Saturday, June 3, 2017

Foster Student Soft Skills Learning with Art Education

Good piece from Education Dive...
Read the full piece at its source:

Soft skills benefit from arts education

  • A recent webinar saw Crayola Education Director Cheri Sterman, Arts Academy (PA) Multi-Tier Support Systems Specialist Nancy Horvat, and Bullis Charter School (CA) Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships Jessica Lura address the benefits of art in helping students build leadership skills and confidence.
  • According to eSchool News, the trio discussed a SEEK model that encourages students to think critically in terms of what they see and their ability to provide evidence, explain decisions made by the artist, and discuss what they know and want to know about a piece — all inquiry-based life skills that can be used in other subjects or beyond the classroom.
  • Another exercise suggested is using a viewfinder to examine everyday objects and point out their "extraordinary" qualities, exemplifying a leader's need to see things from a different point of view, as well as an exercise in which a student describes a portrait to a second student, who must then attempt to recreate it.
  • Dive Insight:

    With the increase in focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in recent years, arts education advocates have lamented ongoing declines in funding and argued for the importance of these subjects in a well-rounded education. Some have argued that the computational thinking valued in STEM can be applied in a number of other areas like music, where algorithms and pattern recognition can be used in the examination of art. Conversely, music education has been argued to boost students' math skills.
    The rise in focus on STEM skills has also seen many employers argue for equal — and perhaps even more — focus on "soft skills" around critical and creative thinking, teamwork, flexibility and empathy. These are all skills that contribute to stronger leadership ability over time and are frequently at the center of arts ed, further driving home the value for a well-rounded education over one that focuses too stringently on a set of fast-changing hard skills that are in demand today but could shift with economic needs in the future.

    Recommended Reading:

    eSchool News How art can build student leadership skills

Friday, April 28, 2017

Machine Learning to Support Student Artists? Google's New AutoDraw

(below) Good piece form Tech & Learning...

“AutoDraw is a new kind of drawing tool. It pairs machine learning with drawings from talented artists to help everyone create anything visual, fast. There’s nothing to download. Nothing to pay for. And it works anywhere: smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, etc.”
"Google’s AutoDraw: Creation Made Easier
4/21/2017 6:00:00 AM

See the icons in the logo image above? The pants, leaf, megaphone, light bulb, apple, and stethoscope? I drew them with Google’s new AutoDraw tool.

Maybe some of them look familiar, faithful reader. If so, it’s because I attempted to redraw the very same icons I’ve used in recent logos on #Schoenblog posts: a pen, fire, arrows, a lightbulb, apple, and stethoscope

AutoDraw uses machine learning to predict what you are trying to draw and match it to artists’ submissions. So while my pen and fire might have turned into pants and a leaf, my quick sketch of an apple matched perfectly. AutoDraw gave me options to choose from as I drew each image, predicting and matching my movements.

The tool’s about page explains, “AutoDraw is a new kind of drawing tool. It pairs machine learning with drawings from talented artists to help everyone create anything visual, fast. There’s nothing to download. Nothing to pay for. And it works anywhere: smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, etc.”

This GIF is from Google’s blog post introducing AutoDraw, Fast Drawing for Everyone.

AutoDraw in Education

How often do we ask students to represent things visually? AutoDraw is a great tool to help students develop visual iconographies. Whether it’s used to help develop sketchnotes, depict scenes from literature, represent a cell, or storyboard historical events, I can think of so many uses for the simple visuals that AutoDraw helps create.

While it’s machine learning features may take away from some elements of student creativity, it provides a valuable and easy way to get students started in creative or visual tasks online. Plus, it’s free and works on every device. You can also use the basic drawing features, add text, change colors, and more.

In an age where more and more we need to teach students about digital citizenship and acceptable use, AutoDraw helps us create. Although the tool matches our sketches to other artists icons, these creations appear to be copyright free. On the Control Alt Achieve post, Using Google AutoDraw for Sketchnotes, Infographics, Drawings, and More, Eric Curts notes that when artists submit their artwork to AutoDraw, they have to agree that "Drawings are my own and Google may use my drawings for any purpose." The AutoDraw about page also describes the tool as free and for everyone. I’m eager to see more clarity on copyright and fair use here, but this has a lot of potential for our students--and beyond.

Blogging & Branding

I spend a lot of time--too much probably--thinking about how this site looks and feels. In fact, a huge update to the #Schoenblog is coming very soon. One of my intentional decisions over the last year has been to brand my blog posts with a title image; each one is sized for Twitter, and they follow a similar aesthetic. In the beginning, I worried about finding other people’s artwork or ideas to help influence my look. Lately, though, I’m much more interested in simple visual iconography--just like I attempted in this post’s title.

I want to be more aware of the visual branding for this site and for how I use images or art from other sources. A tool like AutoDraw helps me be in control by evolving my ideas into simple open source icons that are easy to use. I can download them as .png files and import right into my favorite image editor. It’s free, easy, and efficient.

There’s a lot of potential for AutoDraw, and definitely room to explore more tools for creation, visual aids, and graphic design, both in and out of the classroom...."

Read the full article at its source: