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Young CyberArtists Click, Drag, Create


Learning to use a computer mouse and printer may not sound like creativity skills, but for elementary students designing action scenes and mandalas out of digital paint and sand, making art with technology was inspiring.

“Building this collaboration has opened their minds on how to use technology in the creative process,” said art teacher Sara Goodrich, who started working together on the unit two years ago with computer teacher Nicole Andreas.

The goal: to try to fuse the two subjects, which often accompany each other in the professional world.

Career possibilities aside, learning computing basics such as clicking and dragging is a lot more interesting when creating original art, Andreas explained. “They’re creating something and they absolutely love it.”

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade get to participate in the joint unit each year with adjusted learning goals, beginning with computing basics and leading up to a digital self-portrait in the fifth grade.

Anika Bandow was happy to show off her symmetrical drawing. “It was just so much fun!” said the third-grader.

“Learning to use the computer to create a self-portrait was very complicated,” said fifth-grader Jaret Jaramillo. “It was hard to make sure I was using the right color in my monochromatic color scheme, but I really enjoyed working on this digital artwork.”

Fifth-grader Jaret Jaramillo said he ‘really enjoyed’ creating his digital portrait

Building a Foundation

Goodrich and Andreas agreed that it never hurts to get students thinking about their future at a young age. To introduce the unit, students were shown examples of how digital art is used in many industries. Andreas showed them clips from Home & Garden Television (HGTV) to get them thinking about how someone had to create wallpaper and carpet designs, along with the wall art seen at department stores.

Goodrich also explained how the unit made students aware of more opportunities to learn about digital art in one of the high school’s graphics or commercial arts class, or by enrolling in a program such as Kent Career Tech Center’s Graphic Communications Program.

“They’re opening up to the idea that there are a lot of fields related to using a computer to create artwork,” said Goodrich, who cited careers in advertising, engineering and architecture. “Art’s not just a drawing or painting, this could actually be a career.”

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Adrian Hirsch
Adrian Hirsch has been with SNN since its launch, starting as an intern from Grand Valley State University where he received a degree in broadcasting and business. After the internship, Adrian was brought on as staff to continue reporting, editing and publishing stories for SNN and Kent ISD. Adrian has been active with community radio station WYCE for years, served as Non-Profit Coordinator for GRTV, and currently works as the Web Producer for SNN.

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