Sunday, August 16, 2015

Great Free Visual Art Apps for Kids's Creativity Projects

Text below excerpted from

Some very worthwhile FREE (or almost FREE) APPs for Visual Art Learning

Grades: 1 through 8pte
Price: Free
Concepts: Investigation, imagination, making new creations
MoMA Art Lab is a free app for any budding artist or art enthusiast. It includes drawing and collage tools, art inspiration, art activities, a camera for screen capture and a gallery. MoMA Art Lab lets students take a virtual trip to the Museum of Modern Art without going to New York City. Kids can learn basic art concepts like line, shape and color while they use the tools within the app and gather inspiration to create more offline. Read the full Graphite review.


PaperBy53Paper by FiftyThree
Grades: 3 through 12
Price: Free, with in-app purchases $0.99 to $3.99
Concepts:  Making new creations, imagination, productivity
Paper by FiftyThree is a simple yet versatile digital sketchbook that has many uses both in and out of the art classroom. Designed to look and feel just like a real notebook, it features a clean aesthetic without any buttons or login screens. Kids can dive right in and make a quick sketch, note or a more substantial work of art. Kids can also share their work via social networks or well browse their peers’ work to jumpstart creativity. Read the full Graphite review.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Digital Poster: A Learning Activity for ALL Students

Integrated Arts! Project Based Learning! The Digital Poster is the ultimate 'Across the Curriculum" art activity -  Applicable for just about all grades and subject areas... and great in the Art Class, as well! Here's an article with good insights and suggestions:

See the full article at its source: 

"Let’s Present! 21+ Digital Poster Tools & Tips

7/6/2015 By Shelly Terrell

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
– Albert Einstein

The poster project is one of the most popular assignments teachers give students to show their understanding and research. I still remember the amazing posters my international teens created. They invested a lot of time and money into creating nice labels, printing and pasting colored photos, and citing their research. I was sad when they needed to be discarded, because they were too big or somehow got destroyed. This is the problem with having students work with paper and cardboard. The students can’t keep their hard work and use it for future references or publish their ideas and research for others to be inspired. For this reason, I encourage you to transform the traditional poster project into a multimedia digital research project. Many free digital tools and apps help students create multimedia posters with incredible graphs, illustrations, charts, images, labels, fonts, templates and linked research. Find some ideas and tips below along with downloadable slides to get you and your students started with their multimedia digital research projects.


  • My favorite tools for creating digital posters include Canva, Buncee, VismeTackk, Piktochart, Smore, ThingLink, Biteslides, and Glogster.
  • If you are creating digital posters with a tablet or mobile device then try these free apps-  Canva (iPad), Buncee Pro (iPad), Thinglink (iOS & Android), Pic-Collage (iOS & Android), Tackk (use on any tablet through the browser), Glogster (iPad), and Grafio (iOS).
  • Your students can also curate their research into digital boards with free tools like Educlipper, Blendspace, Pinterest, and Livebinders.
  • Before students create their digital posters, have them learn visual rhetoric and design, which covers the best fonts to use for easier reading and the importance of whitespace. ArtSkills and Canva Design School have incredible guides and resources for teaching visual rhetoric.
  • Integrate digital research and STEAM (Science, Technology, Art, and Math) by having students create infographics. Here’s a great TED Ed lesson plan featuring David McCandless’ inspiring Ted Talk about the beauty of data visualization!
  • The research becomes part of the poster when students create infographics or charts and link to their references and citations. You can easily create hyperlinks with many of these multimedia tools, but it is important students also reference their links.
  • Easily create a Works Cited page with Google Docs research tool, Cite This for Me, and EasyBib.
  • You may also want to get your students to create QR codes for people to access the Works Cited or Reference list if the poster will also be printed.
  • QR Codes can also be used to get viewers to interact with the poster. You can link to audio, video, games, or polls.
  • Teach students how to conduct digital research. The Kentucky Virtual Library has an interactive infographic that illustrates the digital research process. Use this as a guide and also my slide presentation, Research in the Digital Age, which you can download as a pdf.
  • Poster Presentations has many templates for creating digital posters on PowerPoint that can be printed.
  • Students will enjoy bringing their posters to life through augmented reality. I recommend Aurasma Augmented Reality App for iOS and Android.
  • Teach students how to remix responsibly the content of others they integrate into their posters. Find information about remixing creative commons and public domain content in my bookmarks.
Challenge: Get your students to create digital posters this year and share their research with others.
Bookmarks: Find the tools listed above and many more resources in the bookmarks below:
Poster Tools, by shellyterrell "

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Is ART an essential school subject? If you have to ask, you are hopeless!!!

