Technology Tips for Teachers - September  

September 14, 2011

This month I thought I would share some ideas for fusing art and technology into your classroom. As an English teacher, I use art in a variety of ways. From creating a persuasive poster for Thomas Paine's The American Crisis to creating an animal mask for plays as the class studied personification. Even though I love crayons, technology can be a creative outlet for students. I have created a webmix, Art in the Classroom, for you to get started. (Many of the sites do ask for registration and in most cases it is free to use.)

I will start the discussion of art in the classroom by looking at the different types of links I have shared with you on the webmix. Starting on the left are the black tiles, these are writing based sites, but include a visual aspect to them. There are three comic strip makers. Comics are a great way to handle vocabulary for any subject, or to create a quick storyline. But the writing can fuse with a visual medium to create a powerful emotional connection. That is what PicLits.com is designed to do. If your lesson has some aspect of student writing, these links can help.

The three purple links are for photo editing purposes. Even if the students are taking photos for science class, allowing them to manipulate the photos can spark more engagement from them.

The blue tiles are all drawing or painting sites. These sites allow the students to create without fear of messing up. Sometimes it can be beneficial to use these as a rough draft for major art projects, whether it is an art class or an English class. I go through a ton of markers and colored pencils with all the different projects I do in class. Having the students get the idea down, or to mess around with ideas in a digital way helps keep the mess in the room to a minimum and saves in supplies.

I also think that completed projects can be done digitally too. Digital art is an evolving form of expression, from movies to computer wallpapers. The red tiles are community sites for artists. What I find interesting is how much of the artwork is still traditional. Another positive is that the students also get feedback and the pride of showcasing their work.

The white tiles are iPad art apps. As much of our technology is going mobile, the art classroom can now be expanded. A student who is inspired by the scenery on a weekend trip can use their mobile devices to express that inspiration.

The brown tiles are a mish-mash of sites that have art as a main component, from games to art lessons.

The green tiles are animation sites. My favorite is Xtranormal (as a teacher you can get "free" credits if you contact them). All you have to do is type and drag action icons into your script, then let them render the information and in a few minutes you have an animated movie. I have used animation sites to allow the students to develop how they "see" the story of the book we are reading in class.

The orange tiles are actual museums. Each museum has different activities and styles of presenting their collections. Even as an introductoryactivity, viewing art can spark the students' interest.

Share your links or lesson ideas with us at ESU 10's Facebook page or contact me through twitter (jdog90).

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