George Lucas Educational Foundation
Arts Integration

Arts & Tech Integration: How to Collaborate and Have Fun Doing It

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When I was a technology specialist, one of my favorite people in the building to work with was the art teacher. Over time, we came to have a lot of fun seeing how we could work together and combine our respective disciplines.

Just like it is for our students, collaborating on projects with a colleague will make them more powerful.

Sometimes that meant that we would work on a project with another teacher, like when we made green screen videos about the weather with second grade. The classroom teacher taught the content and worked on the scripting with the students, the art teacher helped them create new backdrops, and I filmed it all and combined it into this: News 210.

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In order to make this video, I filmed the students using the fantastic Green Screen App by DoInk for the iPad, which allowed me to combine the backdrop with the students live, a significant time savings over traditional methods of green screen processes. 

Caveat: Before filming in front of the green screen, make sure to tell your students not to wear green that day! We had a few kids who needed wardrobe changes or had to turn shirts inside out.

Each video got saved to the camera roll and then imported into the iMovie app, where I edited it together using the CNN iReport theme. It probably took about 1 week for the students to do the writing in class, 1 class period for them to design their backdrops, 1 class period to film them all, and about 20 minutes to edit them altogether on my end and upload to YouTube. With older students who are already familiar with iMovie, the entire workflow could be offloaded to them.

Every year we also hosted an Arts and Technology night. Most years that meant there was an art exhibition in the hallways, and a further exhibition of technology projects in the library. Last year, however, we stepped it up by tightly integrating the arts and technology. Every student spent the year creating artwork in art class, but then we extended it by having every student also create a video about one piece of art. The videos were linked to the artwork with a QR code.

Some of the students were recorded simply talking about their artwork using the camera app on the iPad.

Others told a story about their artwork. They drew their pictures in art class, came up with a story, and then I took a picture and we did the screen recording in Explain Everything. It took me about two class periods to get through an entire class working with each one on one to do the recordings.

And others made their artwork talk using the YAKiT Kids App. This only took about one period to make their videos, including introducing them to the app.

In order to make the QR Codes, I found this TOTALLY AMAZING QR Code Auto Generator Template for Google Sheets. All you have to do is paste a URL into the first column and BOOM you have a QR Code. Older students were able to copy and paste their URL directly into the sheet, then type their names into the description, saving us hours of work creating codes. Of course, we still needed to check each one individually to make sure that it worked properly, then track down the ones that weren’t.

We sent out info to parents so they'd all have QR code readers loaded on their phones. It was a great evening that really allowed parents to connect with their child's work.

With any and all of these things, it’s a good idea to budget for much more time than you think you’ll need, because things can and will go awry at various points. We had whole classes where we copied the URL incorrectly and had to regenerate QR Codes manually. Some kids needed reshoots, and, of course, some kids were absent on their shooting days.

How have you integrated art into your classroom?

This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we've preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer's own.