Monday, July 31, 2017

Challenging Student Creativity with Great Results: iPad Camp at ACOA

Artwork created in Procreate by iPad Camp student
The last full week in July was iPad Camp at the Academy Center of the Arts in Lynchburg. This was an especially wonderful group of kids. There were 3 boys and 3 girls. That turns out to be a great balance of energy and skills. The girls were older and more focused, the boys were younger and higher energy.  These camps provide kids with an opportunity to challenge their creative problem solving skills by learning media production tools in a non-structured environment. I am most appreciative of ACOA efforts to develop arts/technology programming.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Life Stories: One Story A Beginning

Adult cicada  Wikipedia: Public Domain
Growing up on an old farm outside of Washington DC, I had access to 40 acres of fields, barns and woods. It was a time when kids wandered and explored for hours a day, especially in the summer. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Tiny Books Big Fun

I am seduced by the digital realm, I admit. But there is something about working with paper that floats my boat. I had a great opportunity to be reminded of this recently at the Tiny Books Exhibit and Workshop at Riverviews Art Space here in Lynchburg, VA. It added to the festive experience that it was very well attended in no small part due to great local newspaper coverage.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Kid Friendly Sea-Saving Art

Get to the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C. by September 5th if you can. You won't be sorry.

As an artist I am drawn to beauty and I am good at mimicking it. However, I have the most profound respect for those artists who create beautiful work and pull together diverse threads of universal themes...and in this case make it an excellent educational experience for kids. I love this work. I love the idea, the colors and the venue.

Parrotfish, Washed Ashore
Seventeen sculptures of marine life created by Washed Ashore.org have been on exhibit at the zoo since May 27, 2016 (and leaving September 5th). Washed Ashore is a nonprofit dedicated to creating an awareness of marine debris and plastic pollution through art. The sculptures on exhibit were created from plastic garbage that washed up on a 300 mile stretch of west coast beaches. Eighteen tons of debris was collected by thousands of volunteers. These volunteers not only clean the beaches of debris. The materials they collect are sorted and  turned into art.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Discover the World of Communication at American University

In July I taught two classes at American University's very extensive summer program for high school students, Discover the World of Communication at their Washington, D. C. campus.  Professor Sarah Menke-Fish founded the program and has been the director for over 20 years. I taught for the second two-week session with nineteen courses offered, including Advanced Scriptwriting  and Video Production, The Film Intensive,  Broadcast Journalism, Media for Change, Speaking for Impact and Nature Photography. My classes were Graphic Design and Animation. I was very impressed with the program and want to make sure teachers, parents and students are aware of this opportunity for future summers.

I had not spent much time at AU in my many years living in the area. It was a delightful surprise to discover this beautiful campus. Our classes were held in McKinley Building pictured below.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Building Apps to Help Kids Learn



Like all app developers, I want to make the best products possible. I have been creating media for young children from almost 25 years, much of it linear animation.  

video

For the past few months I have been working on our fifth app with new features in my development path. I realized I wanted to consult with experts who have much more experience than I do with the nuts and bolts of how kids learn. I had the good fortune to meet Beth Poss at the KID Museum's App Fair on May 1st when we were both making presentations to educators.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Learning Animation Helps Kids Develop Critical Thinking Skills

One of my favorite activities is teaching animation. I have done this for kids as young as 8 up through college students, using a wide variety of tools. My current device of preference for teaching animation is an iPad. The more workshops I teach, the more I appreciate the magnitude of the lessons learned. 

Critical Thinking Defined
There's a lot of buzz about critical thinking these days. What's the deal? Here are two important components of Critical Thinking; the ability to evaluate information and consider alternative solutions.