Many teachers support both arts and tech integration. However, they don’t realize the two subjects can be integrated together.
They become trapped thinking arts integration is analog and tech integration is digital; the former is fingerpainting, making music and dancing while the latter is calculating, researching and programming.
However, there are numerous ways to integrate both the arts and technology into a single core-subject lesson, and to neglect the opportunities of cross-disciplinary arts/tech integration is to deprive your students of key skills that they need to navigate an increasingly integrated world.
Here are four ideas to help you integrate arts and tech into your upcoming lesson plans.
Arts + Tech + Literature = Graphic-design Book Covers
When I was a student, we had an assignment in which we drew new book covers for our favorite books. This is a popular assignment for middle-grade Language Arts instructors because it requires students to distill theme and character into a single image. It also encourages students to develop their own interpretations of a book’s characters and settings rather than assuming the ones presented on the “official” book cover are the only option.
Take this assignment a step further by asking students to make these book covers using a graphic design program. There are numerous graphics programs for all skill levels. Consider a quick course on layers for Adobe Photoshop or let your students intuitively discover how to use the program on their own.
Arts + Tech + Math = Drum-set Fractions
We’ve already shown how fractions can be rhythmic. Take this lesson a step further by purchasing or downloading a drum kit program. Using a keyboard and a projector, set up a basic rhythm by setting the bass drum to four hits per measure. Then invite students to take turns using the drum kit program while the class suggests fraction options like “have the cymbal play for 2/8ths of the measure.” Practice reducing fractions and comparing denominators while your rhythmic soundtrack gives you immediate, rock-and-roll results.
Arts + Tech + Math + History: Mondrian Math
Show students examples of the works of Piet Mondrian, a mid-20th-century painter who divided his canvas into geometric shapes. Ask students to use graphic-design software to create Mondrian-esque compositions. The only catch? They have to give the area of each shape they use, as well as the percentage of canvas that each shape covers. Since graphic-design software measures in inches, it is possible to use it for a number of artistic geometrical calculations, from circumference to chord measurement.
Arts + Tech + Social Studies: Design a College Website
This concept is best suited for higher-grade students. Ask students to look at examples of effective college website design, like the Wisconsin MBA program at Stritch University. Then split them into groups and ask them to create an ideal college website, using everything from statistics to slogans. This not only gets students thinking about what they want out of college, but also helps them understand the language and design elements that colleges use to get their attention. You can combine this with a lesson on advertising, if you’d like; or a lesson about diversity and representation. Have students mock up the websites on poster board or on a graphic-design program; if they have had HTML training, let them create functional websites hosted on your school’s server.
Plus, as an added bonus you can show them what their education will provide them with – maybe an acceptance to Stritch!
There are a number of ways to combine both arts integration and tech integration with core-subject education. Have you successfully combined arts and tech in your classrooms? Let us know in the comments.