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Lesson Plans

Re: computer graphics

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Fri, 28 Mar 1997 18:53:39 -0500 (EST)

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Chris Maher writes:
<<I am a first year middle school art teacher. We are in the process of
building a new school and I have the chance to get 6 computers for my

Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah! This is fantastic to hear.

<<I use Photoshop, Quark, and Illustrator but I think those
programs may be more involved than I want to get.>>

Try out Fractal Design Painter or Dabbler, which is more "painterly" than
Photoshop and also uses metaphorical art tools to simulate what they already
know about traditional media. (See "Towards A Language of Computer Art: When
Paint Isn't Paint" by P.L. Rogers in Art Education for an insightful
critique of this kind of interface). But it still facilitates lovely art and
has super painterly effects.

Kid Pix is great for slide shows and animations. Hyperstudio adds a
different dimension in terms of sound, video and animation capabilities, not
to mention a great introduction to hypermedia and ideas of interconnectivity.
The Hyperstudio CD comes in some of the Apple Software bundles and so other
teachers at your school may already have it, and are not using it.

Don't underestimate what can be done with KidPix. You can still import PICT
images from digital cameras and scanners and manipulate them in interesting
ways. It also makes animation a piece of cake, by speeding up the "slide
show" feature. There is also a chance for the kids to do voice-overs to
accompany their artwork, making it a nice introduction to multimedia.

GifBuilder is a freeware application that lets you thread together GIFs from
Photoshop or other paint programs to create animations ready to load on the
world wide web. There is even software called "Flipbook" that actually
prints out cards to cut out and flip, but I haven't tried it yet.

I am just starting to observe kids using SuperPaint. I think the interface
is even more confusing than Photoshop, and the tools are gimmickier (kinda
like kidpix). Also the paint/draw dichotomy in the same program is a bit
confusing for them. I give it a thumbs down, but that's just my preference
as a Photoshop and Illustrator devotee. They are superior tools.

For desktop publishing, Adobe Pagemaker is a milder version of what you
already know in QuarkXpress. You will just have to "unlearn" some of the
neater things about Quark. Claris Works is a medium-level publisher that
they may already be familiar with from their other classes... great for
interdisciplinary work if they can take it on disk and use it on other
computers in the school. Claris also comes with a basic paint and draw
program built in, and so it imports these images seamlessly. On the very
basic end of the scale is something like Student Writing Center or Creative
Writer. Claris Homepage is my new favorite desktop publishing software... if
you know how to use Claris Works you are halfway ready to become a web
publisher! I highly recommend it as first-time web software.

BTW, I have created a nice 6-page crash course on Claris HomePage that I use
to train classroom teachers with. They are up and making web pages in
minutes. It is nice to have if you are trying out the Claris 30-day trial
demo which you can download from the does NOT come with adequate
instructions on how to use it, except for a tutorial which leaves much to be
desired. If anyone wants a copy of my crash course it is in Claris Works
format and I'll be happy to send it attached to e-mail upon request. The
Homepage software for Mac and PC is free for 30 days from the software area

BTW I have worked with 11 year olds on Quark Xpress and Photoshop with much
success... but I had the support of older students to mentor them in the same
room for extended periods of time. These may not work out within your time
frame. The kids looooved Photoshop.

Good luck in your class. I'm sure I've left something out above.... can't
wait to hear what others recommend.

Alison King
Professional Developer
Teaching Matters, Inc.

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