Monday, March 25, 2013

Visiting Dryden Elementary Art Program with Tricia Fuglestad

On Friday, March 22nd, I had the rare opportunity to leave my classroom and go visit another. Our school art program is in year one of the three year curriculum cycle. Year one involves research, which includes visiting other programs. I follow Tricia Fugelstad on Twitter and also the arted2.0 Ning network and have seen the dynamic ways she infuses technology into the hands-on elementary art program she runs. Her website for Dryden Elementary is phenomenal and the starting point for her branding of her entire program.  She is a wonderful art advocate and marketer of art!  

It is difficult to decide where to begin.  I wanted to meet Tricia because she teaches with iPads in the elementary art room.  I think this is impressive and amazing to give those skills to the youngest artists while still preserving and developing their hands on creativity skills.  Advanced levels of problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration  were apparent in the way her program is run. Students also dabble in sound, music, acting, writing, art history and other media to create their one-of-kind animations and video projects.  They are also learning basic photography skills in elementary school!  This is awesome!  Tricia's development of her students' literacy skills (visual, oral, written) is evident too, in the many project that link to math, literature and more.  

I learned so much on Friday.  First and foremost was meeting a dynamic Art Educator, who is so willing to share with others and spread her love of art and technology to all she meets.  Tricia advocates for her program attending many School Board meetings to constantly keep her art program in the forefront of their minds.  This was a great take away....don't wait until you're invited, invite yourself often! 

Another lesson had to do with software on the mac that I've already got and have access to.  Tricia taught me some new techniques and tricks in both the Preview software and Keynote.  The Preview take-away was great as I just thought Preview was for looking at your photos.  There are actual editing capabilities that I didn't know existed.  Using Keynote for building animations that involve video and photography was great.  I learned about the Alpha Key tool which enables you to do some pretty cool green screen style effects in Keynote.  This tool also exists in Preview and is part of what I will try to incorporate into the Photography class I already teach. I also got the chance to play around on her iPad.  I've used an iPad before and I have an iPhone, but thinking and using it for making art is different than playing Angry Birds or Words with Friends.  I learned about several new things about some apps I've seen and have, but haven't played with.

Tricia also uses an Ipevo, which is a small inexpensive web camera that when connected to the computer or iPad can display the demonstrations she's presenting on the screen.  It also can be used for stop motion animation to capture the image.  I learned about iMotion app for iPad, Sketchbook Express, Doink and then the previously mentioned new ways to work with Keynote and Preview

I think my favorite "Ah-Hah" moment however, was the way that Tricia delivers her lessons.  They are all packaged and saved to her website so she can access them from anywhere and so that others can see what she is doing.  She often uses music or her own animated character of herself projected on screen while students are entering the classroom. This immediately engages students while directing them what to do and how to get ready.  Class is fast-paced with only 45 minutes of art once a week.  How lucky her students are to have such a creative teacher!

The website and the packaging of the lessons really got me thinking about developing one place to house all of the digital content that I've amassed and developed.  Tricia has a wiki, a blog, Twitter, Artsonia account, dropbox and more, but the difference is that it isn't all scattered.  It is all housed under her website.   The marketing and branding of her program and all the professional work she does to make that program happen is the biggest lesson I learned.  What a fantastic experience!

Thanks so much to Tricia Fuglestad for generously hosting my visit!

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