Lucky you! A computer is a classroom tool, a teaching tool and a creative
tool. Here are some ideas off the top of my head--
CLASSROOM--grades and record keeping; make available lesson material for
makeup and/or extra credit; storing lesson plans, combining, modifying them,
making notes for future reference; portfolios; classroom web pages where
students can keep a display of their best work, reports, research,etc. (or
posted on the internet if your school has one); computer slide
shows-activities, student work etc--for PTA, fairs......
TEACHING: PowerPoint; CD's; demonstrating techniques, principles, etc so
that all can see at once; making visuals, reference or inspirational
material that might be unavailable otherwise ("where do you draw a
rhinoceros's horn?" actual question <g>). It's like having a whole library
in your room....
CREATING: The graphics world has come to rely heavily on computer graphics
as a creative tool--your student need to be familiar with this. And
besides--it's a no-mess proposition<g>. I assume you are teaching K-8? Even
your Kindergartners will find computer graphics exciting and creatively
You should ask for a scanner, a color printer (and budget for ink and
paper!) and hopefully, a digital camera. You will need graphics
software--KidPix, definitely for the youngest ones (your older kids would
enjoy it too, but IMO need something with more "artistic" potential),
possibly Art Dabbler, for the middle ones.
My personal preference, however, would be to get Painter Classic and teach
even your littlest ones to use its basic painting tools. Painter 5.5 is by
far the most sophisticated painting program around--it's possibilities
boggle the mind--but even the little ones will love to work with its
simplest tools if you show them which tools they should start with for a
In purchasing software, your goal should be to purchase something which
anyone with basic computer skill can learn to use with a minimum
instruction--on a simple level. At the same time, you need something which
is sophisticated enough to allow for endless creative experimenting--and I
don't mean just special effects! (which is why I would restrict Kid Pix to
the younger ones.)
And if your budget doesn't allow for this--you always have Windows Paint.
Your kids can learn a lot about color, line, shape etc. etc. even if this is
all you have available. With only one computer in the art room, it will be
a logistics problem to give students a chance to actually use the computer
for creating art. Short of an artroom lab, 3 or 4 computers connected to
the monitior for sharing would be better.
This is getting too long, but yes, there are all kinds of possibilities-and
I've only brushed the surface....