Great article from PHYS.ORG
"Probing Question: Is art an essential school subject?

Because works of art are almost always 'about' something, Christine Marmé Thompson says, they can be the glue that binds the curriculum together and helps kids synthesize all of their learning throughout the day.

For decades, "reading, writing, and 'rithmetic" were considered the most fundamental subjects in American K-12 schools. These days, in order to boost our nation's global competitiveness, many schools and colleges are emphasizing STEM subjects—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math—over the liberal and fine arts. The White House has even announced the goal of increasing by one million the number of students who receive undergraduate degrees in STEM subjects over the next decade.

In light of our shifting educational priorities and, in many places, shrinking school budgets, are there still persuasive arguments to be made for the importance of as a core school subject for American kids?

Absolutely, says Christine Marmé Thompson, Penn State professor of education. "Eliminating the arts from the curriculum is short-sighted on a number of levels," she says. "Seeing art as expendable indicates a deep misunderstanding of the role it plays at the center of learning. The visual arts are a powerful language for communicating concepts and theories in any field, both during the process of being developed and once they are finished 'products' to be shared with others." Because works of art are almost always 'about' something, she adds, they can be the glue that binds the curriculum together and helps kids synthesize all of their learning throughout the day.
Many educators recognize that creating this kind of synergy between subjects helps students learn in a deeper and more well-rounded way. Thompson says this is why there's a growing movement to turn STEM into STEAM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.
To be competitive globally, we need more than a grasp of factual information; we need to raise people "who can innovate in every field, including the technical ones," she adds. The liberal and fine arts, including visual arts, are recognized as playing an important role in the development of creative thinking skills. As Thomas Friedman, author of the bestselling book The World Is Flat, put it in a recent interview, "It's not that I don't think math and science are important. They still are. But more than ever our secret sauce comes from our ability to integrate art, science, music, and literature with the hard sciences. That's what produces an iPod revolution or a Google."
"I couldn't agree more," says Thompson, one of only three art educators nationwide to be named a National Art Education Association Distinguished Fellow for 2015. "That's why I feel so strongly that schools without art education programs will narrow students' education and potential contributions to society." Art programs should be expanded, not put on the budgetary chopping blocks, she argues. "Overall, I think there is often less emphasis on making art in art classes today, for reasons that are often practical and financial, including lack of supplies and storage. There is great disparity in the ways that art is taught and provided for from one school to the next, much as there is tremendous difference in the ways that schools are funded and provisioned across the country, even from neighborhood to neighborhood. But whatever the circumstances, the work of dedicated art teachers is vital for some children, and significant for all."

Thompson directs the highly regarded Penn State School of Visual Arts Art Education Program, a Saturday art program for students ages four through eighteen. Despite the program's success, she does not view such private efforts as a substitute for art classes in the schools. "I like to think that the relationship between art in the schools and our teaching in Saturday School is reciprocal," she says. "We hope to support art teachers and we know that we build on their work. We have great success because our students are amazing, and our students are amazing thanks, in part, to their in-school art teachers who have inspired and guided them."
Private programs can, however, provide a vibrant example of "what can happen in and because of art education," she says—an example that may help persuade policy-makers and school boards of the importance of art in the schools."

"We are at a critical moment, when decisions are being made against the best advice of people who have devoted their lives to understanding children, teaching, and learning," says Thompson. "I believe this is a time when we need to listen to children, to parents, and to teachers, and to realize that the things that make children happy and proud and confident matter a great deal, and belong in schools. Every child deserves to have diverse educational experiences, including in the arts, so they can determine what they love to do and who they hope to be. That is supposed to be how America works."

Read the full article at its source:

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Augmented Reality for School Art Exhibits

Here's one I came across from edSurge - good ideas here....

"How to Bring Augmented Reality to Your School's Art Show

Our school’s annual art show comes with a twist. This year, at the third annual Spring Interactive Art Show, each student selected two pieces from their art portfolio to display—complete with QR codes and augmented reality!

