Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Self Portraits with Technology

I've only been teaching for six years and I have seen a huge increase of technology in the classroom and in the home. When I was in high school, the Internet was still new and if you wanted to use it for a research paper, you had to go to the library. Now, I can wirelessly print a picture from my cellphone and access the internet on my t.v.. When I got an iPhone this summer, I realized just how attached to technology my high school students really can be.

Last spring I taught myself how to use iMovie and created this video about digital literacies for a graduate class.

Now that I am teaching high school full time, I have a little more access to technology (and time) and try to use it as much as possible to engage my students. Last week I had my own "aha!" moment when I stepped back from a lesson and saw that it was actually working. (perhaps thats because the day before I could only get a half step ahead of myself and had an off day.)

My Art 2 students will be designing a mixed media self portrait in the third term. The portrait part will be in pencil and I have a wide range of abilities when it comes to using value. I'd say that the majority of the class initially felt intimidated drawing themselves, even with a printed photo reference. So, I went to the internet, specifically The Virtual Instructor and gathered a bunch of video tutorials.

First we reviewed the proportions of the face.

I asked students to take notes and draw along with the instructor. This particular video was a review, as I had introduced these concepts before the holiday break.

Next we watched the tutorial about drawing eyes. High school students love drawing eyes and I think this is a great example of how planning out and applying value can really bring a drawing to life.

(This isn't the exact video, but one I could upload from youtube)

Now here is where it got fun, for me.
I paused the video occasionally to reiterate vocabulary and techniques and when the video was over, we took out the mirrors and students drew their own eye, with the information they just learned. It was awesome! I think many students were surprised by what they could accomplish. Success!

We followed this pattern over the next few classes for mouths, noses, ears and hair. All of which can be found at The Virtual Instructor. Students now have a bunch of "studies" and notes to fall back on when they are working on their final portraits after midyear exams this week.

This particular student LOVES old, vintage cartoons. He is constantly doodling. I feel like this was a great exercise for him. We talked about finding a balance between his style of drawing and realism. The eye on the top right is a wonderful example.

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