Art, Culture and Technology in the Elementary Classroom

There will always be new ideas and buzzwords that drive change in education.  Teachers will forever be encouraged to incorporate the “new” as they design learning experiences for students and follow required curriculum and pacing guides. My belief is that if it increases student engagement and excitement to learn then bring it on! Here are four of the most successful ways I have woven art, culture and technology together to provide my elementary level students with engaging opportunities to learn about a everything from art history to the elephant festival in India.  I have included links with each description.  How this fits into your curriculum is up for discussion but what I have found true for me is to try first and apologize only if necessary.  Chances are you’re not going to go wrong by taking the initial risk for new learning to occur.

Stay tuned for more posts on art, culture and technology as our Inspiration Learning Lab  Makerspace Program develops.

  1. Creative Connections Art Exchange:Students Around the World Exchange Artwork to Learn About Culture This organization coordinates art partnerships with students from around the world in order to share about their culture through the creation and exchange of artwork.  They have several different options for students to participate in and range from elementary through high school participants. Through this program students can even have video conferences with their partners if their classroom has the required technology.  My 5th grade students have exchanged art for the past two years with students from Cyprus, England, Brazil, Mexico and Poland.
  2. A World of Art Student Art Show and Interactive Learning Night: Building a Global Perspective Through Culture and Art  The goal of this event is to begin broadening the exposure to different cultures from around the world for all students in our school through art. Each grade level is assigned a different country and students are creating artwork for a student art show to represent an aspect of the culture or style of art of the people from that country. In order for students to gain a global perspective they need opportunities to ask questions about different cultures and talk together during school in a safe environment. To facilitate this discussion the application called seesaw is the platform for student lead dialogue and asking questions about the countries and art students are studying in this end of year unit.
  3. Seesaw: Increasing Student Dialogue and Creating Personal Portfolios A colleague introduced this application to me two weeks ago and already students in 3rd, 4th and 5th grader are using it during art class.  It is extremely user-friendly and opens several possibilities for students to work with the app. Students need to have either laptops, tablets, chromebooks or some type of personal device that they can use during class.  I would suggest no more than 3 students per device. It is a secured space for teachers to post documents, images, links or assignments for students to interact with by commenting, posting their own documents and creating individual student portfolios.  You can even create a blog. Students have to access the application through a QR code used with shared devices or through a personal email account.  Parents can be invited to see what their children are working on and it is a great forum for students to practice digital citizenship because teachers can set their students’ work to need approval before being posted.  We are even considering ways that teachers can use the app for their own team professional development.
  4. Stop Motion GIF Animation: Stop Motion Clay Animations and Famous Works of Art Art history has never been this much fun! Students began this unit in 4th and 5th grade by creating story boards to explore the concept of an epic adventure.  Their storyboards were created using traditional drawing methods and had to incorporate the basic elements of a story; setting, characters and action. The next phase was really exciting when student used modeling clay to sculpt characters or objects that would move through their storyboards and eventually famous works of art.  Using the simple animation camera application students created stop motion GIF animations using both their storyboards and prints of famous works of art.