During the school year, as students completed art pieces in their classes, they wrote a reflection for each. We recorded the voices of over 400 students reading these reflections on the website This website is so simple to use a kindergartner can use it, and the best part is it allows you to create a QR code right on the website, which you can even share via email, Facebook, or Twitter.
For those of you new to QR codes, let me walk you through how to use them. Before the event, I send an email to parents prior to the event to download a QR code app reader, like Inigma. I also send this art show flyer home with students.
Parents use the QR code scanner on their device (iPad or smartphone) to scan the QR code. Then they are able to hear their child talk about their art piece. Students share their inspiration for creating their projects, the materials they used, and the steps they took in creating their masterpieces.
In art shows during prior years, parents would look briefly at the art pieces. Through the use of QR codes, the parents spend a lot longer enjoying the projects, and they get a real sense of the meaning behind the pieces their children create. Our annual art show has really become a community event, and it extends learning outside of the classroom. (Learn more in a video here.)
Our 4th grade students participated in an Art Integration Residency project through COCA. The students analyzed, interpreted and wrote about artworks both famous and ones they created! The poetry is so beautiful! It's astonishing the level of expression they were able to achieve through this art immersion. The QR codes are the poems they wrote with the resident poet, Susan Grigsby, who spent 6 weeks working with students.
This year we have also incorporated Aurasmas (augmented reality). The Aurasma App allows you to take an image, and turn it into a video. Five of our students have been chosen as our Distinguished Readers. They have posters in their honor that are of them holding their favorite book. Our Distinguished Reader posters will warp the trigger image (Image Poster) into a video using the Aurasma App, and parents will be able to watch a video trailer of their child’s favorite book.
Next year we will take our art show to the next level by incorporating more writing and reflection. We want more of our students to write poetry about their artwork, or a how-to paragraph on the process, or a story about their art pieces. We also will take videos of the art creation process, and incorporate that into the art pieces. Parents can scan the artwork with the Aurasma App, after subscribing to the school channel. They will see a video of their child creating their artwork, and discussing their art...:

Read the full article at its source: 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Digital Storytelling Resources for iPad

A very worthwhile story from the blog:

"Google Makes TeleStory & Toontastic Free for Everyone....  

....Launchpad Toys announced that they had been acquired by Google. Ordinarily, this may not be of much interest to educators, but as of today, Toontastic and TeleStory are completely free for iOS devices and that includes all the in-app purchases that were previously a paid upgrade! Both apps are great storytelling apps for any classroom that uses iPads. Both apps are current favorites with educators, but their newly free features are about to earn them a whole lot of additional fans.
GOOGLE buys launchpad toys
Toontastic, if you have not previously tried it, is an amazing digital storytelling app for the iPad. Teachers everywhere love this app because it is simple to use and has a built-in story arc that actively encourage students to build a well-structured story. I have seen Toontastic used in Kindergarten all the way up to high school. Such is the versatility of this app. It is also great for one iPad classrooms because several students can collaborate on the same story on just a single iPad by taking turns to out different characters in the story. Completed cartoons can be shared online or saved to the Camera Roll for use in other projects. Take a look at the new trailer for Toontastic in the video below:

Telestory is available for both the iPhone and the iPad. It’s an augmented reality video camera that lets students run wild with their imagination. It lets kids write and record a story in a number of fun themes like a news report, a space adventure or a spy movie. Using augmented reality, students become a part of the story themselves with a variety of fun video effects, and can even switch between cameras to vary the action. Great fun, and an incredibly motivating way to tell a story on the iPad. The new trailer for Telestory is below:

Looking for more ideas on how to use these apps? Check out LaunchpadEDU. It has stories, ideas and tips from other educators that are already using Toontastic and Telestory with their students. You may even end up on this page yourself if you share the way your class uses either of these apps!
Google is now making a habit of purchasing popular paid apps and making them free for everyone to use. Snapseed and Word Lens are two recent examples of this so who knows what might be next on their shortlist. In the meantime, if you are an educator who uses iPads in the classroom, go check out the newly free editions of Toontastic and Telestory. Both are well worth your time...."

Read the full story at its source: 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Student Creates Homeless 'Solution" - The Art of Folding Shelter: Cardborigami

What a wonderful project! Student design, beautiful 3D construction, and positive social impact!
Tina Hovsepian, a designer and philanthropist, graduated from the University of Southern California with her Bachelors of Architecture in 2009. She currently works on global commercial architecture with Callison in Santa Monica, CA. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Tina always had a consuming interest in humanitarian causes, especially the plight of the homeless on Downtown’s infamous Skid Row. During her time at USC she had the opportunity to synthesize this interest with her architectural studies. In 2007 she designed and built a prototype of a temporary shelter made of folded cardboard, Cardborigami. Tina received Second Prize for Most Innovative at the 2009 USC Undergraduate Symposium for Creative Work. That was the first time an Architecture student had won an award in this school-wide category.
Photos of Cardborigami:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Shadow Puppet APP: Great for Student Story Telling Projects (Early Grades AND Higher)

Here's an easy, great way for students tell stories and to have a permanent, re-playable performance of their telling it. Students  use a digital  resource to present pictures sequentially, having put them in an order they devise to tell the story. They also record their own narration that accompanies each of the slides. Students can use either pictures they create on their own by drawing or photography OR pictures they appropriate from the Internet.

