• What can exploring art do for enhancing and developing career skills?
Art can touch students that are struggling in other mainline classes with exciting results. The act of keeping an art journal is a good habit for many careers and for success in many classes even college. The experience of thinking visually expands a student’s knowledge of a subject beyond the “facts”. I think that most art lessons might as well admit to constant integration or enhancement with other academic subjects. Finally the arts can demonstrate to the student and the teacher or parents the extent of gained knowledge on a particular subject. The public and positive display of a major unit of study can boost a child’s self-confidence that can carry beyond the years.
• What types of technologies have you used that shares a link with art? Include at least one link to a technology that could be used in the classroom.
One simple technology that is effective for use in the arts is simply a PowerPoint presentation made by the student. If a teacher would like students to share images, they are often very large files. But placing the images into the PowerPoint, the images are smaller and easier to submit to the teacher or for sharing with peers.
Another technology that I love using was developed using visual thinking principals. The program is called Inspiration. It is older but still effective. The program is very cost effective and free for the first few weeks. There are grants related to it, too. The idea is based on using webs to generate ideas for a project. The problem with webs on paper is that as student thinking expands to more details from discussion with peers or the teacher, it seems necessary to move the various parts. If you are constructing the web on a computer it is easy to move those parts. It is not just moving but reorganizing those thoughts, as the idea is clearer. At the beginning of a project a student does not understand which parts are the key headings. There are different symbols and colors to help that organization. All of this is visually based. Then, if required for the assignment, a student can push a button and the visual chart transforms into a detailed outline! You can go back and forth between views. I highly recommend it and there is a lower elementary version with loads of pictures to use instead of words!
• What are your "takeaways" from the article and videos?
I liked the contrast between the Dick Blick lesson plans and the course’s earlier teacher based lesson plans. Even though Dick Blick used (sometimes) expensive materials, their overall lesson plans were more developed with exciting expansion of materials. Actually, a strength was that the lessons that I explored inventively used up scraps found in many classrooms. This was like the Bill Gates' quote on the course’s page. These lessons seemed to awaken more ideas for me than the other web sites. I found myself “lost” in their lessons for so long that my classroom link dropped and I had to “make” myself get back to the next assignment! I have kept all of the web sites and blogs, but definitely plan on returning to Dick Blicks' website for the beginning of school.