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digital artwork of pirates

Little Lord Minimus and the Pirates

If you thought you could escape ever having to delve into the digital world you are mistaken. As an artist it’s important to explore all mediums. Try them out and see how they can be integrated into your work.

Take for instance this piece I did recently. This is a combination of a pencil drawing, digital painting and retouching, resizing, 3d modeling and photography. I can’t even remember where one starts and the other stops.

My point is this, I read this article below and realized I have done something smart about my work and that is to assimilate usage of the digital tools with traditional work. The “digital natives” are here folks and we who are over forty need to adapt or find something else to do. Me?…I’m as adaptable as they come.

And now the article reposted here from the McGraw Studio Space site

Students who have grown up with electronics have been dubbed “digital natives” (Prensky, 2001). Understanding how technology has changed the way students learn and applying some of those changes to art can help motivate students. It seems like there was a time when student engagement in art was assured. Few students could resist when we offered the school day’s most novel materials and experiences—clay, glitter, and brightly colored paints. Today, however, we compete with the allure of smart phones, video games, and mp3 players. So how do we adapt so we can engage students today? Here are some tips to help teachers do just that.

Digital natives expect interesting choices, so ask for student input into content, activities, and media. Student artists often find amazing artworks on the web. Use these artworks to bring new ideas and contemporary artists into the classroom. Stimulating class discussions can come from material students have found. The art teacher doesn’t need to be the only authority in the classroom. Imagine the enriched atmosphere of an entire roomful of art researchers.

The digital native approach to information is random rather than linear, so use a web graphic organizer to organize new information. A web works well to introduce a theme or topic for beginning a project. Then students can brainstorm in groups, drawing the web on large sheets of paper with everyone adding ideas. Use internet research if a computer is available. Ask questions that lead students to find a variety of ways to connect pieces of information. For example, art history can be presented by themes instead of chronologically. Questions and facts generated by students can be posted on the wall for reference as the project is launched.

Digital natives generally prefer graphics to text, so they often avoid reading. Reading becomes more attractive, however, if it is offered in manageable portions and if it elaborates on interesting visuals. When reading is assigned, choose only the most relevant text sections and tie them directly to a compelling piece of art or a familiar graphic. After a limited time, ask students to write and/or discuss an open-ended question relating to the text and the art.

For digital natives, learning is a social activity, and they expect immediate feedback on whatever they do. This presents great opportunities for group projects: murals, mosaics, quilts, Keith Haring–style graffiti on large paper rolls, mixed-media constructions, multimedia presentations . . . the possibilities are endless! Post a rubric with possible points for each technique or element included in a project so groups can keep track of their own grades as they go. Of course, the art teacher will provide immediate and useful feedback as well.

Some art classes are filled with students who chose art and want to be there, while other classes have students who were placed there. Some art studios have a computer for every student and incorporate digital learning; others follow a hands-on curriculum or a combination. Whatever the scenario, electronics have changed the way students learn. Learning in art—whether hands-on or virtual—should stand out as the most imaginative experience, stirring wonders in the mind’s eye, inspiring sensory experiences, and connecting with the lives of students.