Updating Your Digital Art Curriculum


Digital art allows teachers to update their approach to art courses, creating fun and engaging lessons that help students develop an appreciation for art from an early age. User-friendly devices and free online tools make developing a digital art curriculum a straightforward proposition, even for a novice.

Many teachers dipped their toes into the digital waters during the pandemic in 2020. For many, that involved a crash course in what cloud-based apps can do. With new tech tools here to stay, many teachers now want to take a more formal approach to learn about digital art options.

Fresno Pacific University offers a professional development course called Paint and Draw for Teachers that focuses on one of the most convenient and reliable sources for digital art tools, the Google Chromebook. 

Instructor Steve Young said the course offers teachers “easy to understand explanations, illustrations and step-by-step hands-on exercises.” He called the course a “painless way to learn the basics or brush up your computer graphics skills.”

“No classroom participation is required, but I am readily available by email and phone. Educators will receive a physical copy of the course workbook and other resources are accessible online,” Young added.

What Is Google Chromebook?

The Google Chromebook is a laptop computer known for its affordability and practicality. The main difference with other laptops is that Chromebook runs Chrome OS rather than Windows or Mac. Chrome OS works with online-based services, allowing teachers and students to store their work on the cloud, not in one computer's hard drive. It also allows everyone to have access to cloud-based apps from wherever they have an internet connection.

That makes working with a Chromebook more like the experience of using your smartphone. Teachers will find this extremely useful working with a generation brought up with a smartphone in their pocket. It also offers teachers the ability to update their digital art curriculum and classroom materials with apps that typically work flawlessly and offer a wide range of tools and features.

Advantages of a Digital Art Curriculum

Many school systems use Chromebooks because they are less expensive than traditional computers. That’s a significant advantage for school districts.

For students, a digital art curriculum allows them to access art supplies and brushes without having to purchase them. There’s also no clean-up required, giving them more time to focus on their art. The cloud-based system also gives students the ability to save artwork for later viewing without carrying it to and from school. 

Teachers also enjoy the benefits of easy access to art tools and free apps rather than spending on supplies. Teachers also can use digital art tools to give students hands-on experience working with advanced tech tools. They also can do all instruction online, if necessary.

Digital Art Apps on Chromebook

Some of the most popular art apps available through Chromebook include PaintZ and SketchPad. Both offer proven ways to engage students online

PaintZ

The PaintZ program allows users to create and edit images, similar to Microsoft Paint. Designers focus on making PaintZ fast and easy to use, including an interface that responds to both touch and a mouse pad. There’s no Flash Player required.

SketchPad

SketchPad allows students to draw, sketch and create. That includes taking existing photos and adding new elements, such as overlay text and graphics. They can also rotate and scale images, as well as apply filters. As the name implies, SketchPad has tools that allow students to do their own drawings with various tools, paints and fonts.

The Digital Art Course from Fresno Pacific

Teachers who take the Paint and Draw for Chromebooks course earn professional development credit needed to maintain their teacher’s license. They also can use credits from the class toward earning a Technology Skills for Educators Certificate from Fresno Pacific University.

The class is offered online, with teachers given guidance through the step-by-step work that includes projects using PaintZ and SketchPad, among other apps. They complete the class with the knowledge to implement digital art in their classrooms. 

Creating a digital art curriculum adds visual elements to the classroom that engage students. It’s another way for teachers to connect and motivate a generation of students who grew up with the internet and tech tools.


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