Who is the first one to shout, “It’s snowing!” upon seeing snow out the artroom windows? Honestly, it is usually me (I still feel that same excitement that I felt as a child). So let me be the first to shout, “It’s snowing on the blog!” And it is expected to do so through January 4. This is a little widget from our blog sponsor, WordPress. If you move the cursor around you can change the direction of the snowfall (a great virtual way to avoid the Nor’Easters we New Englanders fear). Have some fun with it and enjoy!
More technology awesomeness are the iPads we now have for the 5/6 artroom! They arrived just before Thanksgiving, which gave me the long weekend to clean and organize an old laptop cart for them and to download a bunch of apps to load with the Apple Configurator, which I did the following Monday and Tuesday. By Friday of that week, we were using them!
About 2/3 of my students are familiar with Apple mobile devices, whether iPod Touch, iPhones, or iPads. Most use them for gaming, so it is my job to show them how they can utilize them for art and education. The students are working in pairs with the iPads and as such they have each other to help learn to navigate the device.
Our first task was for the partners to use the camera to take photos of each other and one photo of the two of them together. This was fun and enjoyable for the kids. Although this literally took less than 5 minutes, the kids took full advantage of this chance to “strike a pose” for their photos (especially the fifth graders 🙂 ). After the photos were taken, partners created 3 new photo albums: one for each of them and a partners album. Because we will be creating images, it will be simple for students to save their work to the camera roll to be added to their album.
After the albums were in place, students opened the app “Art Doodles”. For many students, this is the first time they have opened an app! Once in they worked with the “Create” option, which features images in the style of Keith Haring. To create with this app, you select an image and drag it to the screen. Once on the screen you can pinch it to make it smaller or to spread it out. This was an effective app to use with partners because it is fast enough that taking turns adding images is reasonable. Once the images were created, students saved them to their albums.
All of my classes enjoyed their first experiences with the iPads, to say the least. Some were so excited to get their hands on an iPad, they were shaking. The partnerships went extremely well and everyone was on their best behavior. As the kids enter the room for each subsequent class, they eagerly ask, “Are we using the iPads today?” I expect we will use them for a full class once each week, approximately 1 of 3 times that we see each other per 6 day cycle. Once they get more familiar with them and we get the distribution and return process down to a science, I expect that we will use them for short periods within every class. For instance, I can’t wait to be able to say, “Okay class, please open Safari and type in http://www.googleartproject.com…” to visit museums around the world to see the work of artists we are studying, as well as many other activities integrated into the lessons.
While I am committed to providing a hands-on art experience for my students, I also know that many concepts can be taught with with ease and engagement on the iPad. Take photography, for example. Imagine exploring the basics of the medium with the camera on the iPad. Rather than requiring cameras, film, and chemicals, we can explore the concepts with the built-in iPad camera and digital editing apps. And the photos can be easily published to online galleries. I foresee our 5/6 grades artists using the iPads for so many things, yet I have to remember to take it slow, get the organization down, and make sure each child is comfortable with the iPad before we sprout our wings and fly…stay tuned!
Here are some images created by our students with Art Doodles on the iPads: