W H A T ?

It's safe to suggest that some form of drawing was everyone's first form of non-verbal communication. How far we have travelled from crayon scrawls to more sophisticated tools that can render most any image conjured by our minds. For this project, I used an app that I recently learned -- Tayasui Sketches School. Even within what I considered to be the limitations of my smaller iPad screen, I was impressed with what I was able to do. With enough trial-and-error, I was able to adjust my fine motor skills to handle the Apple pen and draw what inspired me at the moment to fit the assignment. As I was doodling and becoming accustomed to the app features, I was thinking of students using this, and imaging them immediately attempting to recreate their favorite pop culture inspired logos. I know as an adolescent I spent considerable time perfecting my rendering of the band Queen's iconic logo and the famous tongue of The Rolling Stones! The illustrations seen above represent either an homage or a nod to social media. "Czechs, Hugs, and Rock 'n Roll" is a play on the old Ian Dury song and done in the later period style of Andy Warhol. I even tried to render it so it would look "3D" with the right glasses (it works!). The bottom left illustration is a meme. We've all seen memes before, but I grow weary of those generated from a website that always contain the same picture. I wanted to draw one that exhibited a bit more originality or imagination. The bottom right is a marketing logo in colorful balloon lettering in a quasi-psychedelic style inspired by the 1960s. I could also see it on an album jacket where kids all over the world are drawing it in their notebooks while they are supposed to be taking lecture notes!  


S O  W H A T ?

I taught at-risk youth in alternative schools and to maximize their interest (since they most likely disliked being there), I would try to supplement a lesson with a creative task like illustration. In a series of lessons on 21st century entrepreneurism, we discussed legitimate and legal business ventures that could be explored. A few of my students thought of starting their own clothing line. Part of their assignment was to devise a logo for their proposed business. if I had the opportunity to revisit those lessons with different computers and software, something like Sketches School would be ideal because it is very user intuitive. I would align the lesson with the National Education Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S) 6b: "employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world." In lieu of a limited hardware or software array, I would take hand drawn illustrations and scan them at home, converting them to editable .jpg files that could be opened in MS Paint.


N O W   W H A T ?

It was essential that my students conceived of a life beyond the walls of the alt school that was positive and free of the corruptive influences that placed them there. Getting them to think of becoming potential entrepreneurs gave many of them them hope, because their stay at these schools could be anywhere from six to eighteen month. If they did not believe they could be an entrepreneur, then at least the experience directed them to think about other forms form of employment. Developing their artistic or creative instincts were effective mood enhancers for many, especially those with emotional difficulties. So much of my effort as a teacher was to try and make the classroom experience as engaging as possible. Tapping into their creative sides, whether it was through drawing, or as we'll learn in another section of this portfolio (Music), was very therapeutic and a healthy diversion from their issues. Unfortunately, many schools like this are run by non-profit organizations, so the ability to update hardware and software offerings was often limited. This forced teachers to be creative as well, and find as many free resources as possible. The few that I was able to use on a consistent basis, could rapidly become "boring" to the type of person who constantly needed fresh forms of stimuli.