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New Technology Gives Dillingham Students Another Creative Outlet

Teacher Albanie Knight helps her students.Dillingham Elementary art teacher Albanie Knight teaches her students about the basic mediums, like paper, clay and canvas, but recently, paper has been replaced with screen and pen with stylus as students use drawing tablets to explore digital art creation.

“These tablets are a great way to incorporate technology into the art room, which is something you may not see a lot of,” Knight said. “I thought this would add value to our Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) curriculum here, since we are a STEAM school.”

Knight had teased the tablets’ reveal all year, saying she “had a surprise” for students. The tablets, funded by the Sherman Education Foundation, arrived over Christmas break, and after installing software and navigating some issues with tech specialist Jaime Thomasco, she introduced them to students in late February.

“They were very excited. A few squealed,” Knight said about students when she first used the tablets. “I have some architectural tools we use, and I kept saying we would be adding to them very soon.”

The idea for tablets came to Knight after seeing her sister use a similar tablet in her free time. Her sister even helped pick out the kind of tablets now being incorporated into free-style creative time for her students.

“This may be the first time some students have used something like this, and it brings a lot of excitement,” Knight said. “I also make use of exploring and play in my art room, because I feel like the kids can be more creative that way.”

Bringing in new technology also opens up opportunities for Knight to discuss careers in art, like filmmaking, animation or graphic design.

Dilan Hernandez-Reyes uses a drawing tablet“Technology may pique the interest of some students who might not realize technology can be creative,” Knight said. “If they’re tech-savvy, they can explore art in a different way than some other students can.”

While the remaining semester will be used for adjusting to the hardware and new software, a free program called Krita, the upcoming school year will have a more fleshed-out, concrete curriculum built around the tablets.

“My goal for next year is to use these in STEAM Centers, where we build on what we’re learning,” Knight said. “I’ll bring out the tablets and the architectural tools, and they will rotate between them.”

Knight wants her students to take away the knowledge of the variety of mediums available in art, and she’s adding another offering to students with the addition of the tablets.

“I’m really passionate about incorporating STEAM lessons into the art room,” Knight said. “I want to make sure we’re offering a well-rounded STEAM experience for our students.”