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Newmarket students draw on Apple to create art at Vaughan's McMichael
Use latest version of iPad with pencil to let inspiration flow

April 30, 2018
Tim Kelly


A classroom of Newmarket students connected with a brilliant 20th century Indigenous artist last week by using the latest 21st century creative technology.

It happened at the McMichael Canadian Art Gallery in Vaughan as Grade 7 and 8 students from Mazo De La Roche Public School made the trip to the Kleinburg site and used the latest version of the Apple iPad with its new pencil to digitally interpret the work of the inimitable Canadian artist Norval Morriseau.

The pencil allowed students to “draw” in colour on the screen and produce works of art that replicate what they see.

The results can be striking.

For teacher-librarian Gillian Madeley, the McMichael experience along with the use of technology in the classroom was a real eye-opener.

“The big shift for students is they are no longer thinking just in terms of consuming technology, they are creating content to push out and use; we have students now who are able to publish digital books that they have illustrated themselves,” Madeley said.

She believes students “are taking risks they haven’t taken before.”

Grade 8 students Luiza Solkowski and Tamara Kiteley, both 14, said they enjoyed using the new iPad and the pencil though both had different experiences with the technology.

For Luiza, the pencil provided a “fine tip,” that allowed her to “really feel what you are trying to accomplish.”

Tamara said the pencil was “very smooth,” and was “a good size for the hand.”

Both believe the technology allows the user to draw easily on the iPad.

The students learned a lot from the day. Neither knew much or anything about Morriseau before coming to the McMichael last week but both left suitably impressed.

“I’m really inspired. I really haven’t explored this type of art before,” said Luiza.

“I really like the way it’s portrayed. I like the eyes, the beadiness of them,” she added.

Tamara found Morriseau’s art “beautiful. There are a lot of colours and a lot of values, it’s very pretty.”

When it comes to technology and learning, Luiza believes technology is a big help.

“I saw a video showing the difference between people who had books and people who had technology. People who had technology could learn 10 times faster, could find information way faster than people who had books,” she said.

For Tamara, while technology can be a distraction, it can also help students learn.

“You can give a kid a textbook and that kid would have to read all the words but for technology you could listen to a recording of someone explaining it face-to-face and I think that helps a kid understand and learn more about the subject itself,” Tamara said.

Madeley said a real point of pride for her is that students are actually sharing homework online, something she never saw before.

“A number of students will also create content and push it out to share, school work is now being pushed out and shared with their friends, shared with different schools,” she said.