young dancer and well-liked by my teachers and my peers. On paper, everything seemed in order. In reality, this picture-perfect image was fractured. There was a crack that I've attempted to hide, cover up and bury for nearly 20 years.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Getty Images

Though the #MeToo movement has spurred many dancers to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, the dance world has yet to have a full reckoning on the subject. Few institutions have made true cultural changes, and many alleged predators continue to work in the industry.

As Chanel DaSilva's story shows, young dancers are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of the power differential between teacher and student. We spoke with eight experts in dance, education and psychology about steps that dance schools could take to protect their students from sexual abuse.

Keep reading... Show less
Technique
Nan Melville, courtesy Genn

Not so long ago, it seemed that ballet dancers were always encouraged to pull up away from the floor. Ideas evolved, and more recently it has become common to hear teachers saying "Push down to go up," and variations on that concept.

Charla Genn, a New York City–based coach and dance rehabilitation specialist who teaches company class for Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Hispánico, says that this causes its own problems.

"Often when we tell dancers to go down, they physically push down, or think they have to plié more," she says. These are misconceptions that keep dancers from, among other things, jumping to their full potential.

To help dancers learn to efficiently use what she calls "Mother Marley," Genn has developed these clever techniques and teaching tools.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.