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Alliance City Schools  

Memo 
To: 
Jeffery S. Talbert, Superintendent  
From: 
Hannah E. Reiheld 
Date: 
June 4, 2018  
Re: 
Proposal to integrate more technology into art classes at Alliance Middle School  

 
PURPOSE 
The purpose of this proposal is to request more technology integration in the art classes that take 
place at Alliance Middle School. In the current Digital Age that our students are growing up in, we 
need to cater to their technological needs in the classroom, this includes the art classrooms. Students 
are not receiving enough technology-based lessons and they are demanding more technology 
integration in school now more than ever. We must answer that demand to keep them engaged and 
prepare them for success in this ever-changing society. Research has shown that the art classroom is 
the classroom with the least technology, when in reality, it should have just as much as every other 
class to prepare students to take their creativity to digital platforms like they will be required to do in 
college and their careers if pursuing arts careers. Integrating more technology-based lesson plans in 
the art classroom would be a simple thing to do to respond to the digital age of our students. This 
would take little time and money and would show big results. Without more technology integration 
in the arts, I am afraid that Alliance Middle School is not preparing its students for success in art 
classes in high school, college, and the workforce.   
INTRODUCTION 
With growing technology everywhere in society, it seems obvious that it would be growing in the 
classroom as well. What seems less obvious, is the integration of technology in the arts, specifically 
the middle school visual arts classroom. What has been found however, is that although it is not as 
popular for the presence of technology as other classrooms, the arts greatly benefit from the 
integration of technology. To support this proposal, multiple studies from several credible sources 
were considered, Alliance Middle School’s practicing art teacher was interviewed on her usage of 
technology in her classroom, and 20 students from Alliance Middle School were surveyed about the 
presence of technology in their art classes. As a result, it was concluded that technology is greatly 
underused in the arts curriculum, but it has great potential to be a valuable tool to both students and 
teachers if integrated substantially more often.  

Need/Problem- Arts Education 


Arts education is crucial in K-12 education. It gives students a mean to express themselves, while 
developing their creativity, which becomes a critical life-skill. Joan Assey, Technology Advisor in the 
office of the governor in the South Carolina Division of Education, said in a recent article on 
technology in the arts that,  
The arts are crucial components of the K-12 curriculum and require serious study. Music, 
theatre, the visual arts and dance are basic means of communications. They develop higher 
order thinking skills while engaging students in a variety of learning styles. These unique 
experiences integrate learning with other content areas by showing connections. The arts 
develop discipline while preparing students for their adult lives. Arts education enables 
students to acquire aesthetic judgment which affects both individual and group decisions 
about our society. Students who experience the arts are able to solve problems, make 
meaningful decisions and think creatively. 
Without the arts students would not develop as many higher order thinking skills and would not be 
able to make as many connections throughout their lives.  

Need/Problem- Technology in the Classroom  


The role of technology in any classroom is an important one in this age of digital learners. Marc 
Prensky, American writer and speaker on education, said in his article on the role of technology in 
the classroom that, “Although much in twenty-first century K-12 education still needs to be figured 
out, such as creating a generally-agreed-upon twenty-first century curriculum, one goal is, I think, 
now clear – the pedagogy with which our kids should be taught.” He explained that the pedagogy of 
the 21​st​ century is straying away from the old teacher-centered lecture to more learner-centered 
methods. Learner-based integration of technology is becoming very important in the arts 
classrooms,  
Implementing arts-oriented classroom technology is no different than working in any other 
kind of technology into the classroom. It is extremely important to involve knowledgeable 
teachers who can adapt their teaching to a learner-centered, creative process with other 
teachers, students, and families, and provide a classroom environment that has access to 
technology. (Integrating the Arts with Technology: Inspiring Creativity) 

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According to Prensky, “The role of technology in our classrooms is to support the new teaching 
paradigm.” He says that before any technology can be introduced, teachers have to keep open minds 
to utilizing it in their classrooms. No progress will be made until teachers stop resisting this new 
paradigm, stop lecturing, and start allowing the kids to learn by themselves” (Prensky).  
 
Method 
Considering the importance of the arts in the K-12 curriculum, and the importance of technology in 
the classroom, the importance of technology in the arts classrooms seems obvious. According to 
Assey,  
In the past evolving technology has always played an important part in the historical 
development of the arts. Technology has provided the tools, processes, and materials that 
assist artists in their creative expression. For example, the record player in music and the 
camera in visual arts are instances in which technology changed people’s understanding of 
art. 
She also added how the potential of digital technologies, specifically computers, video and 
telecommunications have the power to redefine students’ creative expression and understanding of 
the arts. “The applications of these and future technologies will not only redefine what constitutes 
art, but they should be an essential part of the evolving K-12 curriculum” (Assey). Integrating more 
technology in Alliance Middle School’s art curriculum would allow students to take their creativity to 
platforms that they are more familiar with and add cohesion between the digital and school lives. 
 
