Thursday, October 5, 2017

Art in Our Digital World

Kelly is our art teacher. She sees about 800 students a week ranging from Kindergarten through sixth grade. With only 45 minutes with each class, Kelly faces a time crunch to teach content, provide adequate time for her students to create art, and clean up at the end of each class. Lately, Kelly has been using digital art tools for some of her lessons with her third through sixth grade students.

Using technology tools in art class has many benefits. First, students are naturally motivated to explore and create digitally. Some online tools allow students to create projects relatively quickly, changing colors, shapes, and overall designs almost instantly. This allows young artists freedom to explore with less risk. Students are also able to create new work or continue working on their art projects even when they are not in Kelly’s studio because they can access their work online.

Digital technology tools also solve a great deal of problems related to materials. Just imagine the materials needed for 800 students to participate in art each week. It’s staggering! Digital tools don’t require additional materials, and students don’t require much time to clean up at the end of art either, meaning they have more time to be artists. Finally, using digital tools allows students to explore and create art in a variety of mediums. It’s also a great way to teach graphic design and media creation skills. Combining digital tools as well as traditional art projects allows young artists to experience many different aspects of art.  

Kelly has created some really interesting and engaging lessons to help her students learn how to use the art tools needed for various projects. Her fourth graders explored Sketchpad and learned how to use their webcam while also learning about a famous artist. Students used the webcam to take a picture of themselves and then imported it into sketchpad, where they drew a mustache to match the artist they read about.

Last week my fourth graders finished a digital project in the art studio with Kelly as a performance assessment for the unit “Elements of Color.” Students used Sketchpad, a program allowing artists to paint, draw, sketch, and manipulate graphics, to create an image inspired by nature. Students were expected to demonstrate their understanding of complementary colors and saturation levels.  

There are many benefits of using Sketchpad for this project. Students were able to better focus on the concept of color because Sketchpad offers a variety of shapes and images they can choose to include. Color saturation is easily manipulated digitally, and students expressed that they liked having infinite colors available to use. They weren't limited by what materials were provided, like they may have been with a traditional assignment. They liked creating art in new and different ways from the traditional art projects they made so far this year.

Check out these works in progress!

Kelly has also been using these art apps with her students:  is a great website that allows students to plan their own buildings. Students can create the shape of their building, make floor plans, and decorate the interior. This interactive website is a great way to help students see how architecture and design are forms of art.

Jacksonpollock is a famous painter known for his drip paintings. With this website, students can imitate his style without flinging paint around. Everyone wins! I made this digital painting in about 2 minutes. Give it a try! Just click to change color.
My Jackson Pollock inspired art

Kidstate is a website with numerous art applications. Kelly had her students create their own street art after learning about murals.

This is sand is an interactive sandscape website. Artists can pour digital sand in a variety of colors. Kelly challenged her students to make pictures using sand. Look at these impressive pieces! Don't be fooled- it's much more difficult than it looks.
Landscape by Melany
Minion by Elian
America by Alex

What great ways to use technology with art. Thanks for sharing your ideas, Kelly!

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