The benefits of incorporating technology and writing skills in a dance classroom is at the center of Karen Searles’ mission in her Next Generation Digital Classroom (NGDC) at Cedar Ridge High School.
The practice has now been featured in Dance Studio Life magazine, a national dance education publication, in its article “Power of the Page: How journaling exercises can enhance a dancer’s life in school and beyond.” Searles, lead dance teacher at Cedar Ridge, shares in the magazine how she uses iPads, journaling and video to improve her students’ vocabulary and technique on the dance floor.
“I feel privileged to be able to share what’s happening in our classroom,” Searles said. “There can actually be a natural fit for daily use of technology within dance classes without it taking away from tradition or technique. Hopefully, we can inspire more dance classrooms to not be afraid to integrate technology.”
Searles is a trailblazer in the use of technology in fine arts classrooms, said Lannon Heflin, RRISD instructional technology director. As one of the leaders in the NGDC pilot, Searles’ creativity, drive and innovative thinking has created dance instruction unlike any other in Texas.
“Using iPads and other devices, Karen has transformed traditional dance instruction to be a multimedia experience,” Heflin said. “Most importantly, Karen uses her technology and her students’ love of dance to make cross-curricular connections and reinforce student learning in their core academic classrooms. Karen has truly created the model for next generation fine arts instruction.”