Tag Archives: iPad

Year 9 Art project on paper, iPad and Pinterest

                              

Our year 9s have been working through a project in art which combines the best in hands-on activity, iPad technology and social media. Mihaela designed a project in which students worked through a process starting with research of patterns from different cultural backgrounds and culminating in the students designing their own patterns using the iPad app, iOrnament, and creating an oversized paper plane decorated with their pattern designs.

The research process encouraged students to dip into a rich and diverse cultural store of patterns before deciding on the designs of their own, and including some of the elements of water, fire, earth, air and wood. They were to select one or more of these elements to fuse with the theme of rejuvenation of the spirit and sense of self.

I relish my partnership with Mihaela, Head of Art at Melbourne High School. Every teacher librarian appreciates the teacher who is happy to collaborate, and in my case the partnership is built on respect, reciprocal interests, love of creativity and experimentation,  a desire for excellence, and determination to create a challenging process leading to a synthesis of understanding and original design. After we chatted, I was clear about what Mihaela wanted for the students and how I could support the project. I created libguides with visual examples and links to further resources to get the students started and hopefully inspired.

patterns2

My research into examples of patterns within a broad range of cultural contexts was a joyful task for me. Pinterest is a rich online resource which allows the discovery and collection of an enormous number of high quality visual examples. I searched The Grammar of Ornament on Pinterest and was overjoyed with the results.  I referred the students to the Symbol Dictionary online for a bit of research on symbolic background. Delving into the how and why is always fascinating, and often informs the direction of research.

I didn’t want to overwhelm the students so I limited my pattern examples to some of the main cultural sources, but also linked to Pinterest boards I was creating along the way. If the students chose to, they could continue to browse collections of general patterns, and also African, Australian Indigenous, Chinese, Indian, Islamic, Japanese, Maori, Mexican, Moroccan, Russian and Turkish.  One of the advantages of using Pinterest is that you can continue to add visual examples to the collection without changing the link, so students will be able to view a continuously edited collection with one url. Students can also search within Pinterest itself. Design of online resources presents the challenge of depth without overwhelming the user, and a reasonable number of external links for further research.

The students were also introduced to four artists for whom patterns were an intrinsic part of their art works. I created Pinterest boards for Shirin Neshat, Ah Xian, Ginger Riley Munduwalawala and Sangeeta Sandrasegar.

     

It’s a shame that the quality of the images in the following slideshow is not fantastic. I’ve included some general art study, such as colour theory, amongst the Pattern mix. Although you can’t read some of the text, you get an idea of the type of process journalling they have done.
The best part of this project, as far as I’m concerned, is the richness of the process. This is what I love about art – it is an example of the kind of process which should be embedded in all subjects. I was intent on documenting this patterns project in a blog post because it makes transparent what is most valuable about learning – the process of research (wondering, browsing, getting lost, refining search), working and re-working ideas and techniques, synthesizing found and created concepts and ideas, evaluating and reflecting and much more. Wouldn’t it be a smart world that required all students to study Art?
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What’s been happening – term 3 has been a busy one

I’m not the only one remarking on the lapses between blog posts. The blog is no longer the main platform for sharing and communicating – there is a long, long list of online places which need to be fed and looked after – for me that includes other blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, Scoop.it, Diigo, Slideshare, Vimeo, Libguides, Facebook and all its groups, and more. So I thought I’d drop in and do a quick update on what may be worth checking out in case it’s helpful or even interesting.

My school library blog has been keeping up with reading ambassadors for the National Year of Reading (#nyor12). These short and informal interviews are a pleasure to read, and reveal thoughtful responses to reading preferences. We’ve also recently celebrated 2012 Book Week with a hugely enjoyable ‘party’ in the library. I’ve included photos I think you’ll enjoy of our costume and cake competitions so that’s definitely worth checking out. This is the first Book Week celebration I’ve attended at Melbourne High School since I started a year ago, and it was fantastic. I was so impressed by the willingness of staff and students to dress up and play the part. The creativity displayed in our book-themed cake competition added a gastronomical dimension – who can resist cake? Yes, we did go on a bit about the cakes looking too good to eat but it didn’t last long.

