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Video: Aileen Castro takes her Art in Early Childhood class online

September 25, 2020
By Andy Murdoch

Aileen Pugliese Castro is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Art Education. Over the Summer term, she taught the course Art in Early Childhood ARTE 201.

ARTE 201 is taught for mostly general classroom teachers who are going to be teaching art in a general public school setting. Students learn how to adapt the visual arts into their general curriculum. In this video, Castro and a group of students talk about their experience learning online.

“I’ve kept everything that I have in my syllabus from day one to the end with everything that I would normally do, I’ve just adapted it differently, from a different perspective, a different camera setting, a different class view,” says Castro.

Learning new digital literacy skills

Kim Day, a technology consultant hired by the department to help faculty adapt art education classes to an online environment, talks about the new skill sets students took away from the course.

“These students have also learned a slew of digital literacy skills. They’ve learned things they can apply to their job, about making effective presentations, using a variety of tools, they’ve found a bank of resources they can pull from. They’ve now got these resources that will help them every semester forward.”

“I was nervous about was the technical side, of it being online, of having to hand things in online, having to use Google slides, google docs, which I never used before,” says Janelle Lefrenière, a preschool teacher.

“It was great having the technical support because I’m not techie at all. To be able to do that, and to feel comfortable doing it, and knowing that my work was still good for what I sent in was great. This made me step outside my box and learn other techniques and other ways that I can eventually teach my class.”

Blending family life and the classroom

The class of ARTE 201 learned first-hand how the online environment blended the home and the classroom. Castro has two young children in elementary school as well who were around the house, moving in and out of the ARTE 201 classroom.

“I had to have different roles of a parent, an educator, and, you know, a director of how we can do so digitally online,” says Castro.

But she was not the lone mom in the classroom. Student Melissa Hernandez appreciated the flexibility of a learning environment that allowed her three kids to also move in and out of the classroom.

“I was a bit afraid that, you know, a professor sees three kids running in the background and I wouldn't be welcome to the group. But I mean, we were always like ‘Oh, let them sit in, you know, let them sit down next to you.' So, I mean, for me as a mother, I thought it was great that you could be open to that. Mother to mother, I am really thankful.”

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