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Wendy Rominger From Jackson Hole, WY Tells us About Her Class and Creativity Express!

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Wendy Rominger is currently teaching art in grades 6-8 in Jackson Hole Middle School in Jackson, Wyoming.  She first found out about Creativity Express through a postcard she received from an art education convention.  The program seemed to meet many of the needs she was struggling with in her own curriculum and mixed computer use with studio activities, assessment quizzes, written reflections, and creating computer images that could be stored in a portfolio.

We asked Wendy about how she uses the software in her classes and the kinds of art her kids have produced as a result. Here is what she had to say: “I have the kids create a handmade cardboard journal that houses all their Do Art activities.  I have expanded the chapter Messages in Art as a spring board for a T-shirt design using lettering t-shirtfor their own message. I see my 6th graders 2 times a week which limits how much time we spend in Creativity Express but I strive to have them all complete up to 8 chapters if I see them for a semester. It has proved incredibly helpful when I have a substitute in my room. They have commented how wonderful it was and how engaged the kids were during the class.”

Wendy has noticed that some kids take more readily to the software than others however, and that if she doesn’t keep an eye on them they will skip over sections that are more or less optional so they can get to the challenge (at least they are ambitious!). Some of the kids are also moving quickly to wait to find out more about the artists or concepts covered, but they really love working with Corel Painter and musicexpressing themselves on the computer. Interestingly, some kids prefer the idea gizmo than their own ideas for completing their art activities while others prefer to challenge themselves to come up with their own solutions. The software is flexible enough to cover both audiences and their needs! One favorite activity for all seems to be pulling the handle on the machine!

When we asked Wendy what she would tell a new teacher who had never used the program before, she recommended working through how to log students in, then unlock the chapters, explore the features of the gallery, artist cards, and how to track student scores before exposing the kids to the program.sign A digital painter program is really essential if students are going to create images on the computer. If you are wondering about the images in this blog, they come courtesy of Wendy’s students, wonderful examples of the kinds of artistic expression they found through the software.

Thanks so much for your time Wendy, and give our thanks to the students for their beautiful work!

With thanks to Circumerrostock for the sign!

Encouraging the artist within!

Rhonda Robinson: Visual literacy for a digital age

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

 

As promised last week, welcome to Madcap Logic’s second podcast, and this time with our special guest, Dr.Rhonda Robinson from Northern Illinois University. Dr Robinson works with educational technology and assessment as well as teacher training for technology and has spent her career working around ideas of visual learning and literacy.

Originally an English teacher in middle school, Rhonda was very interested in media literacy and language arts and began to pursue media production in

her masters and doctorate degree. Beginning with ‘old media’, Rhonda’s techniques now span into the digital realm, encouraging students to analyze imagery from newspapers and also video, tapping into kids’ (and their teachers’) natural creative abilities.

Rhonda has used our Creativity Express program to teach her masters students color and composition, expanding their practical orientation to consider the aesthetic dimensions of the images they and their students create. Rhonda believes that we learn first through vision but the verbal orientation of schools has privileged verbal learners. Whether or not we have natural inclinations towards art, these skills can be developed over time. Images provide us with an easy door to learning, and it may be that we learn more through them than more literary or verbal texts because we have a reduced resistance to them.

Dr Robinson therefore, believes that visual literacy should complement and supplement other forms of literacy in education to aid diverse learners in the classroom. Teachers of reading in particular, have embraced this entire collection of literacies, as have teachers of science and mathematics. Integrating technology into the classroom, as opposed to having it shut out of the lesson or considered something different, is critical as visual literacy involves not only encoding or the creation of the image but also decoding, that is, how we select meanings for the same image and messages. This is increasingly important in a digital age with our ability to manipulate images!

We hope you enjoy our conversation with Rhonda! There is much to be learned from this fascinating conversation around the renewed importance of art and visual literacy in our contemporary times and its contribution to citizenship.

With thanks to lakewentworth for his art!

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