November 2011 Archives

Technology in the Classroom

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For this week's reporting I found an e-journal from the UMD's online journal database about how to get creativity through technology, rather than just using technology as a tool. The article Creativity in Digital Art Education Teaching Practices by Joanna Black and Kathy Browning talks about basically using technology as a new medium (such as paint, clay, or charcoal) to foster expressive creativity, rather than just a tool. It also talks about getting teachers to move forward to the digital era, but not forgetting about the traditional methods as well.

Black and Browning introduce the problem of including technology into teaching, and how some teachers are unwilling to change. Some aspects on not taking the step forward are: "software difficulties, increasing stress, heavier teaching loads, time constraints, shortage of hardware and software, and lack of teacher support/training" (Black and Browning, 2011). To me, I feel like a lot of teachers are just unwilling to change because they want to teach how they learned, and most of them I am guessing did not use any (or barely any) technology when they were making art or going through school. I just feel like they are being stubborn almost, because of course it's hard to change your ways and learning new technology is hard and frustrating, but all of us are going through it. Maybe getting art teachers together within the local district would be a great idea so everyone can just teach each other, and share different methods.

Black and Browning go on to talk about how teachers cannot ignore this new type of literacy. I agree that as art teachers we have a responsibility to teach digital literacy through our lesson plans (creating and researching) so students can learn how this type of media is made and how to 'read' digital media. It's also about how we integrate technology into the classroom; it should be "stimulating [the] students' learning, their imagination, and the creative process"(Black and Browning). They talk about how a lot of creativity is made through experimenting with the new programs. E. Pickard expresses that "creativity requires this leap from the known, to alternatives, but to make it fully, the individual must be able to hypothesize, imagine, and appreciate the significance of one's transformational activity". I agree with his statement, because if one were to think of making an art project (doesn't matter the medium), you would think about how you would go about making that specific project (what tools you would use and what steps you would take). Without learning that medium, you wouldn't be able to even think about how to go about making that project. Through these steps, you ultimately create a project that expresses yourself creatively, while problem solving how to successfully complete the art assignment.

The problem though, is successfully using technology to foster creativity in the classroom. Black and Browning believe that there is a gap between knowing basic computer skills, and using computers or technology for art education. I agree as well; I think that just because someone knows how to use PowerPoint and use it as a tool, doesn't mean they are using technology successfully in the classroom. Technology should foster the creative process of the students. They say that educators need to take time out to learn the new software and create lessons that use this technology in a creative way.

Browning goes on about her case study Digital Applications in Elementary Visual Arts: A Case Study in Ontario and Newfoundland Schools (2006). She focused on six general elementary teachers who use digital software in their classes. The teachers used digital software to teach the principals of design (focusing on basic shapes, relationship of text to image, cut and paste, and digital photography). Although, these are not really the principals of design, they are just tools and methods of design. The educators were missing the point that they shouldn't focus on the 'how-to' of technology but rather the 'how-to' of art. Browning then goes on to talk about how she incorporated teacher training and creative use of technology in the classroom with these educators. It was a 3-year study, each year she would change the theme of the projects, then had workshops for the teachers to learn how to successfully integrate technology that related to the theme, and also included lectures from artists that related to the years theme. The first year was very strict in what the educators could actually do, and the following two years were more broad and free to interpretation. The participants all agreed that the second and third years were more successful than the first. They thought, "that teachers could interpret the broad themes easily, and these themes offered flexibility through innovative, broad, project-centered, and problem-based curricula" (Browning). It was such a success because "they focused on creative art ideas and not technology driving the curricula, [and] given freedom to shape creative digital arts programs"(Browning). I think this study is really interesting, because it shows that even when teachers work with tight rules and expectations, the results are not as successful as when given freedom to interpret.

I think this is a great article to read if you're interested in learning about using technology in a creative environment. It is great if you are on the edge of taking the step to the digital era, it really explains why it is important to foster this great tool for creative expression.

