“Remember, the final pieces will be displayed in the hallway for the entire school to see!”. Which is what I said to my students during my practicum placement for their unit’s final assignment. They had to create a beard out of the materials given to them, it was part of a cultural unit on Manitoba’s ‘Le Festival du Voyageur’. In this actual festival, there is a real beard competition where men are judged for the length and creativity of their beards. I wanted to give the students that experience while getting a chance to explain their work to me in French.
Most of the students were motivated by the competitive nature of the assignment, however, some were slacking and did not seem to put much effort into the beard. Thus, I reminded them that it will be displayed which seemed to awaken those who were unambitious. The mere idea of having others see their work was a motivating factor for them and they worked ten times harder because it would be displayed.
When reading the article by Cress (2013) on the digital domain, I could not help but think back to this beard project. How so? Well, sharing their work in the hallway could also translate to the students having to share their work on a social media platform. Subsequently, this could also open up the option of parents seeing their digital classroom gallery and for peers to give feedback and positive comments to their works of art. The idea of social connection for students now integrates both physical and online presence, it is their new definition of community (Cress, 2013). I had not thought of this idea before reading the Digital Domain article which enlightened me on the use of social media and digital art tools.
I wondered if using digital tools such as photoshop or digital drawing application would motivate students further in their quest to express their ideas in art class? Cress (2013) showed how social media could be used in tandem with old school hands-on art techniques but the article did not delve into the idea of digital tools. With some research, I found that Aboalgasm (2014) states, “Based on information from observation and interviews, the children (with one exception) felt that digital tools improved their creative ability. They were quite strongly motivated to use them by a wish to create art works, and also by the wish to improve their technological skills” (p.50). Along with Cress (2013), these articles demonstrate how technology and social media can be used in art classrooms, while improving student engagement, consequently benefiting academic outcomes.
- This website provides information on different digital tools that can be used by students to create artistic pieces. I particularly liked Google Drawings, I did not know that existed. Since many classrooms use Google Classroom, it would be a convenient and efficient tool to utilize.
Aboalgasm, A., & Ward, R. (2014). Can Digital Drawing Tools Significantly Develop Children’s Artistic Ability and Creative Activity?. International Journal of Computational Engineering Research (IJCER), 4(9), 45-50.
Cress, S. (2013). The digital domain: Using today’s technologies to inspire engaging classroom experiences. Art Education, 66(1), 40-45.