I’ve been having such a good time resourcing the art curriculum in the last few months. My art blog churns out a diverse selection of inspiration to art students and teachers (I hope). This includes images, photography, design and animation.

Our students explored links to websites with antiquated encyclopedia images to create their ‘transformations’ which I combined in a slide show. The reduced image size doesn’t do justice to the details in the students’ work, so have a look at larger ones in Mihaela’s new art blog.

Yes! Our head of art now has a blog, and so do her students. This term our year 9s and 10s were lucky enough to get iPads, so we decided to get them to create Posterous blogs which we linked to Mihaela’s ‘mother blog’ and encouraged them to start snapping away with their iPad cameras so that they could develop a store of visual inspiration for their work. The beauty of a mobile device is the opportunity to capture photos as you go about your everyday activities. I’ve found the best images are the unexpected ones. I was inspired to get the art students blogging when I saw my dear friend, Marie Salinger’s, student blogs. Marie’s students have realised the rich potential of blogs in terms of journalling, reflecting, evaluating and just plain sharing. A blog is visual, it’s sequential, easy to access online and share with others; it invites responses and conversation. In her Visual Arts blog, Marie has reflected about the way in which iPads have enriched learning for her girls. The way Marie’s students used their blog to experiment with and evaluate iPad apps for drawing, then share with others, inspired me to talk to Mihaela about doing the same. Consequently I went into obsessive mode and lived and breathed art and apps for a couple of weeks, adding an Art Apps page in our LibGuides, my art blog, Pinterest, Flickr and Diigo.

Robot I am Apps used: Blender Pixeltwist                 (iphoneart.com)

Recently a dedicated team of students from the co-curricular group, Writing Competition, successfully wrote a book in a day. They had to collaboratively write at least 8,000 words and illustrate their story. The whole thing had to be done within 12 hours. I was very proud of the way they managed to work together and fuse their ideas and talents to produce a fantasy story for the Children’s Hospital. I hope to be able to share their book once I check the copyright.

Well, that’s it for now. Hope some of this has been useful to you.

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Fingerpainting is back as iArt

I was very excited to find artists using iPad apps to draw, or ‘fingerpaint’, wonderful art. In some cases these projects are collaborative – that aspect always excites me. There are people who are sceptical about technology, in terms of the quality of things produced by apps – and I have to say I was one of those who thought of art apps more in terms of sketching ideas rather than creating a serious art work – or those who rate new technologies for doing the same things they already do only online. I’ve had many conversations with these people, and I feel that there is only one way to change their minds (bearing in mind that you can’t change a closed mind, but you can certainly try to surprise their minds open) is to find amazing examples of technology-enabled projects.

Yesterday I stumbled across (don’t ask me to trace that thread back to its source) fingerpainters – artists who use the iPad and even iPhone or iPod Touch to create art with drawing/painting apps. I have these apps on my iPad and I’ve shown them to art teachers, but without an inspirational example, those apps just sit there in their folders doing not much. Of course, when you find an artist through your Google Reader of from Twitter lists, you know the discovery will lead to many more discoveries, and so I want to share some of these artists and works, their blogs and where they also live on Twitter and Flickr.

I started by discovering the artist Benjamin Rabe and his Flickr sets, including this one of finger paintings he did on his iphone or ipad. A painting on his phone!

Of course, when you discover an artist who has an online presence, they lead you to many more artists. This is how I came across the amazing Cedric Phillipe’s Flickr photostream and his fingerpaintings on his iPad and his iPod Touch. How on earth somebody manages to create an artwork on such a small screen, I’ll never know.

Mojitos

This one is done on his iPod Touch mainly using the app Brushes

This one is done on his iPad mainly using the app Brushes

Cedric has a wonderful Tumblr blog which you must see. This is where I found his stop-motion animation. What a treat!

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An impressive little set that Cedric built for his animation. Have a look at photos here.

The Helen Keller quote at the bottom of the Woven Narratives webpage nicely summarises what I consider the most exciting about emerging technologies – the collaborative aspect. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller. Woven Narratives are the collective works of artists’ collaborations using mainly iPad apps to create their art works.

