Instagram Fridays: Exploring Instagram Use in Art Education

I wrote a whole thesis on the potential of Web 2.0, social media, and blogging in Art Education.  At the time, Instagram was not around and I never imagined its possibility in education.

Earlier this week, I received my first fan mail ever from a reader (Thanks Ferina!) who linked me to this article titled “20 Out of the Box Ideas to Use Instagram in Your Classroom.”

Readers know I love Instagram because of its ability to reach, impact, and inform others through photograph. It’s also a way to create a community by making a portfolio of work through hashtags. Since I’m an Art Educator, here’s what they suggest for using Instagram in the Art Classroom:

17. Art

Offer a fun and creative scavenger hunt. Send students out to take photos of different shapes (like finding isosceles triangles in architecture). Then post a collage and invite followers to identify the common denominator in every building.

Here are some of my ideas:

1. Photograph student art work and make hashtags based on class, class period, project, style, media, elements and principles of art and design.

2. Lucky enough to have an iPad in the classroom as well as an iPhone or iPod touch like Fuglefun and Tiedemania? You can instantly upload student work created on the iPad to Instagram!

3. With budget cuts cutting art, music, and physical education, you can document the daily life of your art classroom through Instagram.  For example, if you photograph students working on a mural, write a caption about the arts encourage collaboration and community building.  Since many people use Instagram, its mass appeal can do wonders for any art program.

Also, I noticed that Instagram introduced a new feature where you can easily view your profile online.  This can make it easier to spread the good news about your art program especially to those who may not own a smart phone.

You can check out my Instagram profile at http://instagram.com/abbyesc#.

I’ve also used Statigram to keep track of my followers, likes and comments.  This information can be valuable in increasing your viewership.

I would love to hear other people’s ideas about using Instagram in the classroom.  Even though I didn’t mention it above because I hope that as teachers we use common sense, your students’ safety is of utmost importance!  Make sure you get permission from their parents!

Advertisements

Motivational Mondays: Childhood Time Lapse Collage

This video is a reminder in that every once in a while, we should approach our creative endeavors like a child.

Children are not afraid to try anything and somewhere down the line, we stop acting like children. next time you’re feeling stuck in your work, try to approach it like a child without fear or doubt.

Building Creative Confidence: Thoughts on David Kelley’s TED Talk

I have worked with children for over five years as a teacher in both schools and camps. Besides teaching my specialty in art and other subjects such as math, reading, writing, science, and history, there’s one thing I always noticed about kids that I never really discussed with my peers.  It’s how creative anxiety increases as the kids (and ourselves) get older.

When I was student teaching, I taught art once a week to kindergarten classes.  Even though I always took a nap after I came home, I enjoyed the kids’ enthusiasm and joy for art.  They used art materials to express their ideas in a way no other adult can. I enjoyed hearing them talk about their artwork.  From what I can remember, none of the kids I worked with had any real anxiety about art.  Of course, they would call out my name every 5 seconds and shout “Is this right?!?!” but for the most part, they truly enjoyed art and didn’t care if anyone thought that their ideas were crazy.

Example of kindergarten student’s work

When I started working with older kids (around 9 and up), I noticed more anxiety.  Phrases such as “I can’t draw” or “I can’t do this” were becoming common. I even made a sign that says “I can’t do this” crossed out in my ceramics windmill at camp.  It was frustrating because no matter how much I encourage, they feel that they are not “artists” and that they are not “creative.”  Those weren’t empty words.  I truly meant it when I told the reluctant kids that they are capable of making great works of art.  Luckily, there were a few kids that I worked with that never thought they can create amazing works of art.  Just like what David Kelley said in his Ted Talk, it was all about small steps.  I worked with those kids one-on-one and encouraged and praised every step of the way.  As students accomplish these small steps, they build up confidence ultimately leading to more creative risk taking.

A student’s work of art that was created with perseverance.

Something happens when we are growing up that makes us feel that we aren’t good enough or creative enough.  When did we start thinking that the world is divided into “creative” people and “non-creative” people?  Honestly, I don’t know how to relate to a person who feels that they’re “non-creative.”  Could it be because I always enjoyed art or maybe had an active imagination or some natural talent?  As an art teacher, it’s really easy to say “You can draw!” to a frustrated kid who’s probably thinking “Easy for you to say!  You already know how to draw!”  It’s my job to create an atmosphere where it’s okay to make mistakes and to encourage that frustrated kid every step of the way.  I have to constantly remember to put myself in that frustrated kid’s shoes.  Usually, I say something like, “Learning how to draw is the same as practicing the violin or throwing a football.”  There is such thing as natural talent.  Everyone has one but it’s nothing without a little practice and perseverance.  To me, that’s more important than talent.

Questions:

How can one reignite their creative spark?

When do people start feeling “creative anxiety”?

How do you build your creative confidence?

Here’s David Kelley’s TED Talk

Grown Up Artists’ Interpretations of Children’s Art.

It’s common knowledge that children are creative, imaginative, and free-spirited.  They’re not burdened by self-defeat and doubt unlike most adults.  So it’s no wonder that three very different, very talented adult artists turn to children’s artwork for inspiration for their own work.

The Monster Engine

The Monster Engine is run by Dave Devries, an artist and graphic designer.  His idea for The Monster Engine started when his 6 year old niece was drawing in his sketchbook.  The  idea for the project is simple, “How would a child’s drawing look like if painted realistically?”  Devries turns children’s drawings into realistic creations. It’s common knowledge that most children don’t have the skills and experience of grown up artists.  The project doesn’t mean that we don’t view children’s drawings as good enough or valuable.  In fact, after watching a couple videos in the website, I saw how enthusiastic the children were when they were collaborating on a painting.  It’s always an honor when someone (especially one who you think is greater than you in skill and knowledge) finds inspiration in something you do, no matter how old you are.  Devries’ paintings have a wonderful, weird and creepy quality to them that is reminiscent of both comic books and Tim Burton.

The Monster Engine is a book, website, and lecture series.  Find out more here.

Bonus:  Check out this lesson plan inspired by The Monster Engine!

Yeondoo Jung

Yeondoo Jung is an artist based in Seoul, South Korea.  His beautiful photographs have a sense of fantasy and storytelling.  The colors are vivid and the compositions are dynamic.  In his  Wonderland (2005) series, he reinterprets children’s drawings with photography using costumes, props, and set design.

Child’s Own Studio

Child’s Own Studio is run by Wendy Tsao.  It is based on the idea of making a child’s drawing come to life by crafting a soft, plush, toy based on the drawing.  I can only imagine how happy the children are when they see a stuffed version of their own drawing :).  Child’s Own Studio takes custom orders and works with the customer personally by finding the right fabrics and techniques in reinterpreting the child’s drawings.  I imagine that the process takes a long time but it’s all worth it for a happy child.  Right now, Tsao is working through her orders but there are other craftspeople she recommends for the same time of project: http://www.childsown.com/softiemaker-showcase/.

I hope you enjoyed the beautiful artwork of both the adult and children artists!