Friday, February 17, 2017

Ozobot Light Trail

Melissa Swaidner is an Art Specialist at Haverhill Elementary in Southwest Allen County Schools, a  1:1 school. They have K-2nd have IPads and 3rd-5th have laptops. We also have IPads available for our upper grades on a cart if needed.

Have you ever been nervous about trying something new, but excited for what kids might be able to do at the same time? When our school went 1:1, I was challenged to consider how to best integrate the use of technology into art class. It started with video lessons and drawing apps, but I just knew that there was so much more we could be doing. This was my challenge for myself this year. How could I use technology to enhance my art curriculum? I have done a lot of research about different apps and programs. The following lesson is just one that I have incorporated this year. The best part about this lesson is that students who often don’t feel confident about their abilities in the typical mediums we use in art (drawing, painting, sculpture) loved it the very most!

It all started with robots called Ozobots. My school had a class pack to use starting this year. My principal allowed me to brainstorm a way to use them in my art room. Most of the students in our building have done some form of coding, but this was the first introduction to Ozobots for my 2nd graders. These robots follow a marker line drawn by the student. My students used the “Ozobot Code Sheet” to help create their own coding which controls the Ozobot in their design. Artists can use different colored lines to make the Ozobot change colors, and even code with color to make the Ozobot do “tricks”! From spinning to doing a backwalk this little robot is full of fun!!!

The following link shows these amazing robots in action!

Taking the students beyond the fun of color coding, I wondered about my students using the robots to actually create a piece of DIGITAL art! Ozobots emit light as they are being coded, so could we artistically create light trails that could be captured? I researched several different slow shutter camera apps. There are several out there but I found one that does not have commercial pop ups. The app’s name is Slow Shutter Vintage Photo Camera 8mm. The best thing about this app is it is free! I have included the icon image for you. It does have different settings but is easy to use. We chose the light trail setting and set shutter speed at 0.5. All the other settings we left alone. After experimenting with different settings I decided these were the best settings for our artwork.

To build background knowledge, I showed examples of photography that had light trails. Students had to guess what the light was from…lots of fun! We looked at everything from car lights to sparklers. I then explained that with their Ozobot we would be creating a photograph of the light trail it created. The students were shocked and amazed! We used our slow shutter camera app to capture our Ozobot trail and had huge success! A new definition of “art” was being created with each click of the camera!

As artists, we all have different strengths. Some of us are more confident with painting, others love sculpting, or drawing with chalk. Sometimes it is hard for our students to find what they are confident in and they will say they are “not good at art”. Nothing could be farther from the truth! One of my second graders in particular comes to mind. He has a hard time being confident with any art medium in my room. He has told me he just feels he is not that great at art. This student would work hard and just wasn’t always happy with what he created. When we came to this project that combined his love and talent for technology to creatively express himself it completely unleashed his art talent! This is his medium and he is great at it! He worked carefully and diligently on drawing his path and adding codes for his Ozobot to move through. The moment he was able to capture the light trail with our camera app he was ecstatic! He could not get enough of it! Several he did with his own drawn trail and then would tweak it to change it! Then he decided that maybe two Ozobots are better than one and ran two while capturing the light trails! He had success and never again will he consider himself someone who is “no good at art.”

As teachers we need to be open to trying something different to let students that are not confident in other mediums to have a time to thrive in our rooms! I am so glad that I integrated technology into my art curriculum as it has given my students a new definition of what art can be.

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