Ross Wallis from Sidcot School on art in the digital age

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.

About Liz Wilkins

Liz Wilkins is Senior Marketing Manager for Education at Adobe Systems UK. Her involvement with Adobe Education products has seen her work closely with a range of educational institutions, championing the use of digital media tools in the curriculum, and their integration into a number of subject areas in order to better prepare students for the future demands of the workplace. Liz works closely with teachers and administrators integrating software, curriculums, and instructional resources as well as certification options and professional development tools. Through promoting digital literacy in cross-curricular education, teaching essential career skills, and streamlining administrative processes Liz has experience working in partnership with a diverse portfolio of schools and further education institutions.
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One Response to Ross Wallis from Sidcot School on art in the digital age

  1. It seems I keep falling farther behind the times. Now 8 year olds are producing animation from drawings. It is a different world. Forty years ago learning to type in HS was the best most useful class I have ever had in my life. Now every 8 year old can type. My youngest son can fast type on his cell phone texting.

    Schools need to keep using real world application and programs so students can keep up. I am all for teaching arts and computer arts technology. I would begin to eliminate gym classes, woodshop and those types of classes. If art covers digital technology then keep art. Many schools cut art classes because they only covered painting and hand drawing. Now there is added reason to keep art in schools.

    Thanks for the article.

    Lladro