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Lessons in computer art

Dunfermline High has learnt many lessons from its experience of ICT in the art department and makes the following points.

Computer animation is only one way for pupils to express themselves, but it is a way that appeals to a growing number of youngsters and should be encouraged and supported by school art departments.

Girls should be encouraged to try computer art because the multimillion-pound computer animation industry is keen to recruit female artists with ICT skills and flair. Most computer games are designed by young men for boys, leaving untapped a vast market.

Computer enthusiasts are often portrayed as solitary individuals, but ICT artists form communities of kindred spirits who share knowledge and techniques, communicating professionally and socially in ways more traditional artists never do.

Older pupils who have acquired advanced ICT skills can volunteer to run tutorial sessions for others.

Collaboration with outside agencies on real projects brings greater benefits to teachers and pupils than role-play education for work.

In seeing their creations used or displayed outside school, pupils gain confidence and self-esteem which feeds back into their work.

High pupil achievement is also stimulated by competition and co-operation within a community of like-minded creative people.

Other benefits to pupils include learning to negotiate with clients and sources of funding, to develop resourcefulness in dealing with setbacks and to accept and respond appropriately to criticism.

The benefits to teachers include improving their technical and expressive skills in the modern medium, learning how to persuade outside agencies to offer projects, funding and collaboration, and the satisfaction of providing pupils with opportunities to fulfil their potential.

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