Art has always been part of my life. I was an English teacher, librarian and technology educator. Now, in retirement, I am an artist who works with light and color. Because of my former profession as an English teacher, my art is literate, clear and communicates a client’s mission in a visually interesting way. I can design, produce and distribute your message for the Internet with a website, on mobile device, or through a print project; a brochure, business card, flier, menu, eBook, etc.
I grew up in West Virginia, in "Pottery Country," across the street from the largest teapot in the world and about a mile from the pottery that makes Fiesta, the colorful dinnerware. I used to dust rows of Fiesta in my grandparent's pottery store. Today, I have a collection of original Fiesta and other kitschy stuff.
Art has always been part of my life. As a child, I loved reading and drawing. I wanted to be an artist or a scientist or a writer. Sadly, a girl living in a small West Virginia town in 1968 could not really expect to have a career as a graphic designer. Options were limited... secretary, nurse, teacher, or wife.
I really wanted to make a living as an artist, but for 30 years, I was an English teacher, librarian, and technology educator, where I made art every single day. Now, in retirement, my media is digital; the websites and other projects are literate, clear, and visually interesting. Looking back, I recognize that my aspirations all had a common theme – they all involved interesting gadgets... microscopes and telescopes, pencils, pens and art supplies. I was 39 when I first put my hands on a computer. It seems I had been waiting for this device all my life... it was the ultimate gadget.
EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY - GADGET HEAVEN
I was a middle school English teacher and an 18-year classroom veteran when I became a Media Specialist in the Library Media Center. A library media specialist (1. helps students connect with ideas and information, and (2. allows them to demonstrate their understanding. My first Macintosh (A Mac SE20) showed me that technology can do both. Technology was a merging of my love of literature and science with my passion for gadgets. What I came to believe about technology and its impact on learning was shaped in the 1990s through my work with Apple Computer.
I was lucky to be an Apple Core Trainer"in the early days of Apple Education. I learned the ropes of educational technology at what is called the "Mother Ship" in Cupertino, CA. Dr. Martha Rolley, of Apple Education, taught me one of my core educational values, "It is not about the technology, it's about learning." As a certified Palm™ Education Training Coordinator (PETC), I helped teachers and students learn how to use hand-held computers to support their work. Now, a gadget like the iPad is capable of providing amazing access to ideas and information and provide un-thought-of ways to communicate understanding. The challenge falls to educators to design and orchestrate the learning experiences to match the capabilities of new technologies. It's about learning, not the gadget.
My last ten years in teaching were spent as the Coordinator of Learning Resources at Saxe Middle School in the New Canaan Public Schools. In this amazing job, I collaborated with classroom teachers to design challenging lessons and units which use technology to support learning. As manager of the library media center and the school's network, I learned even more about the role technology could play in teaching and learning. And along the way, I taught educational technology to students who were training to be teachers at Fairfield University and presented countless workshops, seminars, and teacher training institutes. My experiences have left me with a wide range of expertise from software to technology integration.
PAST AWARDS AND HONORS
During my teaching career, I was honored to receive a Celebration of Excellence Award from the State of Connecticut and a Network Publications Award from ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.) I was lucky enough to be designated a Master Teacher by PBS - WNET/13 and received a Golden Apple Award for my work with instructional video in the classroom. I taught in Westport, Connecticut for two years and was nominated for Teacher of the Year there. I was proud to receive a Rheta A. Clark Award from the Connecticut Educational Media Association (CEMA) for "outstanding contributions to the library media field."
I was very proud to have been a consultant to the Peace Corps and their philosophy of inquiry-based learning. As the public school representative on the Connecticut Association of Independent School's (CAIS) Technology Council, I was a presenter at the CAIS Technology Institute for many summers. I was a staff member at Camp Apple, a summer technology camp for teachers sponsored by Apple Education. After Camp Apple ended, I worked with friends from all over the country as we staffed edVentures in Technology, a summer experience for teachers and administrators. These professional development opportunities have allowed me to work with some of the country's best educators.
After 30 years of writing and teaching both students and teachers, I have a wide range of technology and communication skills. I can create websites and do print projects that involve desktop publishing, I can give presentations and create databases. But even more importantly, my work with teachers and kids gave me a deeper understanding of how people learn and communicate. Rainbowtech Designs is all about communicating through the art... with design and colors that support the words.
Now, I am a self-employed graphic artist and website designer. I live in St Petersburg, Florida. I have worked part-time at the Apple Store in Tampa as a One-to-One trainer. We return to beautiful Sylvia Lake in Northern New York when summer comes. I've created and managed an online community, sylvialakeny.com, and created websites for local towns, museums, organizations, and small businesses. Check my Portfolio to see them.
As it turned out, no matter where I happen to be, because of gadgets, I stay connected, be creative... and make art that communicates.