Resources:
Black, Joanna, and Kathy Browning. "Creativity in Digital Art Education
Teaching Practices
." National Art Education Association 64.5 (2011): 19-34. Web. 17 Nov 2011.

Digital Narratives Through Pixilation - Lesson Plan

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Digital Narratives Through Pixilation - Lesson Plan
Grade Level: 9th - 12th
Time needed: 7 Classes (50 minutes each)
Focus: This will focus on narrative artwork through pixilation. The students will create a unique short animation focusing on the narrative of the piece using popular tools such as Photoshop and digital cameras.

Objectives:
a. Students will be able to identify the elements in media arts such as image, sound,
space, time, motion and sequence. (0.1.1.2.1)
b. Students will integrate tools, materials, and techniques to create original products for expressive intent (9.1.2.2.2)
c. Students will create a single, complex work (9.2.1.2.1)

Motivational Resources
- PowerPoint about animation (focusing on pixilation)
- The teachers example animation
- Youtube videos
o PEZ - Human Skateboard
o Oren Lavie - Her Elegance
o Regina Spektor - Samson
o Kina Grannis - In Your Arms
-Story books (for narrative inspiration)

Art Materials:
- Computer (Mac or PC)
- Photoshop (or any open source software similar to Photoshop, like Gimp)
- iMovie (or any open sources software similare to iMovie, like Avidemux)
- Camera
- Tripod (Optional, but preferred since it will help smooth the animation)
- Costumes (Optional)

Introduction to the Lesson
Narrative art, or art that tells a story, is a very important method for telling an idea or feeling. Narrative artwork can be about historical events, or even simple situations between people. The students should be focusing on being able to tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end, and focus on vast amount of expression that can be shown through a narrative piece.
This lesson plan will focus on being able to tell a story through the stop motion technique, pixilation. The lesson will include a presentation about when pixilation was started, demonstrations of pixilation animation, and then a demonstration in Photoshop how to make pixilation animation.
The students should gain knowledge about how to make a pixilation animation, along with how to tell a story through a piece of work. The students should gain appreciation for the method of animation, along with the expressiveness of story telling.

Digital Story Telling

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This week I researched about Digital Story Telling within Art Education. This topic really interested me this week because in both my digital arts mixed media class and digital methods in art education class, we are learning about story telling. What I eventually discovered is that digital story telling has an infinite variety of different stories that could be told; The story could be fiction or non-fiction, meaning you could really make a lesson plan focused on any subject, being a historical event or totally made up.
What I first stumbled across was a blog entry from edutopia called Digital Storytelling: Helping Students Find Their Voices by: Suzie Boss. What Boss explains is basically how digital technology has changed from having big, clunky cameras to being able to have cameras in our pockets and how accessible they are. She says that this almost makes it easier, but there are still skills that come along with story telling, and that "Teachers who bring digital storytelling into the classroom are discovering what makes this vehicle for expression worth the effort. They watch students gain proficiency in writing and research, visual literacy, critical thinking, and collaboration." (Boss, 2008).
I think that this is very true that story telling can be a great way for students to learn about how to use technology in the classroom in an expressive way.
Boss then gives a list of links that gives more information about digital story telling. My favorite from the bunch was a site called The Educational Uses of Digital Story Telling. This site is for educators who want to make videos to show in the classroom, but they have great tutorials that could be used within the classroom as well. There is also rubrics for grading students work, which would be handy to have for the future.
I think these two sites are very mind opening to what story telling can be. I never thought of researching historical events for digital story telling, but that would be a great way to mix history and art. Digital story telling is a great medium for students to learn about history or to show off their personal expression. I like how it's so broad of a theme, that you can really go anywhere with lesson plans and involve a lot more in the classroom than just art!

Resources
Boss, Suzie. "Digital Storytelling:Helping Students Find Their Voice." Edutopia. 03/04/2008. Web. 3 Nov. 2011.
http://www.edutopia.org/digital-storytelling-helping-students-find-their-voice

Education Uses of Digital StoryTelling. University of Houston, n. d. Web. 3 Nov. 2011.
http://storiesforchange.net/

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