Technology in the Artroom

Term: 1 Year: 2018

As art educators we are blessed with the responsibility to deliver a curriculum to young people that is inspiring, enables them to be inquirers and includes processes that are contemporary and cutting edge. John Lasseter, the chief creative officer of Pixar, Walt Disney Animation, and Disneytoon Studios once said,  ‘The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.’ As I am an educator of boys, engagement is of upmost importance; our students live in a fast paced, technology-rich environment with everything on hand. So, how do you find ways to challenge their thinking and provide them with new and interesting tools to express themselves through art?

Throughout 2017, I not only introduced my students to new tools but broadened my own knowledge too. The Year 6 boys explored typography and graphic design in a media unit and also incorporated the Makey Makey device. With this technology the boys were able to add sounds to their artwork using Scratch and coding. At our annual art exhibition, this provided their audience with a new way to interact with the artwork. The Year 5 boys investigated video game characters and how they are created for different audiences. Within this unit, the boys used a 3D printer to create representations of their designs as well as incorporate LED lights with copper tape circuits.

The needs of boys are at the forefront of my mind when I develop each specific unit. The inclusion of technology and tasks that enable the boys to be active and engage with their art making through tactile means is crucial.
The Year 3 boys investigated movement in art; whether the artwork itself had movement or the art making process involved movement. Tom Shannon was an inspirational artist for this unit, with his mechanical pendulum. The boys engaged in discussions around his work and how they could build their own device. The squeals of excitement echoed across my art room when we used a rig that hung from my art room ceiling. Not only did this enable the boys to work collaboratively, predict and ask questions, they were also able to make creative choices in the way the pendulum moved. 

They produced individual paintings with smaller PVC pipe rigs where they noticed that the design was different and were able to investigate different patterns further. Within this same unit, the boys designed clocks and transferred them into digitally printable files for the 3D printer. This task unearthed questions about everyday items and when these objects make the transition from the everyday to works of art.
At the end of each school year when we are looking towards the next, I know I will be taking a moment to think of the amazing world we live in and what new and contemporary experiences I can share with my students.

Olivia Siddaway 
Visual Arts Teacher
Trinity Grammar, Kew

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