SchoolArts Magazine

February 2017

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 16 of 66

While there are many digital tools that can be used in the development of liter acy and numeracy skills, my inner art teacher is most interested in those that connect children with their own precious and innate creativity. Connecting with Creativity When students are encouraged to think and act creatively, they are often open to new ideas, willing to accept challenges, and may readily embark on a process of finding out for themselves. There are also strong links to collaboration and problem- solving skills, as well as increased ownership over their own learning. Nourishing Creativity While it should go without saying that all children are inherently creative, the challenge for educators often lies in pro tecting this natural attribute. I often refer teachers to some of the practical and effective approaches that elementary contexts leverage in sup- port of this goal, such as: • Asking open-ended questions such as "How could you…" "What if..." Connecting with Creativit T E C H N O L O G Y Cathy Hunt P arents and educators often face difficult choices while navigating through discussions about tech- nology in an elementary setting. E ntrusted with the care and develop- mental support of some of our young- est learners, exciting opportunities to d evelop so-called twenty-first century skills may sit alongside concerns about an unfamiliar classroom landscape that includes new technological tools. A Way to Support I t is important to affirm that any approach for technology integration in the early years of school should focus on how we engage children in mean- ingful learn ing experiences, and the ways in which technology can support that vision. A device cannot take the place of a wonderful teacher, kind friend, or that feeling of wet sand between your toes. Technology does not replace develop - mental play. Engaging in meaningful co llaborations and communities and exploring hands-on, messy, and tac- tile materials should be at the core of l earning experiences for children. and "What might come next?" • D elivering constructive f eedback that reflects on and r ewards creative approaches. • Incorporating opportunities for e xperimentation and hands-on e xploration of materials during problem-solving. • C reating an environment where c hallenges can be openly discussed a nd failure is positioned as a step t owards learning and success. • D eveloping an ability and confi- dence to engage with new ideas. T hese examples are not situated in any subject-specific pedagogical approaches, and represent elements of best practice across year levels and diverse contexts. In considering these simple practices, we may also find useful guidelines for best practice in technology integration. Mobile Devices for Learning The rapid appropriation of devices such as iPads to support teaching and learning in diverse classroom contexts has been in response to long battery- life, durable construction, and sim - plicity of use. These devices are too u seful for us to ignore, but we should use them as a way to nourish, support, and connect our students with their natural ability to create. Cathy Hunt is an Apple Educator, pre- senter, author, and visual art teacher w orking with a 1:1 iPad classroom for students in years 6 –12 at The St. Hilda's School in Queensland, Australia. Follow on Twitter @ art_cathyhunt W E B L I N K Engaging in meaningful collaborations and exploring hands-on, mess , and tactile materials should be at the core of learning experiences. 12 FEBRUARY 2017 SchoolArts

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