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Art and Tech Synergy: Corinne Takara

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Corinne_TakaraReviewer: Corinne Takara   

Position: Art Education Specialist

District/School: Alum Rock Union School District/Horace Cureton Elementary School, San Jose, CA. 

Number of Students in School: 572 

Reviewer's Note:
The entire 5th Grade class of 69 students participated in the project.

Products: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Repper Pro, and VoiceThread

Reviewer’s Project Notes:

The You are Here Street Banner Project is designed to engage in exploring community identity and geometry through photography and digital pattern design. The patterns created by the students were printed as digital textiles and used as ‘furoshiki’ (Japanese eco-friendly wrapping cloths) and as textiles for public art installations. The final expression of the project for the Cureton Elementary Students will be large street banners for the Street of Alum Rock, San Jose, CA.

Goals:

Through The You are Here Street Banner Project I hope the children have a strong positive experience of being active creators and curators of culture rather than passive consumers of mass culture. I also believe that it is important to engage students in art technology tools as a way to expand their computer literacy. Being exposed to the synergy of art and technology which drives Silicon Valley hopefully will excite these students on the edge of Silicon Valley to continue to pursue learning technology tools, explore art and possibly a creative career. I am also hoping that with an application process in place and banners up, students from other schools will submit student designed banners in future years. An underlying goal was to engage students in a project that really valued process, collaboration and communication in a creative forum.

Response:

Students were proud to share their knowledge of pattern design as they taught others about the radial pattern project and they learned to collaborate in creating though provoking art for their community. The school board members and the Alum Rock Education Foundation honored the project by presenting a Certificate of Appreciation at a Board meeting. The principal, Jason Sorich, was very supportive of the project and selected the fabrics to be displayed in a Visual and Performing Arts Display at the District Offices. The San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs has been supportive of the project from the beginning when I contacted them in the fall of 2010. They offered a special forum for the students to present their designs at City Hall.

Learning Curve:

At the beginning of the school year, I requested that my school district install Repper Pro and allow access to VoiceThread on school computers. The tools were easy to use. Voicethread really requires headsets as once the audio responses are playing, the room can get very noisy. I had intended to have students upload and download photos they took from either Flickr or Picassa through a link on the project website, but since the District does not allow access to these sites, I used USB memory sticks to transfer images onto and off of each computer. Luckily I had the support of students who were in the Mouse Squad program. These students helped me to transfer images before and after workshop sessions. Finally, we got a site license for Repper Pro. This was necessary as only the Pro version enables high enough resolution seamless tile saving for the textile printing. Studio Ludens, the creator of RepperPro, offers free educator site licenses if you contact them via e-mail.

How We Use It:

Using VoiceThread, students peer critiqued other students pattern creations and written explanations.  Using this tool, students wrote comments or recorded their voices to share with the students of the other state. Next the Cureton Elementary students ventured out into their community to capture images using digital cameras and single use cameras. These photos were then used as source images in RepperPro software as students created digital pattern designs for their banners. In teams, students printed out their digital photos and patterns and collaged them to create 8x2 foot banners. Artist statements for the banners were written and drafted in Word for their presentation to the Alum Rock Village Business Association. They will be using a PowerPoint presentation for their banner submissions and present to the approving city board for banner design.

What’s Ahead:

For the upcoming academic year, I am in the process of designing a collaborative project, Slot Shelters, which will include Cureton Elementary, and will expand our explorations of community through pattern and photography. Slot Shelters will explore the design of slot building cards and the downloadable deck of cards will grow as more schools and students participate. There will be a Google Sketch Up online collaboration and Voicethread collaboration with students internationally.

Here is the rough draft of the Prezi which will be used to solicit grant funding to bring the project to life: http://prezi.com/wogjefkryjw-/slot-shelters/

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This is a great hobby the youth can turn to. And with the use of eco friendly materials for printing, this activity also teaches children the value of saving the environment.

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