Inclusion in the Art Room

With the monies I received from the Target Arts, Culture & Design in Schools Grant I purchased 5 iPads for my Art classroom to teach digital art.   One of the lessons that I taught was how to make stop motion videos. The students loved this project. Since there are only 5 iPads and approximately 30 students in each classroom, they obviously have to work collaboratively on the project. I was concerned as to how different ability levels and personalities would work together and be creative. One of my favorite videos was produced by a group that consisted of two non-verbal students. It was amazing to watch how the other students in the group worked with them and help them communicate what and how they wanted to add to the project. They were extremely patient and sincerely concerned about how the learning support students wanted to express their creativity. This was a true success in digital art in the art room, but more importantly, in life skills for all.

Never Say “Never”!

Last year if you would have asked me how I was going to change my entire art program to include technology, I would have had a difficult time answering your question, let alone trying to achieve such a goal.  I’ve been teaching art for 18 years and doing a good job of infusing new lessons into the mix and trying new techniques.  But using technology, using iPads???  Never!  First of all, I didn’t have the knowledge of technology or iPads.  Secondly, where was I going to find the money to buy iPads for my art room?  Finally, where was I getting the confidence to take on this task!

 Well, as the old saying goes, “Never say never!” 

 After taking some graduate classes, most using technology, someone mentioned IPEVO and the new user friendly/ space saving technology that they have developed.  After pursing their web site I was happy to find the WISHPOOL.  Every month IPEVO offers a product to teachers for free.  All they need to do is express the need.  It is a short, very easy application process that took me less than 20 minutes to complete.  Within 24 hours I was happy to be the owner of the newest IPEVO document camera.

 Beginning to feel lucky and knowing the only way I was going to get iPads in my art room was to find a grant that would offer a substantial amount of money.  Our principal sends us the information about the Target Arts and Culture Grant.  In February, I decided to apply for the grant.  It took a substantial amount of time to research and develops a proposal.   By March I was ready to submit my application.  I didn’t hear from Target for months and when I received an email late in August.  I almost deleted the email thinking it was spam when I remembered my application. I was awarded the grant a few days before the iPad 5 was released.  So, with money, coupons, and 4th generation iPads the $2000 bought 5 iPads now making my art room a 1:6 iPad classroom. 

 I felt like I was on a roll, so I then decided to look into  Donors Choose is a charity organization designed for educators that are wishing for objects for their classroom that they cannot afford to pay for from their budget monies.  Corporations, foundations as well as individuals can donate to your cause. I was intrigued by the concept yet skeptical as to who would donate to a teacher in a fairly comfortable school district.  To my surprise a foundation as well as several parents and faculty members made my first project a reality in 3½ hours!  In a few weeks I will have 5 styluses to use with my students and their iPads as well as a classroom projector.

 I’ve never considered fund raising and/or grants for my classroom.  I didn’t think the process would be worth the effort.  Now, I am an advocate of the process and realize that the possibilities are endless. 

 It is rewarding to be teaching in the 21st century.