Although many schools across the nation have computer labs, the practice of integrating technology into art class still isn’t prevalent. However, technology can be a great tool in the art classroom.
According to each age level, students can learn about art by pairing it with technology. After students learn an age-appropriate art history lesson, they can translate their knowledge into projects of their own, using software and freeware on the Internet.
Older students, from 6th grade to high school, can begin learning design programs like the the Adobe Creative Suite to edit original photographs, or create graphic advertisements and other types of artistic compositions.
- Paint.net – For Windows. Similar to Adobe Photoshop. Supports layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of tools, from Lasso to Gaussian Blur.
- The GIMP – For Windows, Mac OS X, & Linux. Similar to Adove Photoshop. Supports channels, layers, masks, more than 100 filters and effects, tabbed palettes, RAW support, editable text tools, and color operations such as levels.
- Inkscape – For Windows & Mac OS X. Similar to Adobe Illustrator. Vector based software that supports paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns, and grouping.
- KompoZer – For Windows, Mac OS X, & Linux. Similar to Adobe Dreamweaver. A web-authoring program that supports easy html-editing with a one-click Publishing icon, one-click buttons for Image insertion and Table/Form creation, font (size and style), and a site manager.
For younger students, mainly Primary and Intermediate school, interactive games, like Art Edventures, are useful. These games allow students to learn how great artists created their famous works, while learning tips and techniques for creating their own art.
- Age Group: Primary School
- Project Focus: Tesselations
- Have the class research the history of tessels on the Internet. Tell them to include discussions on the beginnings of tesselation, artists like M.C. Escher, and how tessels apply the principles of symmetry. Lastly, show students how they can make tessels of their own on the computer.
- Plugins or software, like Tesselmania, can guide students through the process of making tesselations.
- This is not only a way to teach art history and symmetry, but it’s also a great tool in the field of mathematics and geometry.
- Tip: Compiling all the information about tesselations onto a classroom website or blog would create an easy classroom web-project. Designing the site could be a way to make this lesson appeal to older students, who could create design mock-ups of how the website should look and break up the information.
Free Download! Download a free trial of the Tesselmania program here
Preschoolers can write their own short stories on a curriculum topic they have been learning about. They can pair their storybook with illustrations designed on the computer, and print it out when completed. There are plenty of kid-friendly art programs to help young students with the illustrations for their story. Kid Pix and Storybook are just two of these programs that help children make a fully illustrated storybook of their very own.