I've done projects like this over the years using PowerPoint, which works fine. Students insert a picture into each slide and PowerPoint allows them to record their voice, narrating the 'action' (story segment) on that slide separately to accompany the image. They can also keyboard in the text of their narration if they choose, as well. All of this works great, but there's a bit of a steep learning curve for both teacher and students and it can be a bit labor intensive.

Now, however, with Shadow Puppet APP this has become easier and I think much more do-able for  younger children. Take a look at a blog post from colleague, Cathy Knutson  who explains in detail how she uses this approach with 2nd Graders at Oak Hills Elementary Media Center (I love to see these things successfully done with young students!)

See the video and article below for some more info on Shadow Puppet, too.

"Shadow Puppet Is A New Storytelling App For Sharing Narrated Slideshows Of Your Photos"

"Storytelling today means crowding around someone’s phone as they describe their photos. Shadow Puppet bring that show & tell experience online by letting you share a voice-over with an animated slideshow of your pics. Built with Greylock money by Carl Sjogreen, the Googler who sold travel startup Nextstop to Facebook, Shadow Puppet let you talk people through everything from vacations to app demos.

The free iOS app combines the ease of taking great photos with the movement, audio and storytelling strengths of video. Most of us can’t film, act or direct very well, so our Vines and Instagram videos come out crappy. But anyone can make a compelling Shadow Puppet — even kids.
That’s because it’s a natural behavior, something we actually do a lot already. “Shadow Puppet really started with this simple observation: Every time we’d go out to a park or restaurant with friends, someone would get out their phone and start telling a story based on the photos on their phone,” Sjogreen explains. “It’s quite a powerful way to communicate an idea, but there was no way to replicate that experience when you weren’t with someone in person...”

"... You’re The Puppeteer
Here’s how Shadow Puppet Works:
  1. Pick a set of photos from any album on your device.
  2. Drag-and-drop to reorder them, and crop them so they look right.
  3. Record your audio voice-over providing the story behind the photos.
  4. Tap and zoom to highlight points of interest as you go through pics.
  5. Text, email, tweet, or Facebook your Shadow Puppet narrated slide show’s permalink.
  6. Friends and followers can watch your Shadow Puppet even if they don’t have the app.
The creation experience is quick, simple, intuitive and even kind of fun, as you can see in this demo. The little yellow flashes that appear when you tap as you record do a great job of letting you digitally point to things in your photos, and making them viewable through a web player will help the app grow. When you’re talking, you feel like a voice actor. You just need to remember to be vibrant like you’re on stage even though no one can see you..."

Read the full article at its source:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Kinectic Conundrum: Fantastic Tech-supported Art Project for Kids that Provides a Perfect Model of STEAM Instruction

STEAM Instruction = Science -Technology - Engineering - Arts - Mathematics Instruction
See this article for definition and explanation of STEAM>>>

Anatomy of a Project: "Kinetic Conundrum"

Art, history, engineering, language arts, and technology, both old and new, come together for eighth grade students in this rich project learning expedition at King Middle School in Portland, Maine.
From edutopia


Friday, March 13, 2015

Supporting Kids in Developing Their Creativity and Learning Creative Skills - Using Open Source Resources

Just came across this article... Looks like this group,  Youth Digital,  makes an important niche segment of Visual Art Learning available at a very accessible cost. Some great ideas  here - a fascinating read...

Image by :
"Open source tools help kids discover digital creativity

Youth Digital just moved into their new offices, tucked away in a nondescript office park in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It's a big step up from their humble beginnings, when company founder and director Justin Richards hauled a laptop to his students' houses, tutoring them on web and graphic design. Their first office was barely more than a closet, and now they have an expansive space complete with conference rooms, recording studio space, and their own 3D printer.

Teaching kids about graphic design and programming without using open source software would be prohibitively expensive. As I learned during my visit to the studio's new office, cost isn't the only reason why Richards and his team use open source tools. The freedom of creating custom application packages for their students and the opportunity to improve the software that they use means that everyone learns with the same easy-to-use technology. It doesn't matter whether they're sitting in a classroom in Chapel Hill or tuning in to Youth Digital's online courses halfway around the world.
I talked with Richards about the curriculum's open source approach, his company's humble beginnings, and how they hope to help kids all over the world learn skills that will provide better, richer opportunities as they become adults.

Let's start at the beginning. What got you into technology and design?

