I think it would be a shame to eliminate your earlier computer graphics
class. In fact I would urge you to begin the process much, much earlier,
say elementary where you can use both traditional and computer media side
by side. Consider that they are not multually exclusive.
We must be responsive to the visual culture our students are experiencing.
If not, we take the risk of becoming so out of touch with their world that
we become obsolete and quaint. - - -
I teach in a K-12 small school of about 300 students total. About 90
students in the high school.
When I began, at high school level, there was no 10th grade art, and 9th
grade art was foundational. Juniors and Seniors had painting and drawing,
and idependents returned for advanced. To create computer graphic arts
initially, a space existed for seniors.
We operate on a block schedule, have about 30 total staff. Now that I
have 10th grade computer graphic arts, I do not have 9th grade art. Its
just the way it works with available staff, academics that are required
and so forth. That would mean for me that 8th grade is the last
opportunity for students to have tactile hands on art until their
junior/senior year. No art 9th grade...the computer in 10th...
I introduce use of digital cameras, introduce photography, bulk film
loading, darkroom black and white development and so forth. I like to
take a few breaks back in my art room where I incorporate some hands on
such as how in the real world art directions of magazines might have
cartoonists or caricaturists do their freehand drawing and then scan in to
color and so forth.
Unfortunately...I don't have freedom to do much of what you suggest.
When I get many of my elementary students, the high school mac lab has
other classes in them of the highschool. Teachers feel very guarded about
access to the computer lab. The computers at the elementary level do not
have photoshop on those systems and the networking license would be too
much. Those systems have many other software programs for reading and
other academic learning experiences and can't be bogged down with larger
In an ideal situation...sure...
I think its sad to think that 8th grade is the last chance to work with
clay, or paint and so forth until 11th or 12th grade. Students only need
1/2 art credit for state graduation requirements...so their 10th grade
computer graphic arts class could satisfy that requirement. In this
case...many students may get no further art experience after 10th
grade...thus their only hands on experience to reflect back upon as adults
will be to think as far back as 8th grade.
In a system that struggles to remain viable and exist with cuts as they
are, I am seen as a valuable asset as a specialist in part because of what
I know technologically. Technology is vital in the educational mindset
Now...having been Wisconsin's Wildlife Artist of the Year in 1984, having
won our state's Inland Trout stamp, being a member of a professional plein
air association NAPPAP, having an exhibition this year in New York's
National Arts building, and teaching a painter's workshop in Whitefish,
Montana this coming September, one in August and so forth... you can
imagine how it makes me feel to know that my job security rests in how
important I am to the district for what I know about technology!
Oh...the small school and community treat me well, value the arts...but
where dollars and what programs/teachers are to be kept...well...even so,
at 50 years of age I have no confidence to buy a home.
funny how off tract I can get with a conversation! hahah...okay, but good
suggestions, appreciate it...thanks.
I just believe we need to consider seriously that administrators look at a
1/2 credit requirement for graduation and the budget...and can smile saying
kids are getting their art with a CGA class, and yet without normal art
supply expenditures. If we aren't careful, our eagerness to show how
well art and technology can be married might turn around and bite us in
For the sake of the arts...
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