(Julia Sanderl is an Art Teacher & GT Media Advisor at Kapa‘a Middle School)
I am so grateful to the STEM Pre-Academy Team for allowing me to "test drive" Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 in my Art class. I currently teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Art at Kapa'a Middle School. While my curriculum covers traditional media such as drawing, painting, ceramics, and sculpture, I am always looking for ways to integrate new technology and make real world and cross-curricular connections. Please visit my website, The Art Classroom, for lesson examples and descriptions.
After using the Surface Pro for a couple of months and allowing select students to try various applications, here is a summary for other teachers who might be interested in this resource.
- Portable - This small, compact device is easy for students to use at their tables and doesn't take much room for storage. A long battery life allows cordless use for multiple classes before charging is necessary.
- Versatile - The Surface Pro has keyboard, touchscreen, and stylus capabilities all-in-one. The touchscreen is a handy tool for Internet research and built-in camera use. The keyboard is great for written artist statements, critiques, and virtual sharing. The stylus is most useful for design programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator along with software for digital sketchbooks.
- Durability - The multitude of attachments and movable parts to this device increase the risk of loss or damage. Particularly in the middle school environment, a simpler and more streamline tablet would better endure heavy use. For the same reason, this would be a difficult resource to share with multiple teachers in a department or school-wide.
Access to the school computer labs for my Art students is increasingly limited due to the demands of online testing for core subjects. A class set of Surface Pros, tablets, or laptops would open up a whole world of informational access and opportunity. I'm curious to know what devices other Art teachers have used in their classrooms to enrich visual arts instruction--let me know in the comments!
(photo via Microsoft.com)