When Apple first introduced iBooks Author as a tool to create your own iBooks for the iPad (and now viewable on the Mac desktop), I didn’t immediately see a whole lot of use in art education. I would much rather engage my students in creative art studio experiences and skip the solitary chapter book reading about the history of art. However, after experimenting with iBooks Author, I soon discovered an iBook is so much more than just an electronic text book. It is a tool that can help deliver curricular content, differentiate learning to meet a wide range skills, assess for student understanding and growth, and even allow for students to showcase their own work.
Differentiate Instruction – Students all learn at different levels and speeds. Then why not create an iBook with a lesson that allows for students to learn at their own pace? Record yourself in a demo and outline directions alongside the embedded video. Use as an extension for early finishers, a student who misses a class, or even as a sub plan.
Showcase Student Work – Allow students to create their own iBook pages featuring artwork, video, or artist statements and share online.
Assessments Measuring Student Growth - Create assessments to check for student understanding or document progress toward a learning goal using the built in review widget within iBook Author or the sketchpad widget found in Bookry.com.
The video below shows the interactivity of iBooks I have created for my classroom:
What other uses do you see for iBooks in art education?
The following guest post, written by middle school art teacher Chris Grodoski, focuses on the consequences of high stakes testing and his inventive solution to restore the rightful place of creativity in American schools.
20 years ago, I would not have imagined the challenges that face education today. Teachers are viewed as non-experts. Powerful groups make decisions about student learning and financially benefit from these new directions. What is most upsetting is the way students are being forced into route learning and fanatically tested.
The wide-spread mania of standardized testing has minimized opportunities for students to develop creative thinking skills in schools. This has been reported by 81% of elementary teachers, 62% of middle school teachers, and 54% of high school teachers. A narrowing curriculum has minimized instruction that would have otherwise developed creative thinking in students. And yet, 85% of college-educated, employed people report creative thinking as a critical asset for their careers. 99% of school superintendents and 97% of employers view creativity as important in the workplace.
This is a huge disconnect! Socially, we want creative outcomes but nothing we ACTUALLY do in education is moving that way.
As an art educator, one strength of our field lies in fostering creative thinking through learning activities that we determine. Importantly, these learning activities based on our students and their context. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues are being evaluated according to their school’s reading and math scores. According to the Kennedy Center, the percentage of these scores on art educator evaluation runs from 10% to 90%. This is beyond unfair – it is absurd – and needs to be contested.
Some talented educators and I have been considering this problem and how to combat it. We are all practicing educators and realize we cannot adequately advocate from the classroom. We also felt that such advocacy efforts should:
- Demonstrate the value of authentic creative learning in schools in a way that administrators and legislators can value
- Empower teacher expertise in judging student learning, and
- NOT standardize teaching practices.
Last fall, we developed rateCreative as a means to do this. rateCreative offers a means to revalue creative thinking in schools. Our online tools statistically validate creative thinking skills by compiling the expert judgments of teachers.
As an art teacher, I wanted our first audience will be my colleagues, all of whom have been hit the hardest over the last decade.
Although the site has not launched yet, we have put together an introduction for your review and knowledge. Education is big business, but our feeling is that learning and community trump all. As a result, we will need the help and support of art educators in getting the site launched. Our intention is to make it a free resource for educators.
Here’s 4 ways that you can help:
1. Watch our introduction video
2. Like us on Facebook to get updates on our launch
3. If you like what you see, SHARE with others!
4. You can follow us on twitter @ratecreative
If you have any direct questions, please contact us through our website .
We look forward to advancing art education, teacher expertise, and creativity in schools with you!
Chris Grodoski is a Middle School art teacher at Franklin Middle School in Wheaton, IL and has received several awards including the Illinois Art Education Association Middle Level Art Educator of the Year in 2012 and the NAEA Middle Level Art Educator of the Year 2013.
One of my favorite ways to reinforce understanding of art concepts is through quiz games. In an earlier post I shared how to create your own art quizzes using MyStudiyo. Since then, I found another great visual quiz maker called PhotoPeach. This free online tool allows you to upload photos to create a slide show with captions and music. The quiz feature is enabled once your photos have been uploaded. I created the quiz below as a large group activity to help my students determine the differences between Realistic, Abstract Representational, and Abstract Non-objective art styles.
If you have trouble viewing the art quiz above, click here.
Want to try creating your own quiz? Start by registering for a free account with PhotoPeach. Next, upload your pictures and arrange them in your preferred order. You will then be prompted to give your slide show a title and choose a musical accompaniment. You can turn your slide show into a quiz by clicking the edit button and then selecting “edit caption and photos”. Choose a quiz question for any or all of your photos. The image below illustrates your options.
Self assessment and critique are great ways for students to reflect on their own work, comment on the creative process, or contribute to class discussion. Traditionally, I have had my students write a self assessment with various prompts on a separate piece of paper. I recently discovered the power of Google Forms for electronic collection of student responses.
Advantages of Google Forms vs. traditional pencil-paper responses:
- You’re going “green” by eliminating paper use (impress your administrator/principal)
- Integrates technology and builds 21st century skills (your students think you’re cool)
- Collects all data with student names and responses in one place (easy for you)
Here are the basic steps to create a self assessment or critique:
- Create a Google account if you don’t have one already.
- Go to Google Documents and click New, Form.
- Choose your theme and title.
- First question should ask for student name (assuming you want to know who responds).
- Continue with questions as you might in a traditional format.
- Click Done and Save.
- Email link to yourself and use link for student access. Or, if you use a website, you can get the embed link.
Watch video below for a quick tutorial.
Can’t view video above? Try edublogstv.
The reality is that your students may not always have access to a computer in your classroom. In this situation you might consider using Google Forms following a computer graphics experience during access to the Internet or provide students link to access from home. Even if you try Google Forms only once in a school year, it helps manage some paperwork and collects valuable data about your students that you can use year after year.