I’ve been an Art teacher for many years now, and have seen the subject change almost beyond recognition from when I first started teaching. Students now have video, web and image editing tools as well as oils, watercolours and acrylics at their disposal to tell stories and express their creativity. And the results are, quite frankly, awe-inspiring.
At my own school, we introduced digital tools to the core Art curriculum to give our students the best learning experience and early access to tools that they will be required to use when they start their careers. And we get them started young; we have students as young as eight using the likes of Adobe Flash, Dreamweaver, Premiere and Photoshop.
I tend to set open briefs for my students – firstly to give them the freedom to experiment with different digital tools, and secondly to prepare them for working life when, at some point or another, they will be faced with having to respond to a brief that requires them to problem solve and recommend a solution.
Contemporary artists are doing wonderful things integrating digital tools with traditional art materials, and this is something I try and reflect in my lessons, letting students use the media they best respond to. For one project, my class of seven year olds painted insects they saw on a trip to the Natural History Museum and then used Adobe Flash to transform those painting into animations of their bugs scurrying over a grassy background.
Some of the work my students are producing thanks to these tools is truly outstanding – check it out here http://www.artatsidcot.org/ I’ve also created a Photoshop Pingpong! teaching resource on the Adobe Education Exchange www.adobe.com/go/aeeuk which you may find useful for your school.