Creating on iPads
At the beginning of last school year I was told that my school building had begged, borrowed, and bargained for enough iPads for a grade-level set (about 100) and that they would rotate through the school for one month per grade level. I quickly adjusted my plans and determined to do a digital art project with every grade level during their turn with the iPads.
This was a relatively new frontier for me. I didn’t know what students were capable of on the iPads, how quickly they would pick up my instructions, and if some of the ideas I had would even work. My first plan of action was to write a grant for a class set of iPad drawing styluses and enough copies of the Doink App for our 100 iPads so we could try animation. I already had the Brushes app for each machine so I started from there. The next step was to modify some old digital projects I had done on the laptops for the iPad in the Brushes app. Then, I had to figure out a way to teach from the iPad, share files with students, and learn the ins and outs of the apps to make it all happen. I went through many stages of discovery for how to do all these things.
1. Teaching from the iPad:
A) I hooked up a VGA dongle to my iPad and mirrored through the projector. Some apps don’t project a true view of what is on the iPad screen which was the case with the Brushes App. I couldn’t teach the tools to my students this way.
B) Used the iPevo USB webcam to show the iPad through my desktop and projected this through the projector. This method worked but restricted mobility. See my post about this.
C) Apple TV allows you to wirelessly mirror your iPad. When I learned about this I researched it, bought the necessary gadgets, and used this for most of the school year. The network people had to set up my device and it dropped unexpectedly from time to time at school if the wireless connection was lost.
D) Reflection App was released in the Spring of 2012. I bought this desktop app which allows you to wirelessly mirror the iPad through airplay. It works just like magic and this method is perfect for creating iPad tutorial screencasts. (Bonus!) See an example here.
2. Sharing images with students:
A) The Dropbox app allowed me to very easily load images into the folder on my desktop and share them out to my students when they login through their iPad. View my tutorial.
B) The “Magic touch” method was when I uploaded a template to my website and asked students to give it the “magic touch” until a text box appeared asking if they wanted to save it. This would go into their camera roll. Here is my tutorial showing this method. I liked this way of sharing files with my youngest students (no logins).
C) Emailing was fast and efficient. When students wanted to turn their artwork back into me, uploading to the Dropbox was clumsy because the file couldn’t be renamed in the apps we were using. I would have to do a “name and claim” session where I renamed each file on my desktop in a panic before they left the art room. Emailing me their artwork meant that they could use the subject line for their name, class section, etc. and I could deal with the file later. I would pull up my Gmail account and we would make sure their email came through before they left the room. See the picture above. (Our iPads had a generic email account that could send email but not receive. This simplified everything.)
3. Creating on iPads:
We had a blast creating art on our iPads in the art room all year long making:
A) Digital versions of art projects like these self-portraits.
B) Graphic designs like this Rene Magritte Spoof and The Scream Spoof
C) Digitally entering the artwork like Wyeth’s Christina’s World
D) Doing studies with contour line drawings over photos
E) Abstracted versions of our art with artistic apps like these percolated Santas or Our Wish for the World in Wordfoto.
F) Animations like those we made when I received my grant for styluses and the Doink app. Take a look at the animated aliens my third graders made in this video below.
4. More resources for learning to create on iPads:
This Fall I began teaching iPad workshops with teachers to share techniques for creating on ipads. I built a webpage full of links, files, and other resources for teachers to use for this workshop including handouts and tutorials. Feel free to explore here. Suzanne Tiedemann, Theresa Gillespie, and I will once again present at the NAEA National Convention in Texas this Spring and share our most successful iPad lessons and strategies with attendees. Meanwhile, please explore our iPads in the Art Room website.