Arts For the Schools: Embracing technology through art
August 5, 2013
TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — If you are over the age of 35 chances are computers were not of utmost importance during your childhood. You probably spent more time building forts and riding bikes than staring at a computer screen.
That is what makes it hard for parents today to understand why their children are consumed with the dreaded hand-held devices. But what any computer programmer or app developer knows is children of this day and age innately understand and comprehend this modern technology. If you doubt that last statement you've clearly never had your phone malfunction only to hand it over to your 8-year-old who fixes the problem in a matter of seconds.
Children excel at using hand held devices and tablets. It's as if it's in their DNA.
The concern from our "older" generation is children today spend too much time interacting with an electronic device than with other human beings. They spend more time with their hands wrapped around an iPhone than around a paintbrush or charcoal.
Of course this isn't unfounded.
But how do we ensure the youth of today don't get so far away from "hands on" creation? How do we keep them grounded? Well, by embracing technology and teaching to that platform.
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With that concept in mind, a new summer camp was born.
Stop Motion Claymation Camp allows children to create art while utilizing technology. This week-long camp helps kids fully immerse themselves in the creation process of Claymation. The children learn to write a story line, create clay characters, make sets and film a movie. Using an app like TimeLapse Pro, iMotion or Osnap, students are able to see their movies moments after they have finished the filming process. Incorporating technology with good old fashioned clay sculpting brings the students to a point where they are fully engrossed in the entire process. By being able to see the results in a fairly short amount of time students are excited about creating more. Instant gratification encourages more creation.
First, students need to use their imagination to come up with a story that is comprehendible and fairly easy to film. Next, they must take the time (sometimes painstakingly) to create their clay characters. These characters have to be able to stand up, be moved easily and not fall apart. Then sets have to be made to help build upon the story, making it more complete. And then, the filming process begins. This last part takes a lot of patience and more patience in order to capture enough frames to make the story viewable. The equation goes: 10 hours of filming = 1 minute of viewable film, generally speaking.
The amazing part, for the teacher, is to see how every student embraces this project and is really excited about the process. This is the beauty of mixing technology, something each student is fairly comfortable using, with hands on art. Seeing these films spawned from the creative minds of children can inspire anyone.
Taking this knowledge from the Stop Motion Claymation camp this summer at Rideout Community Center and applying it to the classroom is an easy transition.
If a student has a book report due, why not make a claymation film summarizing the book?
When a project comes up that involves writing a paper on a historical event, why not make a claymation film depicting the event?
Being able to apply this process to aspects of a child's life will encourage them to get creative, slow down and take the time to make something worthwhile that they will be able to share with friends, family and teachers.
As the saying goes — "art imitates life." If technology is the focus of many youth's lives, than art should embrace it so as to imitate the lives our children are leading.
The two can live in harmony.
Bethany Lund is a member of the Arts For the Schools board of trustees.