November 2011 Archives

Technology and Teachers


I read a scholarly article that was entitled "Creativity in Digital Art Education Teaching Practices." This article discussed the lack of integration of technology into the present day art education classrooms.

Some art educators are starting to get resistant about adopting new digital techniques into their repertoire. There are numerous reasons in which this is occurring. According to Diane Gregory, part of this may be due to the No Child Left Behind Act. Since this act has been put in place, there has been a 21% decrease in funding for art education, and a 19% decrease in classroom time for art students. Another reason teachers have been resistant is due to a lack of training and access to training. The art instructors do not feel as though they have been adequately instructed on how to use new digital technology in the classroom. Educators tend to be leery of integrating new material when they don't feel 100% confident in their knowledge of the topic. One last issue discussed was the lack of software and programs available for the students. The school is not providing the art teachers with the software and programs that are necessary to introduce this new digital media to the students, mostly due to funding problems. (Black 19-34)

Integration of these new technologies is crucial in this day and age. The world is changing all around us and people are becoming more and more attached to digital technology. Some even say that teenagers these days are actually "screenagers," due to their massive amount of computer use. If teachers do not stay up to date with this technology, the students will lose interest. They will not learn how to harness their creativity into these new digital technologies. Digital media is a tool that keeps children excited about learning and keeps them current in today's ever changing society. Art educators need to take action and stop being so resistant about integrating these new ideas. I think the art teachers are just not as aware as they need to be, and that is causing the problem. There are a few ways in which this can be solved, even with the lack of funding in today's economy.

What Teachers Can Do:
Teachers can start by training themselves. Some art educators think that just because they have not been professionally taught material, that they are not suited to teach the material. Because digital technologies are ever changing, teachers need to be proactive and teach themselves. Many art educators who currently use technology in their classrooms are self taught. Art teachers need to be constantly keeping up to date with digital media techniques. There are so many great educational and tutorial sites available for teachers to learn the techniques. There are also many sites with lesson plans available to help teachers get started with integrating new programs into their classrooms. The decrease in classroom time for art educators is not something they can personally change, but they can change their lessons in order to adopt new techniques. Teachers need to be able to modify their lessons to be more efficient in times like this. If the art teacher feels there isn't enough time to integrate a completely new lesson into their curriculum, they can adjust their current lessons to add some digital technology use. This could be as simple as having the students convert a pencil drawing they did into a digital document. That at least gets the students started in working with art and technology together. The last issue discussed in the article, the lack of software and programs provided, can also be solved with a proactive teacher. If the teacher just does a little research, they will find there are many digital art programs available for free on the web. There are also programs available, such as Adobe Design Suite, which are heavily discounted for educational purposes. Also, many computers come with free programs already installed that can be used, such as Garage Band, Photo Booth, and iMovie. Even if the school does not have Macs, many equivalent programs are equipped on PCs. As long as the teacher can get access to a computer lab, they can access art related digital media.

Related Links:


Free Programs:

Tutorial Sites:

Adobe Educational Site (Lesson Plans/Tutorials):


Black, Joanna. "Creativity in Digital Art Education Teaching Practices." Art Education 64.5 (2011): 19-34. UMD Library: EBSCO. Web. 1 Dec 2011. .

Pixilation Exploration: A Lesson Plan

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My Pixilation:

Grade Level: 10th Grade

Time Needed: 4 class periods

Focus: This lesson is focused on exploring the different methods and possibilities of pixilation.

A. Students will be able to identify the elements in media arts such as image, sound, space, time, motion and sequence. (

B. Students will integrate tools, materials, and techniques to create original products for artistic purposes. (

C. Students will integrate linear and non-linear software including video- and sound-editing software to create original products for expressive intent. (

Motivational Resources:
-My Blog:
-Powerpoint (to introduce project, give history, and show examples)
-Video Examples (on blog, powerpoint, and handout)
-Assignment sheet handout
-Animation Book

Art Materials:
-Computer with Photoshop, iMovie, and Garage Band
-Props, by request

Introduction to the Lesson:
Pixilation is an animation technique in which real people are the subject in a frame-by-frame shooting method to create an animated film. The name "pixilation" is taken from the word "pixies" which is a mythological creature. They called it this because the subjects seemed to be getting moved by some unseen creature. The subject would move a little, then a picture would be shot. The subject then moves a little again, and a picture would be shot, and so on and so forth. The principle behind it is very simple and does not require any high tech computer imagery to make the animation. Pixilation has been used in two main ways: to create films, and to create music videos. Some pixilation films date as far back as 1908. Some pixilation music videos that you may be more familiar with are the 2010/2011 Kindle commercials.

One of the reasons pixilation is so intriguing is that it defies the laws of physics. Different techniques can be used to create these effects. Scooting can be created by having a person stand still with their feet together. The photographer will then take a picture. The subject then takes a small step forward and stands still once more, and another photo is taken. This action can be done repeatedly and will create a scooting effect. By having the subject lay on the ground, many effects can be created that a normal person would not be able to do, such as flying, jumping long distances, or flipping. This effect was used in the famous pixilation, "Her Morning Elegance." A final effect that can be interesting to use in pixilation is having a character appear and disappear very quickly. This can be created by shooting a frame that does not have the character in it at all, then shoot a frame in which the character is fully visible in the frame. Vice versa can be done to make the character disappear. Many more examples of neat techniques and effects in pixilation can be found online.

Lesson Plan PDF:

Vector Art

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Illustrator is a very useful program to create vector art. Vector art is the use of points, lines, and shapes, based on mathematical expressions, which create images in computer graphics. A benefit to working with vector images as opposed to rasterized images is that the size of the image can be amplified without it pixelating or losing its sharpness. One of the most important tools that is used in Illustrator when creating vector art is the pen tool. Some say the pen tool is a difficult tool to really understand. I think the best way to get used to the pen tool is to just practice, practice, practice.

Lesson Plan/Exercise:

I found an online lesson that explores the use of the pen tool. I found the lesson through the Adobe Education Exchange. The lesson itself is actually on a blog called Brain Buffet, which is an education-based blog. The lesson is almost in a game-like setup. There are four space ships in four different rectangles. Each space ship is cyan, magenta, yellow, or black. There are dividers with small openings that run down the middle. The point of the assignment is using the pen tool and handles to put a path from one space ship to another. The student cannot just click on one space ship and then click on the other and edit the handle. They must click and drag on the first space ship and guess how long the handle will need to be to connect it to the other space ship without hitting the divider.

Screen shot 2011-11-10 at 10.53.13 AM.png


I think this lesson is a good way to explore the most basic part of the pen tool in a fun way. It is almost like a game lesson, which will make the activity more interesting for students. I think this is more of like an exercise than a full-blown lesson. It could be a partial class period exercise that will go hand in hand with a more elaborate pen tool assignment. I would probably do this assignment with high school students. I think Illustrator is a little harder to understand as a program, so I think young students would have a hard time being able to grasp the pen tool.

Abode Education Exchange link:

Tutorial Video for Exercise:


Schwartz, Rob. "CMYK Wars." Adobe Education Exchange. N.p., 06/11/2011. Web. 10 Nov 2011.

Schwartz, Rob. "Illustrator CS4 Tutorials." Brain Buffet. N.p., 06/11/2011. Web. 10 Nov 2011. .

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