Most of the works presented here were created and shared using only the iPad as a drawing and painting tool. Recent pieces have developed in three dimensions as small ‘soft sculptures’and the latest round of work has seen the development of a series of paintings on cardboard, which have been shared by post. Each of the works has travelled an average of 40,000 miles during its creation, bouncing back and forth via email or through the international postal system as its individual narrative unfolds.

Particularly interesting is the value-added aspect of this technology-enabled project:

The collaborations have helped both of us develop and extend our image making practice and have pushed our personal work into new and interesting directions. The narratives which develop throughout the process of making the works are playful, intriguing and entertaining. Many of them are hidden by the process of making, whilst others peek through to reveal themselves in colourful and often humorous ways. The result is an ongoing dialogue of signs, symbols, image-making and colour, a series of ‘Woven Narratives’, which engage the viewer in a ‘mesh’ of images and marks which share collective stories and experiences.

I can relate to the idea of process, and particularly collaborative process, resulting in new and exciting learning. Surely the experimental nature of emerging technologies is leading to new ideas and possibilities. If we allow for time to play…

In any case, have a closer look at Woven Narratives and the artists responsible. One of the artists, Jonathan Grauel, has discovered new possibilities for art making with mobile devices since an accident with a table saw left him without an index finger on his dominate hand and limited sensitivity in his thumb. When his wife and friends surprised him with an iPhone, he discovered a new joy in “finger painting.”

A blessing for art students and teachers is when artists share their art work, ideas and techniques. The blog Fingerpainted shares apps used to create art works which you can see for yourself. The About page shares the evolution of the blog. Here’s a link to the posts tagged with ‘apps’ – very useful and full of examples.

UK artist, Fabric Lenny, and US artist, Jonathan Grauel, have teamed up to produce a body of work in iPad despite the distance between them. Sketchshare is a series of 154 images which were painted simultaneously in the iPads.

You can view all these pictures done in real time in their Flickr stream.

Finally, here’s a video game fingerpainted entirely on the iPad. The music was also composed on the iPad.

I hope this post will inspire some art students and teachers. I’ll add an iPad/iPhone apps page in my online art resources very soon.

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London Unfurled iPad app – beautiful example of creative options

Here’s a wonderful example of the creative potential of iPad apps. Matteo Pericoli has created a guide to London through pen and ink sketches.

In 2009 Matteo Pericoli (author of the bestselling iconic book Manhattan Unfurled) made an intensive twenty-mile journey along the River Thames, from Hammersmith Bridge to the Millennium Dome and back again. Over two years later, he finished the most astonishing document of his journey, London Unfurled: two thirty-seven-foot-long freehand pen-and-ink drawings. (Read more here.)

I love the option to select a section of the illustration and send it as a postcard. Of course the interactivity is always a winner; students will be more engaged navigating their iPad app, zooming in to what interests them, tapping on something to find more information. Much more engaging than just listening or reading a print book.

Who said the iPad is just for consumption? I can imagine students creating their own apps, can’t you? This is the kind of project which highlights possibilities for individual interpretation which I’m excited about. It’s the direction I’m interested in pursuing with students and teachers once we introduce iPads to the school (very soon I hope!) I’m interested in how students and teachers can use apps in a transformative way, not just using technology to do things in the same way we did them before.

(Read another review here.)

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Getting ready for iPad rollout at school – exploring apps and thinking about Apple’s new iBooks Author

Unexpectedly, and on the last day of school (for me, as teacher librarian – all the classroom teachers were on holidays the week before), our principal announced at an informal meeting that we were going to put iPads in the hands of students and teachers at school, starting with all our year 9 and 10 students. Okay, so I get my iPad1 upgraded, not bad at all. It seems our school is the first to gain approval to use the government funding for technology on iPads.

As happy as I am, and as excited about the possibilities for innovative, hands-on, mobile learning, I can’t help wonder how it’s going to work – with teachers coming back to school without preparation time, time to think and plan, time to play (I don’t think too many teachers have used iPads), time to collaborate within faculties to decide on a plan of attack. Nevertheless, it’s an exciting new direction, and with Apple’s recent announcement of the iBooks Author, I wonder if digital textbook creation will ever be possible on the iPad. I’ve saved in my Diigo only a few of the many reactions from people after having read Apple’s license agreement restictions.

