The web is full of amazing resources to enhance student learning, get organized, and connect with other educators. Instead of trying to figure out the best online tools yourself, I’ve boiled it down to my top ten favorites for art education.
1. QR Codes. These black and white pixelated squares can be found on TV, in magazines, and now in classrooms. Using a mobile device with a camera such as a smart phone, iTouch, iPad or free software downloaded on a computer, a QR code can be quickly created to link directly to text, images, or web addresses. Try it yourself by scanning QR code below:
Don’t have a QR reader? Type getscanlife.com into your Internet browser on your mobile device to download a free QR reader. Now imagine using this in your classroom by linking to online resources, creating a scavenger hunt, providing the answers to quiz questions, or extending art room learning by sending students home with QR code resources. Read my article on QR codes for additional resources and ideas on how to use them in your classroom.
3. Animoto. Want to look like a master movie-maker? Simply upload images or video clips, select music, and click to create an amazing movie. Just by registering for an educator account you get access to full-length movies without paying a dime. (If you’re looking for a good alternative, Flixtime has some very similar features with a good selection of music).
4. Blabberize. What isn’t funny about an artificial talking mouth? Start with any portrait, define the mouth area, and talk. The mouth will follow your voice. Use Blabberize to present information about an artist, convey classroom rules, or give studio instruction. While this may not change your teaching world, incorporating Blabberize into your lessons can certainly enhance instruction and get the students to take notice. Check out this brief example: (Can’t see this video? Click here).
Tip: Use a screen-cast tool such as Jing or Screencast-o-matic to record your Blabberize and save on your computer.
5. Twitter. If you want to take charge of your own learning, Twitter is the way to do it. Every resource I reference in this post I have learned because of Twitter. It is all about following the right people. See my list of art educators on twitter to get you started and develop your own PLN (Personal Learning Network).
6. Padlet (formerly Wallwisher). Want to have a class critique and involve all your students? Wallwisher lets you quickly set up a virtual “wall” so that anyone with the URL address can add a comment and interact. One of my favorite features is the ability to moderate comments, ensuring all posts are appropriate. Learn more about Wallwisher in this article and see how to embed a image in a wallwisher wall here.
7. Delicious is an online bookmarking tool I have been using for several years and blogged about it here. Since your bookmarks are accessible online, you can access them from any computer. Using multiple “tags” makes finding your bookmarks easy. Thankfully you can import your existing bookmarks into Delicious, so you won’t lose your previously bookmarked sites. (A similar, just as awesome, bookmarking alternative to try is Diigo)
8. Pinterest might just be the ultimate bookmarking tool for art teachers. Instead of bookmarking using text, images are used instead. The best way to describe Pinterest is with this video walkthrough:
9. Livebinder I first wrote about Livebinder as a way to organize digitally here. Livebinder is an electronic binder used to collect web resources or your own files in one organized spot. Here are a few examples of binders I have created for students and for my own professional reference.
10. Google Maps. I am a huge fan of Google Maps to help students connect art to our world. My favorite trick is to embed images into the placemarks on the map. Watch video on how to embed an image into Google Maps. Here is my example on using Google Maps to teach about Georgia O’Keeffe:
View Georgia O’Keeffe Life Tour in a larger map
Do you have a web 2.0 tool you can’t live without? Share it be leaving a comment below. Also, check out additional resources in my Web 2.0 Tools Livebinder:
This year was the first time I traveled outside of my home state to attend a National Art Education Association (NAEA) Conference. If you ever have the opportunity to attend, it is an experience you will never forget. Listed below are some of the my favorite activities, observations, presentations and tidbits of information I picked up from casual conversations in Baltimore:
- I had never heard about Merlot (peer reviewed online resource of teaching and learning materials). A quick search on Merlot turned up this awesome Cave of Lascaux interactive explorer.
- LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the American Visionary Art Museum. Although I was not allowed to photograph inside, I spent about 20 minutes outside admiring the sculptural forms.
Once I finally made it inside, the theme of the museum became very clear by the words and messages incorporated into the art. Watch this entertaining video featuring the art of Chris Robert-Antieau to get a feel for what the museum is about.
My favorite Visionary Museum message through art: “Some stare though me and refuse to see that we are different branches of the same tree.”
- Took the plane home with the Artsonia guys and learned some top secret plans to make Artsonia even better. (Pressure’s on guys!)
- Learned about some great web resources from Jean King. Special needs: I Can’t Draw Syndrome and ArtPromote. Character development: Powerful Projects.
- Inspired by Samantha Melvin’s teaching empathy through art curriculum.
- Discovered a timeline of Carrie Mae Weems life!
- Make your presentations Sticky by Craig Roland was a crowd favorite.
- Saw a great video presentation on Universal Design Learning by Kathy Rulien-Bareis. Her methods are very useful for creating an adaptive classroom addressing special needs. Watch her video segments one, two, three, and four.
- I got a chance to present an art experience that that incorporated science, writing, social/emotional development, and technology into the art curriculum.
Tons of additional great resources from conference presenters can be found online.
Did you attend NAEA Conference this year? What did you discover?
Since the launch of the iTunes App Store in July 2008, over 1 billion apps have been downloaded for use on the iTouch and iPhone. Currently, the App Store has 63,000 apps to choose from and it is no surprise that many of the iPhone/iTouch applications have educational value. Over the last few weeks, we sorted through our favorites to create The Teaching Palette’s Best Apps for Art Teachers, along with some tips and suggested uses.
- Love Art-Natl Gallery London This is an absolutely beautiful museum app that integrates audio and video presentations based on the collections in the museum. A great learning tool containing snapshots of a wide range of art history.
