Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Animation In the Classroom (DoInk)

I love teaching animation in the classroom.  As I tend to be very child-like in my personality; this is hardly surprising. There is something magical about just watching animation. But, when you take something small, add to it, add to it some more, and then make it move. Well. Then, you are the magician. It is incredibly empowering and satifying.

My Title I kiddos need all the positive empowerment they can get.  I think that is, perhaps, my biggest reason for incorporating animation and technology into the classroom: empowerment.  Many of my students love gaming and viewing animation and fantasize about "how cool" it would be to "do that when they grow up."  Yet, free (free!) technology is so advanced that they can do it now. . .And, then have a great foundational skill to build on later for a possible career.  Additionally, they, as digital natives, learn new technology more speedily and use new technology more effectively than I do; they teach me so much. 

This week, I discovered DoInk!

Did you ever learn Macromedia Flash back in the day?  Flash was one of the last classes I took in my undergraduate program.  I loved it, but was already firmly decided as a painter, so I didn't do much to pursue it after the class (mostly because Flash was too expensive for me).  Flash is still around today, but it doesn't seem to be used so much by artists as it does by web developers. You probably use Flash every day when you watch videos, but don't realize it.  My animated Art Education website is a flash-animated site.  Actually, Flash is getting a bit outdated (Steve Jobs refused to make Apple products Flash-compatible because he thought that Flash didn't offer as many opportunities as other programs). 

Anyway, DoInk! is a simple, free, online program wherein you can create easy (super duper easy) animations. There are great online tutorials as well.   I have instantly fallen in love and can't wait to teach my students how to create animations next year.

 I used this tutorial from Deep South Ed Tech's blog to create this basic animation (my very first one):

Fishy Fishy Fishy by cmsdigitalart, made at

Then, I got a little excited and made this one:

What Teachers Do on Summer Vacation by cmsdigitalart, made at

Friday, May 11, 2012

Digital David Hockney Project and Edmodo

My 8th graders have been working on a lot of digital art projects lately.  When finished, I like for them to be able to output a full color print. Depending on the lab, toner-availability, and printer concerns, this is not always possible.  Instead, I limit their color printing to the projects that are most "hallway worthy." 

Grading digital work that is not printed however, can be a bit tricky.  I've been turning more and more to as a resource for handing in digital work.  Edmodo is a facebook-like website for educators that allows us to create groups (classes/projects/assignments etc.) wherein the students can communicate and upload information. The students love it because the interface is similar to facebook and very in-line with their digital means of communication. I like it because the groups we create are entirely private and can only been seen by those who have the group code (which is given to you when you create a new group) which in my case is the students and me.  I can also share the code with parents so they can view the page. . .AND, I have total control and ability to see every tiny little change each and every student makes. It is awesome.

Furthermore, Edmodo has several teacher groups available for collaboration. . .I've already learned SO much from these groups.  Do you Edmodo? If you do, look for me in the Computer Technology and Creative Arts Communities as Ms. Johnson!  

Here is a screen shot of my 8th grade Honors Art Edmodo group (I've blacked out all sensitive information):

This week, the 8th graders have been working on a digital David Hockney photomontage project. They uploaded their completed work to Edmodo. . . And, then I selected a few for printing.  Enjoy!







Thursday, May 3, 2012

Using Code to Digitally Create in the Art Room

Have you tried out Scratch yet? Be prepared to lose yourself in awesomeness.

Scratch is a FREE (and downloadable) program designed by students at MIT to help kids learn how to use code to build. . .But without the worries of syntax errors.  Don't worry; you don't have to be code-literate to teach it.  Rather, you need to understand that coding is essentially wherein you tell the chosen item how to behave through specific commands.

I like it because:
1) it teaches my students the basics of code which may help them develop a skill needed for a career in digital technology

2) the creative applications and uses for it are literally endless

I began by teaching my students how to teach a Sprite (a chosen item; usually a character) how to move using keys. For our first big project, we are creating a simple game (I referenced the how-to guide here: )

Here is my very first game (honestly, I'd been using Scratch for 3 days when I made this; it is that easy):
Learn more about this project