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Imagine That!

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By Erica Wiggins, Board Member – Round Rock Area Arts Council

IMAGINE 2013: An Evening of Art and Music will take place on Friday, February 22, 2013 from 7-9:30 PM at Texas State University Round Rock Campus, which is located at 1555 University Blvd. in Round Rock, TX (see MAP). A celebration of visual and performing art and music from Round Rock and surrounding areas, the evening consists of a juried art exhibit, musical and theater performances and a silent auction. More than $1500 in artist prizes will be awarded and $5,000 in grants to nonprofit performance groups will be announced. Light refreshments, beer and wine will be served. Admission is free but donations are encouraged at the door.

Imagine 2013 Signature Artwork

Imagine 2013 Signature Artwork: Agave Movement by Micheal Hammons

A VIP reception occurs from 5:30-6:30 PM prior to the main event. A $250 donation to the Round Rock Area Arts Council (Round Rock Arts) provides tickets for two to an elegant wine and refreshments party and an opportunity to bid on silent auction items and take them home if the reserve price is met prior to the opening of the auction to the general public. (Click on the Donations tab at roundrockarts.org to make a donation and qualify for the reception.)

In 2008, the Round Rock Arts organization chose the signature annual event name “Imagine” to symbolize how Round Rock could evolve into an arts and cultural center. During the past three years, an arts plan for the city has been developed with the goal of more access to visual and performing art venues in the area. Over the next three to five years, the city of Round Rock, together with Round Rock Arts and other city and community groups will help implement the plan.

More Information

Artwork submissions are being accepted through February 8, 2013. Click here for further details.

The exhibit will remain at Texas State University Round Rock Campus through May 17, 2013.

For more information about Round Rock Arts, and to donate for tickets to the VIP reception, visit www.roundrockarts.org.

About the Round Rock Area Arts Council (Round Rock Arts):

Made up of a grassroots group of dedicated and diverse individuals, the non-profit, 501 c 3 designated Round Rock Area Arts Council was formed in January 2009. The organization promotes art and performing venues in the city, facilitating regular gatherings with all art groups located in Round Rock.  The goal of the organization is to encourage, support and enhance arts and cultural activities in the Round Rock area to transform the city into a thriving arts and culture scene. With stellar annual performance and art shows behind them, successful Chalk Walk events in October 2010, 2011 and 2012,  monthly art exhibits at ArtSpace in downtown Round Rock, and grants awarded to Round Rock based art non-profits, art initiatives in Round Rock are increasingly supported by city government, corporations, and artists alike. With two theater groups, two symphonies, a community choir, and talented artists whose works are displayed in various venues around town, this “Sports Capital of Texas” has hit a home run in encouraging the creative class.

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The Abacus, the Overhead Projector, and Classroom Technology

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By Jael Perales

Classroom Technology at RRCThe Round Rock Campus is set to host the Technology for Today’s Classroom workshop on Saturday, April 28. This full-day workshop will address topics related to technology and education, and that got me thinking about my own experiences with technology as a student.

My first calculator (well, besides my own brain) was the easiest thing I could get my hands on; namely, my fingers and toes. As you would expect, the math eventually became harder than what my 10 digits could manage, so the next tool provided to me was a basic calculator. You know the type, perfect for doing all kinds of adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and apparently something to do with %. But this too was insufficient to tackle the math problems of middle school. Once algebra came into my life, the ol’ number cruncher had seen better days. So, once again, I upgraded, and this time perhaps more than I needed to. You see, I began competing in calculator-based academic competitions, so the tool provided to me was the kind that could handle problems beyond my grade level. I was solving equations, converting units, tackling trigonometry…and I hadn’t even met those issues in my own mathematics classes! And yet, even then, I was limited in what I could do. To advance further as a mathematics competitor and eager, young scholar, I needed something that could handle bigger equations, more complex situations, matrices, and, eventually, graphs. Thus came the powerful graphing calculator and, so it seemed, near limitless capabilities.

But, as luck would have it, I went on to college and was presented with a whole new array of problems. Real-world physics problems to be more precise. And I must say, even the powerhouse that was my graphing calculator was unable to stand up to the challenge. At this point, the only other powerful computational engine available that wasn’t the human brain was, you guessed it, the personal computer. I was introduced to a computer program that could handle giant, complex, mountains of math as easily as I can click the mouse attached to the computer I am writing with now. Suddenly, I looked at newer, more ambitious mathematical projects with a sense of boldness I had never known before.

It is only now that I see the neck-and-neck race that had been occurring in my academic experiences. The technology I used in math seemed to be the deciding factor in what level of math I could study. Or was it that the level of the math determined the tools that were required? It is no secret that technology and education go hand in hand. What one can teach is often directly related to what one can use to teach and learn. When the abacus was the primary tool for doing math, what a student was expected to learn and do was miles behind what most elementary students can handle today. The educator was limited in what he or she could teach. But, as we have all seen, when the technology available to both students and educators advanced, so too did the level of information being taught. In other words, I can teach a 3rd grader how to handle multiplication problems with a calculator that the student may have never been able to accomplish with just an abacus.

Classroom equipment has also experienced significant upgrades. I remember my teachers working out math problems on an overhead projector and showing slightly dated science videos on VHS. Now, teachers can display a computer desktop on a hardwired screen and use their hands or other devices to draw students in with high-tech visuals and up-to-date streaming videos. Advances such as this allows teachers to draw on a wealth of knowledge and visual aids like never before, which not only improves the way they can teach and keep students engaged, but also allows them to teach content that would otherwise have been too high-level.

And you, ever plugged-in college student, how much more useful to you is an educational environment that synchs up with the technology you are accustomed to already? Class projects posted on a social media platform, textbooks on e-readers, and class participation using smartphones. These are just some of the many ways educators can interact with students in and out of the classroom. And “out of the classroom” learning is key in expanding what educators can teach and students can learn. In reality, technology is even expanding the classroom itself.

For educators, the first response to this reality is pretty straightforward. With all the technology out there, where does a teacher or professor even begin? A good place to start is at the upcoming Technology for Today’s Classroom workshop. The event, sponsored by Kappa Delta Pi, Dell, and ePals, is a full-day technology workshop with hands-on exploration and sessions that address 21st Century Learning.  The current list of speakers includes teachers from AISD, PISD, RRISD, DELL, and ePals, with more to come. The event will be held on Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Texas State University Round Rock Campus. Registration is free for all Texas State Education majors, but space is limited. Go to http://www.planetreg.com/E4414551083153 to register. The registration deadline is April 22, 2012 at 10:00 p.m. I encourage you to take advantage of this great opportunity. Expanding what educators can do in the classroom is the key to expanding the capabilities of students. I personally can’t wait to see the abacus of tomorrow!