Research Procedures  
Technology can be integrated in the art classroom effectively in many ways. Technology in the arts 
not only allows students to feel comfortable and considered due to the digital age they are in, but it 
also adds legitimacy to a class that can sometimes be seen as just a “fun” class, not an informatory 
one. As a part of the research for this proposal, Bianca Burwell, art teacher at AMS, was recently 
interviewed and stated that the main purpose of technology in her art classes is to act as “an 
engaging learning tool, as well as a liaison between the art classroom and the community.” As you 
know, AMS is one-to-one technology wise, with each student receiving their own Google 
Chromebook. Burwell stated that technology serves many roles in her classes, “First, it is used as an 
engaging, versatile, and modern way to deliver content and instruction to a generation of students 
who are, for the majority, technologically-oriented. By meeting the students where they are, they 
tend to pay attention and retain information more successfully.” She also added that the integration 
of technology in the arts improves the quality and delivery of the lesson being taught by allowing her 
to reach a wide variety of learners. She includes the visual examples and videos to reach the 
visual/auditory learners and then immediately moves on to a live demonstration, which reaches the 
kinesthetic learners. Considering this she stated that, “Technology allows me to implement resources 
for teaching that would not readily be available to me without it.”​ ​As teachers, it is our duty to 
respond to the digital age generation of our students and offer them options to utilize digital 
platforms in all of our classrooms. 

Adding to the research for this proposal, 20 Alliance Middle School students were recently surveyed 
about the use of technology in their art classrooms. Through this survey, it was found that 
technology is mostly underused in their arts classrooms, but is overall a helpful learning tool. It was 
not surprising that 60% of the students said that little to no technology is used in their art classes, 

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while 30% said “enough” technology is used. This was backed up by the interview with Ms. Burwell, 
when she said that “In art class, we do not use the technology as much as we do actual 
product-production. With art being a product-based class, it’s very important to not neglect the 
hand-made process and material engagement.” She also added that “Most students actually prefer 
the hands-on art-making as opposed to the digital assignments.” A healthy mix of digital based and 
hands-on art projects would greatly contribute to our arts program in the Alliance district.  
 
Despite the percentage of students who said little to no technology was being used in their art 
classes, 85% said that technology is/would be helpful in their art classes, some added comments 
like, “It helps to [develop] ideas”, “[technology] helps get things done”, and “[technology can] show 
you how to do stuff.” 50% of the students surveyed said that their teacher uses technology to show 
them what to do, show them visuals of what their art is supposed to look like, and that they use 
technology for help with their projects and get ideas from the internet for their projects. The other 
50% of the students said that their art teacher only uses technology to introduce the assignment and 
to show them what they should do and what the finished product should look like. The students 
then rated the usage of helpful technology in their art classes on a scale from 1-10, overall the usage 
of helpful technology received a rating of 5.5 out of 10. 
 
Solutions- Scholarly Support  
In 2014 Molly A. Marshall, M.A., of Western Michigan University, conducted a study on the 
emerging of technology in art education. According to Marshall, “it was found that integrating 
technology into the visual arts is beneficial to both student and teacher on many levels.” For the 
general art classroom, she states that,  
By incorporating technology into the K-12 classroom, teachers are able to enhance their 
teaching in many ways. Some of the ways are that they are able to connect with their 
students in different ways, save time on planning and curriculum design, accommodate for 
students in new ways, help teachers to collaborate with one another, and many more. 
(Marshall) 
Students need to be able to review, and scrutinize, their own and others’ work, as this will be a 
life-long skill. Technology helps to do this and can involve the use of online portfolios and blogs.  
In the interview with the art teacher from North Eastern Ohio, she shared some of her techniques 
for reviewing and critiquing utilizing technology. She explained how she often has her students 
complete art analyses and digital critiques. She added that “This allows students to implement art 
vocabulary into discussion, as well as self-reflection and appropriate peer evaluation.” She also 
utilizes social media, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to showcase what her students are 
working on and their finished pieces. She stated that “Showcasing work digitally is an easy way to get 
students to talk about and interact with each other’s art. It also gives them confidence in what they 
make, and is a great way to get families and the community involved with what we’re doing in 
class.”  
 
Preparing students to be able to critique effectively involves Visual Thinking Strategies (VST), that 
visual arts educators can practice with their students. According to the official VTS website, “Visual 
Thinking Strategies (VTS) is a method initiated by teacher facilitated discussions of art images and 
documented to have a cascading positive effect on both teachers and students” (Housen). Marshall 
explains that VTS helps students to compare and contrast what they see, and to have discussions 

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with peers about their thoughts on different pieces. She also explains that “There are situations 
when students need to argue their side of the story and give supporting details to back up their 
thoughts,” and how VTS can help them do this. Art Education Technology (AET) is an issues 
group of the National Art Education Association. Their mission is to “encourage and exchange 
knowledge and ideas related to new media technologies in the making of visual art, art teaching, and 
research in art education” (Patton). Their online journal, Studies in Art Education, is an example of a 
source that teachers and students and teachers could use to aid in VTS. 
 
Schedule 
Since I have already completed the research that supports technology integration in art classrooms, I 
will require no more time to conduct supporting research. There is no reason that technology could 
not be more integrated into the art classrooms at Alliance Middle School within the next year, as the 
only thing that would have to occur would be the altering of lesson plans to include more online 
research based projects, digital art projects, and other technology based projects. Since Ms. Burwell 
has already admitted to integrating some of these initiatives, it would not take much time for her to 
alter her curriculum to include more since she understands the importance of technology in the arts.  
 
