Monday, March 10, 2014

Technology in the Art Classroom

Technology is just a tool, we all say. But the reality is that we have to keep up with the things that grab our students' attention. At this point it's rare to find an elementary school student who can't navigate a tablet, so I love ideas that utilize my classroom iPad.

I recently installed a QR reader on my iPad, using a free app by My 5th graders are weaving, and for years I've handed my students a packet full of stitch instructions, and for years they have promptly ignored these papers. I generated and printed a QR code for the website that has these same stitches. Once I showed my students the app and how to use it they were hooked.

Looking ahead, I'd like to print QR codes to hang near artwork that's on display. A visitor in the school, assuming they have a QR reader on their device, could scan the code to learn more about the project, the artist, or the inspiration behind it. The possibilities are endless as to what we could connect.

I've also created a Pinterest board specifically for projects, activities, and other ideas that interested kids and motivated parents can do at home. There are so many things I'd love to do with my students that are too costly, time intensive, or advanced for many. But they'd be perfect for a motivated student to do with a supportive parent at home. It's been harder to spread the word to my school community about this though, as most parents don't follow my other Pinterest boards. But if I give them a QR code, they can find my board instantly.

Cool Art with the Kids - Mrs. Maurer's Pinterest Board
I think it would be a lot of fun to set up a scavenger hunt using this app. QR codes that go to plain text could give a clue about where to find the next QR code. We could even generate and print QR codes that would become part of students' artwork. When you scan the code you get an embedded message!

We are in the midst of a Flat Stanley-style project with our 2nd graders. They have mailed their "Flats" off to various people throughout the world, and are waiting for them to return from their adventures. Parents could easily help their students generate and print a QR code related to their Flat's destination. Or we might be able to use QR codes with they display their final project, to show where all our students travelled to.

It's exciting to realize the various possibilities with this simple app. With so many people carrying smart phones, it just got a lot easier to direct them to precisely what we want them to see.

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