Tag Archives: iPad

My Learning Safari.

My mind is dizzy, filled with thoughts of Genius Hour, Design Thinking, iPad management, Augmented Reality apps, Passion Projects, Maker Spaces and baboons. I’ve been tweeting, reading, talking and photographing for days, but am still trying to assimilate all I’ve learned sufficiently to reflect and act on it all. The Learning 2.014 conference, held here at ICS, was an incredible event for international and global minded teachers. It was a meeting of minds and sharing of experiences for over 150 educators, and offered an outstanding quality of presentation, teaching and learning, exploring, innovating and connecting.

So What Did I Learn?

I learned to be open-minded and courageous, and take part in workshops and discussions where I had very little prior knowledge, knowing that I’d come away more knowledgeable than when I started. One example was a workshop on using an augmented reality iPad app. I had no idea I could do such things, and that I can do these with a class of students, even young ones. I came away filled with ideas which I will try to implement in my art room including gallery tours, and videos of students creating artwork, which can be layered with trigger images of their finished pieces. These would be great pieces to incorporate into their ePortfolios.

I learned that I’m already knowledgeable and on the right track in some areas. I am inspired by the idea of Genius Hour, Passion Projects, 20% time, student-led inquiry and interest based learning. The practicalities of implementing these ideas in my art room is what has swamped me. I know that students will learn more when they have input and choice, but how do I do Genius Hour when I see my students for under an hour each week? How to plan and store Passion Projects with 280 students? Where can I introduce choice when I have a curriculum to cover? What I learned was that I probably can’t do any of these without tweaking them. I need to take the underlying philosophy of choice, passion and student-led inquiry into my art room in other ways. I can give students more choices in either subject matter, or medium, and it doesn’t have to be both at once. I can try out 20% time, and allow students to work on independent projects every quarter or term. I can encourage students to bring their passion projects to the art room to work on them during lunchtime art studio. I will ensure that there is student-led inquiry built into our curriculum.

Learning2@ICSAddis

I learned that Creativity is key. In the art room that seems obvious, but it is possible that teaching art skills can stifle creativity. There needs to be space for students to explore new materials and learn new techniques, then use what they’ve learned to create something new. There needs to be time when students can wander on their own course, and not be always tied to following directions.

I learned to use Design Thinking in my art studio to solve real-life problems. After a session working on helping each other solve design issues in our rooms, I can transfer the same design thinking process to the art room. My own students can work together to innovate and build creative solutions for our problems.

I learned that social connectivity is as important for teachers as it is for our students. By engaging, talking, sharing and learning from each other, we all grew as learners, and as educators. Including social time in our classrooms should and could be just as beneficial.

 

 

 

 

Choice Based Art: Inquiry into Op Art

The artist of the month in our Art Studio is M.C Escher, as 4th graders are learning about and creating their own Op Art. They showed a great interest in this unit, so I decided to extend it beyond the initial activity of creating an optical illusion collage with colored rhombuses.

I set up an ‘Op Art Lab’ in the studio, where students could chose between activities, and rotate between centers at their own pace. Their choices included a Tessellation Station, Impossible Initials (based on the Penrose Triangle and Frustro font by Martzi Hegedűs), and creating a Magical Mobius Strip. Another option was a read, relax and research station, where they could browse our Art library Op Art books, or conduct research on the classroom Apple desktop. Some students had been inspired by optical illusions displayed on the Art Studio walls, and chose to try to replicate those. Towards the end of the sessions devoted to this inquiry, I introduced an iPad with the Amaziograph app, and encouraged students to try an activity in a Scholastic Optical Illusion activity book in the room.

