I CAN remember when art teachers used to debate the virtues of acrylics versus poster paint, writes Martin Child. Now we also talk about the speed of CD-Rom drives. Even traditionalists realise that "this ICT thing" will not go away.
An exciting range of tools is now available to support the art curriculum. Digital cameras, graphics tablets, colour inkjet printers, scanners and even computers are much cheaper than they were a year ago, as is memory for upgrading existing computers.
Recent developments on display at the BETT show include faster processors, which allow complex graphical images to be created and saved more quickly, and faster CD-Rom drives. Removable storage systems such as Iomega, Zip and Jaz solve the problem of students' work clogging up the computer's hard drive - simply use a separate disc to store the work of each class. Writeable CD-Roms open up the creative possibilities of multimedia. Video conferencing has been used by schools to link with an artist for personal tutorials or demonstrations.
At the BETT show look out for art CD-Roms at the Schools Direct stand (C46) and AVP (355). ABLAC (345) has the ArtRageous CD-Rom (see review, left). Find the Corel stand (203) to see Draw 7 and the Xara vector graphics program. SEMERC (SN1, SN42) is showing Dazzle Plus, suitable for key stages 1, 2 and 3. For animation, find Iota (411) to see Complete Animator and Autodesk (210) for Animator Studio.
Fusion is a publication being launched at BETT by the National Council for Educational Technology (545, 560). Compiled by Kevin Mathieson, it provides an overview of what ICT can offer art departments.
And if you feel the onset of technological overload, call on our old friends Berol (376), to resolve that debate over acrylics versus poster paint.