Rob Schwartz

Art focus in Tech courses

Hey everyone...

This year there are a lot of changes that need to come to my program. I've spent so much time being so technically focused in the last 14 years teaching- but now I need an art focus. 

How much time do you guys spend on art concepts vs the technical stuff? 

5 / 5 • 4 Ratings

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Ahmed Belal

Posted on 11/28/18 7:36:02 PM Permalink

​Thanks for Sharing

Joan Maresh Hansen

Posted on 8/10/13 10:31:26 AM Permalink

As an introduction to the art/technology course, a discussion of "Why Study Art?" was given. Therefore problem solving and higher order thinking was our focus as a necessity to bring about innovation and invention into our future. We talked about famous inventors and artists and those who came up with something new that changed the world. We then reviewed the concepts of the right/ left brain hemispheres well presented in the work of Dr. Betty Edwards in her book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." Next, we talked about the elements of art ( as parts of a work of art that can be named; line, shape, color, value, etc.) then how the rules for putting these parts together are the principles of art. Following those discussions, the technology is introduced as a tool to " problem solve" the assignment to come up with a varied outcome. A simple introductory example was how the tool bar was introduced as the students did a four step "flip book" animation. They learned to use keyboard shortcut commands to cut, copy, and paste their changing sequence of characters while simultaneously exploring the tools of a painter program. Although the assignment was only 4 cards, the students were exceeding that requirement with over 250 cards. They were engaged, excited, and learning the technological tools while generating imaginative solutions.

These flip book animations could be used to introduce their multimedia presentation titles, credits, or could serve as a commercial for their intended topics. Ben did his title to an original cartoon series " Stupid Guy" which can be seen at: t />

Tarek Bahaa El Deen

Posted on 4/21/13 9:06:44 PM Permalink

In graphic design Teaching specially for print media

first part : design concept and design principals (creative Thinking)

second part : how you can manipulate your idea by digital tools (graphic, image processing & desktop publication software)

third part : good knowledge about preprees & printing process (to make a design able to publish without any trouble)

Judy Durkin

Posted on 12/17/12 12:41:13 PM Permalink

I spend about 50% of the time teaching design basics, and 50% of the time teaching the software. I spend a heck of a lot of time giving feedback on their design projects.

This is all great stuff.

Liz Moore

Posted on 9/11/12 7:51:38 PM Permalink

Teaching how to creatively think is the most important, then art concepts for art classes then taking both of these and teaching the tools of technology to present and using them to learn is next. I do love the Adobe Creative Suite in any version.

Thomas Joseph

Posted on 8/8/12 4:31:43 AM Permalink

I as a Music teacher find myself devoting more time in teaching some sheet music rather than making students create their own music. Well it’s a very interesting topic for all teachers who teach Art subjects to debate on as to what is more important in art, teaching to be creative or just make art very stereotype.

marcia blanco

Posted on 8/5/12 9:05:20 PM Permalink

I'm taking your advice, Rob and posted my first year curriculum on the resource page. It's a pdf file but we map using Rubicon Atlas and that is the format that it's laid out in. Let me know if you have a hard time following it.

Also, I'm sorry it took a few days. Summer stuff happily got n the way.

Kris Fontes

Posted on 8/21/12 10:12:12 PM Permalink


I commented on your posting, but wanted to reiterate how nice it is to see people openly sharing their stuff.

Russell Sadberry

Posted on 8/4/12 4:34:43 PM Permalink

We have been teaching the Design part in all of our Techology classes. Digital Graphics, Web Design, Desktop Publishing, Mulitmedia and Video Production.

I have attached the PDF version of our presentation. If you would like the actual Powerpoint, email me and I will send it to you.

Russell Sadberry


Language of Design.pdf

Alice Wilson

Posted on 8/18/12 6:33:08 PM Permalink

Very good teaching tool! Thanks for sharing.

marcia blanco

Posted on 8/1/12 4:02:39 PM Permalink

My philosophy is that technology is the tool my students learn to use and those tools are dynamic. Within a few years, a lot of what they've learned technologically will be obsolete. The job skills they are pursuing is creative development and that's where the art comes in. The kids I teach are from a very rural, conservative district and trying to get them to think non-linearly has been a real challenge. I'm just starting to see some success.

First semester, we work a lot on design elements and principles. The major units are drawing, photography, videography, typography and color. I deemphasize the computer as much as I can but we have to use it to cover concepts in color, typography and for the grunt work in photography. However, I'm not teaching the software as such. The kids are just learning enough to get the job done. Second semester, we emphasize the software more. I teach Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign as their own units. I've found that there is more context that way. I hear a lot less "why do we need to know this?" when they've struggled to do design work without the digital toolbox.

I also get them for a second year. That's when they apply the design concepts with the technology for web design and animation. (Not quite true. I have fantasies about students getting into animation, but I haven't been able to achieve that level yet.)

Would you like to see my syllabus?

Rob Schwartz

Posted on 8/1/12 5:21:40 PM Permalink

Of course Marcia... but why don't you post it as a resource and get yourself some Ed Exchange street cred? :)

Just send us a link once you post!:) Few will find it in here if it's the only place you post it!

Janet Galasso

Posted on 8/16/12 1:26:06 AM Permalink

What do you call your course at your school? Our hand-based concepts and skills would be our 2-D Design course, and our Digital based skills would be in our Digital Arts courses, but we're having a hard time filling 2-D Design because kids don't understand what the course is about, yet we have to build them up for the AP Portfolio in 2-D Design. What do you recommend? We have half year courses.

Donna Levy

Posted on 7/30/12 6:15:02 PM Permalink

We are finding that the artistic component to our programs is becoming more and more important. We rewrote many of our courses to include the principles and elements of design, color, composition, etc. Many of my teachers make their students keep a manual sketch book as well. In areas such as game design and development we found that it works if we team the kids into groups that cover all of the functions of game creation.

Jeff Larson

Posted on 7/30/12 3:05:20 AM Permalink

I really spend a lot of time front loading in the first six weeks. I am relentless about going over elements and principles of art and design. I have them drawing quite a bit too, especially since many of them come in with little drawing skills. I have them keep a sketch book that I give assignments in (mostly basics of drawing, perspective, and design) and have them do minimal number of free drawings of whatever they want. I usually taper off on the sketchbook by second semester when we are doing more extensive digital work (although I'm not sure I should). They usually grumble a lot (those who don't draw), but eventually with feedback they get better. And I always remind them that in the creative industries, professionals often mention pencil to paper conceptual skills. The digital tools will always change, but the human brain is wicked awesome and contains one of the best cameras in the world.

When teaching things like Photoshop and Illustrator, and Animation and Video production I try and remind them that it's always about composition on some level, and so the better they understand elements and principles of art and design, the better they will be able to explain and articulate what they are trying to do.

Oh, yeah. We take a few field trips to museums and look at stuff in classroom and have extensive discussions about the work they are seeing. You might look into Visual Thinking Strategies as a good go to for facilitaiting discussions around art and design.

Alice Wilson

Posted on 8/18/12 6:12:23 PM Permalink

Well said! LOVE your quote "The digital tools will always change, but the human brain is wicked awesome and contains one of the best cameras in the world."

Nancy Parker

Posted on 7/29/12 12:42:55 AM Permalink

We need experts in all areas working together. It takes a "TEAM" of highly qualified members working collaboratively to produce the best.

Nicole Dalesio

Posted on 7/24/12 12:42:48 AM Permalink

Definitely more on the creative visualization/art side than on technical. If you can imagine what you want to create, the rest is just logistics. If you are determined, you can overcome the tecnical challenges!