Art Opens Doors to Technology
In the Ritenour School District, an ITEF grant is helping to transform art education by integrating STEAM. STEAM education—introducing art to the study of science, technology, engineering and math curriculum—is gaining popularity among educators. In this multi-grade, multi-year project, students use Apple iPads, MacBooks, LEGO® Robotics and Story Starters during art class to increase literacy, math, engineering, robotics and computer programming.
This project is the brainchild of Buder Elementary School Art Teacher Michael Dragoni, who wanted to introduce technology to students as they learned about art.
“Mr. D.” has already seen positive changes for the students, “In working with the technology, students are less concerned with making mistakes. When you’re painting on paper, mistakes are a big deal. When you’re painting on an iPad, you can erase. For younger students, who are still developing hand/eye coordination, it can be amazing. I have also noticed that special education students have risen to the challenge. Students who can’t verbalize what they’re learning can show it through the tools.”
Some students learn about Shakespeare and make stop-motion animations of famous scenes. Others study mythology, research a chosen character then create a digital presentation for their class.
Students say this technology has given them a new way of looking at art. During their stop-motion movie project, students noted that their work made them think differently about how “real” movies are made. Dragoni sees broader changes as well, “This is a massive upgrade for our school, and the technology is in a room where all students use it. We are at the forefront of innovation, pushing the boundaries of what an art room is and what you can do with a classroom when you think outside of the box.”