- Brushes Familiar with the New Yorker Cover that was created using an iPhone app? It was created with the Brushes painting app and tops our list. Easy to use beginning with the very young. Watch a speed portrait here.
- TypeDrawing Draw with text. This fun app uses a single letter or phrase as the drawing tool. A completely new way of drawing (and thinking about drawing). See some examples in this Flickr pool.
- TanZen Familiar with Tangrams? This app combines math and art concepts together. Move, rotate, and flip shapes to form a larger image. Great for improving spatial intelligence.
- Art (Lite version) This art history game features five famous artists. Can you identify which artist created each work of art? Master this app, then upgrade to the paid version of Art. Another nice feature of this app is the option to load images into your photo gallery for use in other applications.
- Art2Go This app is an engaging and useful presentation of 19th and early 20th century artists and their work using audio commentary. Useful for all grade levels and art backgrounds.
- Color Splash This is an extremely simple app to use with some amazing effects. Teach the principle of emphasis by isolating a single image in color while the remainder of the photograph stands in black and white. See how easy this app is to use in this video tutorial.
- Animoto Near identical to the traditional web-based version, Animoto coordinates your images to the beat of music. Great for artist presentations or student portfolios. Completed presentations can be downloaded or emailed.
- FlipBook (Lite version) This is one of the best animation apps available. Features allow for replication of images and transparency effects to see previous slide. Click here for a guided tour of the app.
- PixPop Art – This is a challenging and very fun detail detective game. Utilizing fine art, detail images line the right side of the screen while you search for the match. Work in competition mode timing yourself or work at your own pace in Zen mode.
- 3D gallery Be a curator of your own museum. Enter this 3-D room and rearrange the paintings or choose your own images from photo gallery. This would be a great tool to display artwork created throughout the year or to focus on an art time period or genre. Note: There is currently no “save” feature, but if you click your on/off button at the same time as the menu button, you can create a screenshot that saves in photos on the camera roll.
- Comic Touch (Lite version) Add some humor to art historical images or commentary to student artwork with this single pane comic creator. Save to photo library or email. Upgrade to the paid version of Comic Touch and get interesting special effects and fonts. Watch an intro video here.
- Life Strips This is a great tool for creating comic strips. Utilizes a wide variety of comic strip templates and speech bubbles. Add photos and utilize filters to for adding special effects. Even add a Google map!
- Light Painting Have you ever created a photographic light painting? While standard flashlights and LED lights work fine, this app offers additional light features otherwise hard to replicate. Use these tips and tricks to get started.
- Open Culture - Find a nice group of audio and video podcasts from well known art museums in the “ideas and culture” category. The same category also contains animated New Yorker cartoons.
- AP Mobile Create a search for “Art” and get the latest news articles from around the world. Useful app for older students to reflect on culture and current events.
- Jazz Sculptor Utilize a wide variety of virtual materials and textures to carve a sculpture from a variety of forms. Rotate image to view at a 360 degree angle. Nice exercise to understand the subtractive carving process. See the Jazz Sculptor gallery for inspiration.
- ScuptMaster3D Create three-dimensional art using a variety of colors with this virtual material that appears inspired by Henry Moore. Great way to introduce and reinforce positive and negative space concepts. View this video tutorial for an overview.
- Architect Envi Deluxe – This app organizes architecture by building name, architect, or century created. It is presented in a slide-show format with the option to learn more about the building and save in the camera roll for use/manipulation in other applications. Yet, the best feature of this app is the option to view each architectural structure in Google Maps.
- Color Sudoku Forget the numbers – this is Sudoku in color! Game has a different levels of difficulty and color schemes.
- Eyetricks This app has a nice collection of optical illusions. Good for early finishers or as intro to an OP Art unit.
- Color Wheel -This color wheel uses advanced color theory concepts to reinforce color understanding. Useful interactive app for older students.
- Brooklyn Museum Tour the collection of art at the Brooklyn Museum. ”Randomize” is a nice feature to view artwork you might otherwise miss.
- Symmetry Useful tool for teaching symmetry to younger students. Watch this video for a quick demo.
- MovieMaker This is a great tool for creating stop-motion animations and time-lapse movies. Since it requires the camera on an iPhone, this app is perhaps most useful as an extension for students who have access to iPhone technology.
- PotteryWheel While this is certainly not a a replacement for the hands-on wheel throwing experience, this pottery wheel gives the basic idea of the cause and effect.
- Artist’s Touch This app requires little artistic talent but is useful when teaching about abstract art. Non-objective to representational- reveal your image using a variety of textures and paint tools. Be sure to watch video tutorial to get started.
- Google Earth This is a great app to integrate geographic locations of artists or cultures. Watch this video tutorial to get started.
- Gallery of Painters Contains a large collection of artists that can be searched alphabetically, by century, or nationality. View basic information or link directly to Wikipedia for detail information. Useful for research.
- Juxtaposer and Juxtaposer Lite This is a fun tool for teaching about Surrealism. Reinforce juxtaposition by taking a photo of your classroom and a selecting objects from a second photo to create a Magritte-like composition. Watch this video review to see what this app can do.
Ok . . so now what? Here are some additional tips and considerations to start using the apps:
- Not all the apps are free, but once purchased, an app can be used on multiple iTouch’s with no additional charge.
- Most schools do not have access to multiple iTouch’s (yet). But even just one iTouch can be used as an extension for an early finisher or projected on a screen for the entire class to view using a document camera.
- Some students may have access to a personal iTouch or even a parent’s iPhone. Create a recommended app list for these students to try out at home. You could even tie it into an extra credit option.
- Use it yourself to create your own art or brush up on art history.
- Find useful tips, reviews, and connect with other educators using apps in education at IEAR.org
What are your favorite apps for art education?