Mixing digital media with traditional art to communicate a message

To conclude their recent How We Express Ourselves unit of inquiry (UOI), our grade 3 students were asked to create a piece of artwork. In that artwork they were expected to be able explain the form and style of artwork they had chosen as well as to express an idea, feeling, belief, etc through their artwork

Anyone who has been to an art gallery and tried to interpret the artists’ meaning behind their work will know how hard this can be. So, to help the gallery viewers understand each piece of art, the artists (students) made a video reflection of themselves explaining their art form and idea that they were communicating. After uploading the videos from our iPads to YouTube as unlisted videos, we attached a QR code (at www.qrstuff.com) to the video link, printed the code and stuck it alongside each piece of artwork.

Parent and student visitors to the gallery were able to then scan each code with an iPad or smartphone and hear from the artist, without needing the artist to be present. This allowed us to keep the gallery open all week for classes and parents to visit at any time.

 

Kindergarten Computer Art

People share ideas through visual art. This is the understanding that our Senior Kindergarten (SK) teachers and students are working towards. Using the design process of experimenting, planning, creating and evaluating, the students have been exposed to a range of artistic medium including paint, watercolours, crayons, coloured sand over a light box, clay etc.

We have also been exploring various forms of digital art using the computers in our learning pod. Initially, we explored a variety of websites (www.3x3links.com/skart). Some of these focus on mixing colours, others on composing art pieces in the style of famous artists such as Picasso, and others more open to freeform artworks.

Students using Curious George Mix n Paint

After being introduced to the websites, the students had time to explore the variety amongst them. Many children gravitated to the Curious George Mix n Paint website which was terrific for helping students learn various colour mixes. Others loved the freedom they had to make ‘silly’ looking faces using PicassoHead, while others enjoyed the freedom of being able to paint what they wanted to in Kerpoof and ArtPad. When their art pieces were completed, the students shared their ideas and inspiration with the teacher who was able to transcribe their thoughts on to the page for them. Students were very proud to hold their final artwork in their hands after printing them out.

The Way I Feel, by Janan Cain

Stretching our thinking and understandings further, we began to explore how colours can allow us to express emotions, thoughts and feelings. With the assistance of the wonderful picture book, ‘The Way I Feel’, by Janan Cain, we learned how happy colours are bright and colourful, sad colours are dark and blue, angry colours are red and fiery, while scared colours were black and grey. After choosing an emotion to share through art, the students used Paint to create emotion based digital art work. When finished, some students typed the colours they had used and again shared their thoughts with the teacher who was able to record these for the student.

As with any technology integration, the students have not only gained a richer understanding of their central idea, but developed some key technology skills such as mouse control, keyboarding, manipulating images through software and navigating the internet.

EdTech tips and tools from the week – 2nd Sept 2011

TIPS

Reading – 6 Reasons Why Kids Should Know How To Blog

  • A great summary of why students should learn to blog at an early age. If I were to add to this, I would definitely add that blogging:
  • is a motivator to write – particularly for boys,
  • blurs the boundaries between school and home. Kids learn to use blogs as a personal expression space, which in turn allows them to feel more confident to express their learning to the world. As a teacher, you gain a wonderful insight in to who the students are as learners and as individuals.
  • allows students to see technology as a production tool (beyond word processing) rather than just a place to play games and connect with friends.

Reading – The role of ICT in the PYP

  • My apologies for those who are reading this and aren’t in PYP schools, but I don’t think I can link the PDF here due to copyright. For those of you in PYP schools, talk to your PYP co-ordinator to get your username and password for the OCC. Do a search for the document called The role of ICT in the PYP. It’s only recently (June 2011) been revised and published and I have to say that the PYP have hit the nail on the head.

ReadingNumeracy for Preschoolers (thanks to @davidwees)

  • A nice blog post from David sharing his thoughts on the importance of developing numeracy with preschoolers.

SlideshowEmbedding Digital Citizenship into Curriculum

  • While there are some slides that don’t mean much (as this is part of a workshop presentation I think) there are some real gems in there. For example, slides 11, 12 and 14, just to name a few.

 

TOOLS

File Convertors (free and online)

  • www.zamzar.com – converts pretty much any document, image, video, ebook or audio format to any other alike format. I’ve personally found it great to be able to access the information on a Microsoft Publisher file when using my mac laptop (as there is no equivalent to publisher for mac that I’m aware of). There are loads of other uses however.
  • http://media.io/ – I discovered this one earlier in the week when I needed to help a teacher convert a midi file to an mp3 format. This file convertor converts pretty much any audio format to any other audio format. Clean look and free from ads too.

Voicethread for reading records

  • I’ve come across this wonderful set of voicethreads this week, via @sherrattsam.
  • I’ve used voicethread before, and seen it used, in many wonderful ways. But the idea of using it as a collection of oral reading samples from throughout the year is terrific! Imagine at the end of the year, you’d have a great selection of books and texts that the child had read that year, each with its own picture, and then the reading sample attached to each one. When it’s completed for that year, you’d be able to sit and literally listen to the progress in reading skills and see the increasingly complex texts throughout a whole school year, in 10-20 minutes. Wonderful!