Toy Story, pretty much. When I was a kid, Toy Story came out. When I saw that, it was so awesome. My dad was a computer programmer and I loved art and computers, and to see the potential to tell a story through 3D models was insane. I wanted to learn how to do it, and there was nowhere to learn it. All I could find were videos on YouTube about Flash animation. So I tried that, learned a little ActionScript, and did not like that. It wasn't Pixar, obviously.
So I looked at game design and couldn't find a lot of stuff. Then I went into web design and found this big book on CSS and HTML. I scoured YouTube and forums and spent hours of frustration making a website. I built it from start to finish, and that was such a great learning experience....


What called you to become a teacher?

I never necessarily wanted to be a teacher, actually, but I love teaching web design. In St. Louis, we were given these massive, poorly written binders, and I was supposed to teach thirty 8 year-olds web design with them. So we put those away, and instead, I wrote a website really quick, and changed the curriculum so that by the end of the first day, the kids had their homepage, and by the last day of the class, they published it. Every one of our courses since then has been built around that idea: do something tangible on the first day, and on the last day, publish it. Just to give that sense of a real world project.

What sort of tools do the kids use in your courses?

We want something that will give the kids that authentic, professional skillset, but also something that doesn't cost them a thousand dollars or is too intense for them. We've gravitated toward open source tools that mirror professional standards. We use Gimp, Inkscape, Eclipse, and Blender. We use Blender because other tools are $3,500. Some offer educational discounts, but a lot of our kids don't have the correct credentials to get the free version of, say, Autodesk. And we love Blender, because not only can we customize it for those young kids, but we can also make it so that it mirrors anything else they'd use in the industry. If you learn the pen tool in Inkscape, that's the same pen tool in Illustrator or any other vector program you'd use.
Overall, we're more focused on teaching kids the fundamentals of design and development as opposed to how to use a certain type of software. Depending on where you work and who you work for, the software's going to be different, or the language will be different..."

Read the full article at its source:

Monday, February 23, 2015

New Arts Standards Involve Technology

From District Administration magazine:

"Students will dance, act and design with core arts standards...

...Updated National Core Arts Standards add media arts such as animation, film, gaming and computer design"
< Student Animation with PowerPoint? Yes! That and many other applications of technology already in place in the classroom used to produce wonderful Art Projects are detailed in the book
" You think math and English have high standards? Try the arts.
The National Core Arts Standards were released in October. They update the initial standards released in 1994, which included instructional guidelines for dance, music, theater and visual arts.
The new standards add media arts such as animation, film, gaming and computer design. They emphasize developing artistic ideas, refining them, and following projects through to completion. They also require students to analyze artworks, including by examining societal, cultural and historical contexts.
Tight budgets and a fierce focus on standardized testing in math and English have led many district leaders to cut back on arts education in recent years. But advocates hope to help districts refocus on arts instruction that fosters innovation, creativity and collaboration.
All 50 states have some arts standards, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. However, many have not been updated in decades, and implementation varies widely.
For example, only some states provide funding for mandated art classes. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia required arts credits for high school graduation in 2014. And 17 states assessed student learning in the arts that year.
The updated standards are not connected to the Common Core, but they promote the nation’s college and career readiness goals for students, says Marcia McCaffrey, president of the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE).
“Employers are looking for students who are creative and innovative, who can take a process or project from beginning to end and understand all of the steps of revision, refinement, completion and collaboration,” says McCaffrey, who is also an arts consultant for the New Hampshire Department of Education.
The standards outline an age-appropriate progression of artistic study. They also provide a foundation for curriculum, instruction and assessment from preschool up through high school.
For example, dance standards start with preschool students improvising a routine that stops and starts on cue. By the end of high school, students should be able to design and choreograph original dances, and explain how their choices are used to intensify artistic intent..."

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Art helps kids with behavior problems... Not a Surprise!

"Art therapy may help kids with behavior problems"
"Reuters Health) - School-based art therapy in the UK is helping troubled kids get back on track, a new study suggests.

Begun in 2002, The Art Room program is aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 16 who have been identified by their teachers as needing emotional and behavioral support.

Currently there are nine Art Room programs in UK schools. More than 10,000 children have been through the Art Room program since it started.

In a study published in the journal The Arts in Psychotherapy, researchers found that children emerged from the 10-week Art Room program with less depression, fewer behavioral problems and improved self esteem.

The Art Room provides a caring and creative environment through which children can “learn and achieve through art,” said Melissa Cortina, a consultant research psychologist with The Art Room, which is based in Oxford, England...."

Read the full article at its  source: