Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Te Whāriki, ICT and visual art

The Communication Strand in Te Whāriki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, highlights the need for practitioners to provide children with a range of materials, tools and technology for visual art exploration (Ministry of Education, 1996, p. 80). This suggests to me that teachers should consider ICTs (for instance newer digital video and photography technology as well as the older technologies such as Over Head Projectors and fax machines) as complimentary tools for use in the visual art dimension of their programmes.

It has been my experience that in most New Zealand early childhood centres visual art programmes are incorporated into the general activities of holistic, play-based programmes and that most early childhood programmes provide a range of traditional art media for children to use for creating their own art. However, as the early childhood community becomes more aware of the potential of the way ICT can be used to effectively enhance learning, I am beginning to see an increasing number of early childhood centres incorporating different ICT into the area of visual arts for their children – computers (for example, a variety of drawing packages and Powerpoint for creating E books), digital video and still cameras, OHPs, fax machines, photocopiers and so on.

It is interesting to witness teachers beginning to use ICT themselves in new and creative ways, and it is exciting as a teacher educator to demonstrate to other teachers and students how ICT can be used successfully in this area. Here are some images of children using ICTs successfully for their art making.

Children reviewing an e-book about an arts project they did on the Antarctic.
Children using an OHP to create visual images with objects.

Child using and Interactive Whiteboard for drawing.

Child sending a drawing to his mum at the office using a fax machine.

The internet has become the perfect vehicle for exhibiting young children's art making and photography. A number of centres are establishing blogs and websites where young children's work is attractively dispalyed. One good one to check out is: http://artykids.blogspot.com/

There is also a growing amount of good software available for visual arts making. ArtRage , a New Zealand product and which is free to download, is an excellent drawing package for computers. 2Animate and I Can Animate are also excellent animation packages for young children's animation projects.
The digital effects and digital art making industries are growing and it is necessary for teachers to think about how ICTs can be used creatively and in ways that can foster the visual arts.


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