I’ve been doing a little thinking and researching myself. Last year I put together online resources for the use of mobile technologies in the classroom in our library’s new LibGuides. You can access these resources here (don’t forget there are 2 tabs) – yes, I’ve mentioned these before but I’ve been adding links here and there. I’ve also created other LibGuides pages which support the use of mobile technologies, eg 21st Century Learning and Digital Citizenship (multiple tabs) and these a work in progress.

Having the time to myself these holidays, time to meet with family and friends, to shop and explore, I’ve (perhaps foolishly) decided to tackle the 365 daily photo blog again. Yes, I have. But this time I decided to do what some of my online colleagues are doing, and that is use a few choice apps to quickly and easily upload photos to a blog, usually without text. I figure, yes, I miss the description and reflection, but at least this will be an easy way to document my year as well as play with photo apps on my phone. So it’s Posterous that I’m using and the app PicPosterous to upload the photo, or else you can email the photo straight to the blog. My blog is called Going round again (yes, I know, not very original). In most cases I’m not including any text, just throwing up a visual snapshot of my day.

There are so many apps for photo editing which sometimes transform a mundane subject matter into something a little more interesting. As you can see at the top of this post, I’ve been playing with an app called Kinotopic – I’m sure that photo is driving you nuts by now. You can read about what this app can do on the website but as far as I’m concerned it creates pictures like those hanging on the walls of Hogwarts, moving pictures. Very cool. Less cool is my skill at colouring what needs to move without disconnecting things that shouldn’t be disconnected. Have a go if you can, it’s fun. Heaps of possibilities for students for creativity here.

I’ve included screen shots of my photo apps –

The apps I’ve used the most are PhotoStudio, Instagram, PhotoShake, and more recently, after Kim Cofino‘s recommendation, Camera+. It’s easy to go from the photo itself on the phone to the editing and finally posting to Posterous (via PicPosterous app or email). The effects are fun and make an otherwise mundane photo look a little more interesting or at least look better with a frame.

Of course, there are so many more apps for whatever purpose, and here’s the link to the links I’ve been saving over time.

Gimmicky apps aside, teachers are interested first and foremost in applications which enable them and their students to function as they always have, eg word processing, document saving, etc. A recent Twitter discussion confirmed the popularity of Evernote to do – almost everything! Andrew Maxwell shared 100 uses for Evernote which is a handy little checklist. The Apps in Education ning has a good selection of Apps for Teachers.

Google has a suite of apps for all its different tools.

I’m getting ready to present to staff and I’m happy to do the research for what they need, but I’ll also be recommending they build their personal learning networks, join Twitter, Google+ or Facebook, so that they can ask their own questions and share knowledge and expertise. I’m hoping that the new challenges will convince them that social networking is a powerful way to learn rather than something other people do when they have no life.

If your school is using iPads, I would be very happy if you would share some of your experiences and your favourite apps for teaching and learning.

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iPad apps for problem solving

Higher order thinking is not what the students were consciously involved in while playing with iPad app games, but it’s what they were in fact doing. I gave my iPad to some of the boys at school one day and suddenly there was a small crowd standing around the player, intently involved and offering suggestions. I asked to film a small group of these boys demonstrating a few of the games. They were self conscious and so the natural banter and collaboration is lost but the demonstrations still stand. You can almost see the thinking process in action.

Rafter

Unblock Me

Glowpuzzle

Labyrinth – This one was cut short because of the glare

I think there would be a fair amount of justification for these from an educational perspective, don’t you? Physics teachers might want to look into them, for example.

Thanks, guys!

 

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Music apps on the iPad – demonstration overview

Today I met with colleague Stuart Collidge and filmed him talking about the educational applications of iPad music apps. Stuart gives an overview of what the iPad apps offer, particularly in terms of enhancement and creativity. There is an interest in what the iPad offers beyond what is already possible with other devices, and I think you’ll find Stuart’s demonstration enlightening if you teach music. Thankyou, Stuart, and I hope to be able to use your expertise to create further videos which focus more deeply on particular apps. Stuart did a great job talking off the top of his head so I’m looking forward to what he can show us with preparation.

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