Qualifications and Experience 
I am currently a senior at the University of Mount Union studying education and as I am of the 
millennial generation, I can relate to the digital age that today’s students are a part of, and can offer 
unique experiences and insights because of my recent education. I have conducted the research for 
this study myself, and have completed many hours in many different classrooms analyzing how 
students react to more technology integration in school.  
 
Budget 
This proposal would cost the district little to nothing due to the building already operating on a 
one-to-one technology initiative. Because of this, students already bring their Google Chromebooks 
to all of their classes and are open to utilizing them more often in their art classes. If the art 
department would decide to use more digital platforms for students to create art, subscriptions for 
those software programs might cost the district something. Figure 1 below shows an example of the 
cost of a company such as Adobe.  

Figure 1: The cost of Adobe Creative Cloud for Education 


Product: Individual teacher license:

Save 60% on the entire


collection of Creative Cloud
apps.US​$239.88/year

 
Scholarly Support on the Budget 
Kelsey Herron of Remake Learning, commented on how technology is moving arts education 
beyond the classroom, “Digital technologies are making it easier for kids to make art that they can 
publish and share. And educators say this matters for learning.” Herron posted about a new 

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report by Indiana University researcher Kylie Peppler. Peppler’s study took a look at the 
technology-based arts learning in small communities, using case studies and examples from across 
the country. They used examples like the popular digital games such as Guitar Hero, and Rock Band. 
After stepping into the shoes of the onscreen musicians, youths were motivated to learn the real 
skills that would enable them to play independently. (Herron).  
 
This report found that “despite cuts in arts education programs in schools, a strikingly different 
landscape exists among arts education programs that take place outside of school, where technology 
is effectively used to engage students’ artistic creativity” (Herron). Herron credited this to 
“interest-based” arts education. She stated that “Peppler does not give specifics on how to integrate 
these interest-driven arts communities into schools.  But here in Pittsburgh, educators are figuring 
this out.” Herron pointed out several different digital programs that are being integrated into arts 
curriculums in Pittsburgh that can be utilized by students in and outside of the classroom. Peppler’s 
study reported what already seems so obvious, “new technologies have made it easier for youth to 
collaborate, share, and publish their work, providing more pathways for them to engage with the arts 
and their peers” (Herron).  
 
Conclusion 
I​t is obvious that technology can be a very helpful tool in the arts if utilized correctly. Schools are on 
the right track overall of accepting the digital age centered paradigm. Technology allows for more 
engaging art lessons, and allows teachers to showcase students’ artwork easily – which leads to a rise 
in students’ confidence. Regardless of the underuse of it currently, technology is on the rise in 
popularity in the art classroom. Teachers should accept it with open arms due to the fact that is 
proven to be such a helpful learning tool for both teachers and students; although, hands-on 
learning will never be abandoned in the art classroom. ​For all of these reasons, I propose that 
Alliance Middle School moves to integrate more technology and digital based projects in 
their art classrooms to consider the students’ digital age learning habits and prepare them for 
art related careers and college majors that will most likely be largely digital.  

Biblography 
Assey, Joan. "THE FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY IN K-12 ARTS EDUCATION." (n.d.): 
n.pag. ​Dkrug.com​. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.  
<http://www.dkrug.com/csed/csed_readings/c.pdf>. 
 
Herron, Kelsey. "How Technology Is Moving Arts Education Beyond the Classroom." ​Remake  
Learning.​ The Grable Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Claude Worthington Benedum  
Foundation, Hillman Foundation, McCune Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation, 21  
Aug. 2013. Web. 08 Dec. 2016. <http://remakelearning.org/blog/2013/08/21/how  
technology-is moving-arts-education-beyond-the-classroom/>. 
 
Housen, Abigail, and Philip Yenawine. "Visual Thinking Strategies." ​Visual Thinking Strategies​. N.p.,  
n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2016. <http://www.vtshome.org/>. 
 
 

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"Integrating the Arts with Technology: Inspiring Creativity." ​LD OnLine​. WETA, 2015. Web. 08  
Dec. 2016. <http://www.ldonline.org/article/30245/>. 
 
Marshall, Molly A. "Emerging Technologies in Art Education." ​Western Michigan University  
ScholarWorks at WMU.​ Western Michigan University, Aug. 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.  
<http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1539&context=masters_  
heses>.  
 
Patton, Ryan M. "Art Education Technology (AET) Issues Group." ​Art Education Technology (AET).​  
National Art Education Association, 14 Jan. 2016. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.  
<https://www.arteducators.org/community/articles/60-art-education-technology-aet
issuesgroupm>. 
 
Prensky, Marc. "The Enabling Role of Technology." ​Educational Technology ​ (2008): 1. ​The Role of  
Technology in Teaching and the Classroom.​ 2008. Web. 08 Dec. 2016.  
<http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky-The_Role_of_Technology-ET-11-12
08.pdf>.