Art and technology

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Art and technology

Robyn Davis
 What can exploring art do for enhancing and developing career skills?

There are so many ways that art enhances skills.  When we think about the different types of learners our students are - art (the various forms of it) do so much to make learning easier and make it "stick."  Using visual arts can help students who struggle with language arts - it can help make connections.  Additionally our world is becoming more and more visual - careers in visual technology - graphic design, even cartooning and visual effects are a hugely growing career.  Music has been proven to help students learn and to calm those with anxiety.  Music therapy is a career that we are finding more and more uses for.  Finally, the performing arts - this is an area near and dear to my heart.  Theater is an area that can incorporate so many skills.  As we read in several of the articles, having students perform can make areas like social studies and history come to life.  Additionally, I believe that the skills learned through performing arts will help students with important career skills like job interviews and making presentations.  Students learn self-confidence and sharing of themselves - all of which are important in gaining and keeping jobs.

    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.

I love Tagxedo.    It's one of several platforms for students to create word clouds.  This one I particularly like because they have a little more control over the shapes of their "clouds."  A fellow teacher and I used this last year during our Poetry unit to have students create word clouds of words for their Mom's for Mother's day - they used words to describe her then they turned them into butterflies and flowers.  We then cut their word clouds out and pasted them onto construction paper and then the student could finish the card.
I also like Kid Pix  for free drawing.  It's not a free technology but I have taught in several districts that use this and it's fun to let the kids explore and create.  I used it with some kindergartners last year in teaching them mouse skills.  
      A new technology I'm just learning about and exploring is Flipgrid   This is a site where teachers can allow students a voice in almost ANYTHING.  Teachers create a "grid" where they have students respond and I'm seeing how it can be used for almost anything. I had my students draw a picture in response to a book we read and then they (instead of sharing it with the whole class) - they shared it with me on Flipgrid.  IT will take some more refining for me to use it more effectively but I think it has numerous applications.  
One last different type of technology I'll share about is Green Screen.  THere are NUMEROUS apps out there that are good for creating green screen movies.  I've just used DoInk (Apple app) with one of my 5th grade classes to create videos for their famous person study. In the past this has been done as a wax museum but the teacher and I chose to have them share this way.  IT was a lot of fun!  I think the kids enjoyed it as well.  This year we just used stock photos that were copyright free but in the future I think I may (especially after taking this class) have them draw their own backgrounds to use.

    What are your "takeaways" from the article and videos?

There was a LOT to take in - all of it good. I've bookmarked the articles to go back and read again at a later date.  I think the biggest takeaway is how important arts integration is for student learning -especially those with learning challenges.  I've seen with several of my autistic students that they respond better to lessons when I've allowed them to incorporate art into a response.  I am glad that there were articles about all 3 different types of art. I am not strong in the visual arts but LOVE performing arts and music.  These articles showed me ways to use them all.

 It was good to be able to mark sites to come back to next year when I'm planning lessons.  I know that I will be using this information as I think about reading books to my students and incorporating the various library and language arts skills they need to learn.  I deal with ELL and special needs students as well as low SES students - all of whom often struggle to gain the basic skills of other students.  Incorporating the ideas of the articles and videos in this section will help.