Cool Schools: Ring Lardner Middle Schoool digitizing art class, will soon expand to Eastside Connections

Cool Schools: Ring Lardner Middle Schoool digitizing art class, will soon expand to Eastside Connections

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NILES, Mich. -- An art class at Ring Lardner Middle School is taking a 21st century approach to art, using technology instead of the traditional tools to create their masterpieces. 

In Scott Morgan's art class, students swap paintbrushes for styluses. 

"In any art class I've ever done, all we've done is paint and draw because we never had the technology,” said Kaitlyn McMorris, an art student.  

It’s the first year Morgan and Niiles Community School are taking this new, modern approach to art. 

“I’m getting a chance to turn my classroom into a 21st century art class,” said Morgan. 

Using more than 20 computers and iPads, students study the fundamentals of art like color, composition, and perspective while also learning professional programs like Photoshop, video editing, and graphic design. 

“It helps me a lot to understand how to draw hands a lot more, more poses,” said McMorris. 

“You take your art, imagine your dream, use the ipad and then wham your dream is on the digital level,” said Corbin Laviolette, an art student. 

 An art class at Ring Lardner Middle School is taking a 21st century approach to art using technology instead of the traditional tools to create their masterpieces.

The efforts to get to this day started five years ago. Morgan helped form four after-school art clubs and won a few grants through them which allowed the clubs to buy the programs now used in class. 

The clubs grew each year, so when Morgan won another grant this school year gifting him the iPads the district said they would donate computers so Morgan could digitize the art class. 

“If it wasn’t for the Niles Foundation fund and the Acorn grant, we wouldn’t be talking today,” said Morgan. 

The growth isn’t stopping though. 

“I’m going to apply for 10 more iPads,” said Morgan. “With those 10 iPads, everybody will have their own either iPad or computer.” 

It’s even going beyond Ring Lardner. Morgan will pilot a digital art class at Eastside Connections later this year.

“Art is everywhere,” said Morgan. “With the help of technology, it’s giving them a way. Some of them might want to be web designers, some of them might want to be photographers.”

Teaching students that they can create their own future. 

“He teaches it as if, say he were a parent,” said Laviolette. “He just wants to teach you it to get to know lots of art.” 

“The iPads have really improved my drawing because there’s so many tools and I can hit a back button to erase something instead of having to rub my eraser all over my paper,” said Corbin Woodbury, an art student. 

“I want to become an artist when I’m older,” said Teegan Gurgel, an art student. “A lot more people are using digital than traditional now, so I feel like we should get some practice young.” 

“They’re more excited about art class and they’re even sharing it with the students entering next semester,” said Morgan. “Some of the students that are entering next semester have already talked to me and they’re excited because they have iPads, they have computers, and they can do all of these neat things that they couldn’t do before.”

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