By the end of this inquiry unit, the students had a broad experience of Op Art, as well as a great interest in the subject. They had collaborated to work on the Mobius Strip, had made connections using the Penrose triangle to write their own impossible initials, and had worked with shape, form, color and space to create tessellating patterns. Additionally, they appreciated the freedom to select their own activities, and to take the inquiry into this field in a direction of their choice.

iPads in Art: AOE Online-Class

This has been a month of discovery, challenges, questioning, frustrations and overall mind-opening experiences. Having never used an iPad at all before this class, I ran my first iPads in Art After-School class with students last Tuesday and taught a Percolator app lesson with my 5th graders. That’s a lot of progress in one month, and my confidence has soared! Additionally, I have been reading two highly inspiring books for educators: Open, by David Price, and Invent to Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager. In conjunction with this class, I feel inspired to change my teaching style to adapt to all these new ideas. I love that after 20+ years in a classroom, I can still be learning so much myself. I love that I am in a school where I am encouraged and enabled to grow professionally. I love my job!

Four apps or tools I learned:

This year I am dependent on borrowing iPads for Art from the shared school cart, so am restricted to using apps that are approved by the school. If an app is free, I can fairly easily request for it to be uploaded onto the iPads, but it is much more difficult for paid apps. We have a rubric for selecting new paid apps, but one problem is that the approved apps have to be uploaded to all the school iPads, which raises the cost, of course. Last week I was able to get Sketchbook Express and Photoshop Express onto all the shared iPads. Therefore, until I can get even a small set of iPads for sole use in the art room, I will focus on using Sketchbook Express for drawing and painting, Photoshop Express for photography, iMovie or Smoovie for movies or stop-motion, and Toontastic, Explain Everything and Book Creator for storytelling. There are a number of great apps I discovered in this class that are on my personal iPad, which I will use with my classes in a more restricted way, individually or with small groups. Adobe Photoshop Express is relatively straightforward, and has fewer drawbacks than other free apps. I have had it uploaded to all the school shared iPads and plan to use it with my after-school activity. It’s easy to create albums, has a range of filters and simply cropping and editing tools. Sketchbook Express is another app I had put onto the school iPads. My students were exploring this app last week, and really enjoyed the symmetry tool, which is just one of the neat functions in this app. I like that students have to be very creative with this app, as there are no short cuts to creating a product. I created both Flickr and Pinterest sites for my students, and am planning to use them to display the best of my student’s artwork. I will have to sync the iPads individually to my classroom desktop after each lesson, so think they will work better for me than either Artsonia or Dropbox. I also plan to use Twitter to promote my students’ art – both individually and collectively, and raise awareness of special programs and exhibitions. I can reach our parent body through the school twitter accountwhen new displays go up at school. I can also tweet about extra curricular programs like my lunch-time Art Studio and after-school iPads in Art program.

Three things I will take back to my classroom:

I already described apps and web tools I’d like to use above, so these are three other things that I have learned, and will use with my students: Learning collaboratively and sharing ideas is so stimulating and rewarding. I need to find more ways for my students to collaborate on art projects, and this can be both in the classroom, between classes in my school, and between schools. I need to balance high-tech with low-tech projects in my art room. Although my school is very high tech (especially for a school in Ethiopia), I do not have much technology in my art room beyond a computer and projector. With my new found confidence, and wide array of new ideas, this is something I intend to work to change this year and next. Pursuing a passion makes learning easy. This week I convinced my principal to schedule Art Studio time with students into my work load, to allow for individual project based learning experiences. As well as optional Art Studio lunch-time sessions, this will allow students to pursue their creative passions; and now iPads can be a part of that picture.

Two goals I have:

My professional development goal for this year is to improve my use of technology for student learning, (which is also a school goal) and communication about the elementary school art program. With this course I have gained many of the tools to achieve both goals. Last week I began an after-school activity program for students in grades 4 and 5, with one session a week for 10 weeks. To improve communication about the elementary art program, I plan to use Twitter, Flickr and Pinterest. My second goal is to improve the level of technology hardware available for my art room and art classes. I aim to get funding for a set of iPads for the art room for next year, as well as an Apple TV.

One thing I will never forget:

One thing I will never forget is my first attempt at using iPads in the art room with a class of students: The fear of facing that first lesson; the worry that I just wasn’t ready; the ease with which the lesson ran; the gleeful delight on the children’s faces as they created characters and settings, and told their stories; the success of the lesson, and the growth in my confidence.