Thursday, 29 May 2008

Using ICT to help create sculptures in schools

The use of sculpture around school sites continues to grow and they really add a whole new dimension to outside learning environments. I have added several to schools I have been in and students and the community really have enjoyed them, even if some were a little sceptical initially. The key to success is student engagement and involvement in designing, creating and installing the sculpture. Peer pressure really prevented anyone thinking of interfering with them too much.

The Iguanas above, whilst not in a school, are some of a dozen located in different places as part of a trail, each moulded so identical in shape but all decorated by different artists. They are real features. I have seen the same idea done in schools. with bricks, fibreglass, metal and wood along with other materials, where students have created their own pieces. (Embarassingly I don't have photographs however).
ICT played a major part in at least one of these exercises. Interestingly they designed their sculptures using a variety of software programmes and located their 'creations' on photographs of proposed locations using Photoshop to help establish best colour schemes and potential features to enhance the existing colours of vegetation and buildings around. They also used Google Earth to position them equally but apparently 'randomly' around the school compound. They spent many hours outside normal lesson times. Isn't that what education is about?

All this allowed a real high quality totally multimedia exhibition of 'process' to support the opening of a sculpture trail around the school, complete with brochure. The praise for the multimedia approach was outstanding and the students just gained so much from the whole exercise, they were involved, engaged, worked collaboratively on research, problem solving and implementation. This was later followed by an increased use of sculpture inside the school with, crucially, other curriculum areas learning and adopting similar approaches in their subject areas.

We need to ensure that we capture this level of student excitement and engagement across the curriculum and just keep thinking outside the box. In this case, many had thought that ICT could not be engaged in an 'art' project. Luckily the staff involved were creative and used a whole range of technologies engaging all students, including those who initially had thought they were not 'arty'. So many skills were needed for the entire project every student had a key role to play.


Anonymous said...

Great post Gareth .. looking to share with the art teachers in my school who seem to think ICT is heresy. I like the variety of your posts and your laid back style - not pretentious and pseudo intellectual .... like some!

Gareth Long said...

Thanks, I appreciate your comment and thanks for reading!