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Make/Repeat/Alter: A Community Response

NIDES (North Island Distance Education School)  FAE (Fine Arts eCademy) and E.N.T.E.R. (eCademy of  New Technology, Engineering  and Robotics) will be presenting thematically inspired collaborative projects which respond to the work and process of artists Eric Lesage and Janet Wang. Make/Repeat/Alter looks at how artistic practice and learning modalities are connected through processes of making multiples and the variations/alterations that are embedded in these gestures and creative explorations.

FINE ARTS ECADEMY

Fine Arts eCademy students, ranging from Kindergarten to grade 8, have produced multimedia art projects in response to the work of Janet Wang and Eric Lesage, using the theme of Make/Repeat/Alter.

The first step of learning about the theme of Make/Repeat/Alter was to explore printmaking techniques in a workshop format. FAE students printed squares of fabric using a variety of material: leaves, cookie cutters, styrofoam stencils, bubble wrap and sponges. Then K – 8 students chose one of four workshops: visual art, music, dance/drama or digital art. They worked on their projects for five weeks while exploring their medium and the theme.

Visual art students from K – 8 took the prints from the printmaking workshops and, inspired by the work of Eric Lesage, wove them with cut-up encyclopedias. Working together as a team this group produced 10 long panels of weaving, creating an installation that reflects FAE’s connectedness and commitment to collaboration.

The music group with students from K – 8 worked together to reinvent a familiar folk melody by writing new lyrics and arranging it as a canon with auxiliary percussion, recorded loops and ukulele. During their last workshop they participated in a professional recording session, learning about layers as they recorded each part of the song separately before editing it together. This project is the soundtrack to the video describing the process of this project.

The Performing group with students from grade 3 – 8 intertwined elements of dance and voice to create stories about common, everyday scenes. The project culminated in four videos which explore the Make/Repeat/Alter theme using performance art techniques with their bodies and basic props. One video highlights the versatility of voice as students say hello in different ways. The second is comprised of students working in partners to create a story as they walk. The third video highlights students using a chair in three different ways. The last video demonstrates short scenes at a bus stop where students portray everyday emotions.  

In the digital art workshop group students from K-8 used ipads to create various digital art pieces. The Make/Repeat/Alter process involved taking a photo and altering it using a variety of digital tools. The project was repeated as the student artwork was woven together as a collage. Grades 6 – 8 students were inspired to create digital artwork which wove their research and images. The current FAE focus is surrounding “Air”, so student inquiries ranged from the “How Horses Breath?” to “Why is there no air in space?”

ECADEMY OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES, ENGINEERING AND ROBOTICS

The eCademy of New Technologies, Engineering and Robotics (E.N.T.E.R.) is a blended learning program involving three days of technology-based learning and two days of personalized distributed learning co-designed by teachers, students and parents that is accessed and completed from home or on site at the program’s respective school.  The E.N.T.E.R. 1 Lab is at Aspen Park Elementary and the E.N.T.E.R. 2 Lab is at Highland Secondary.  Students in the E.N.T.E.R. 1 and 2 programs range from grade 6-9 with the grade 10-12 iMaker program being added for September 2016. Students of the E.N.T.E.R. programs have identified themselves as learners of the next generation.  They have been the first to engage in deep and meaningful ways with traditional and modern technology incorporated directly into their learning pathways.

In the George Sawchuk Room: To explore the theme of Make/Repeat/Alter, the E.N.T.E.R. 1 and E.N.T.E.R. 2 students have produced a digital presentation of student voices describing how they connect with the Make/Repeat/Alter theme.  They have also created a series of traditionally fabricated pieces demonstrating how the process of design thinking works in concert with the Make/Repeat/Alter theme to integrate student curricular goals.  The students were also tasked with the challenge of displaying the process of Make/Repeat/Alter as it exists for them as digital designers.

The first step for the learners of E.N.T.E.R. 2 to interact with the theme of Make/Repeat/Alter was actually through their mathematics and science course where they engaged with Faraday Law (magnetism and magnetic induction) and were tasked with measuring, gearing and scaling with different shapes.  Teams of 2 or 3 used two LEGO EV3 motors.  One motor acted as a generator and was connected to another motor that had student-created putting mechanisms attached that could hit golf balls.  After many iterations, they were then tasked with designing and engineering a prototype mini-golf course with their teams.  Once they were content with their ¼ scale prototype, they worked towards the physical models by accessing the school’s Wood Shop and Tech Shop for tools to fabricate with.  Some teams were even able to take their process to another level by accessing the E.N.T.E.R. 2 Lab and modeling their course in Autodesk Maya and their putting mechanism in LEGO Digital Designer.

For the E.N.T.E.R. 1 students, their showcased interaction with the Make/Repeat/Alter theme was a connection with concepts of transfer of force, momentum, inertia, potential energy and kinetic energy through their Marble Mazes.  The structure and marble pathways were all designed and fabricated by the students of E.N.T.E.R. 1, with the Make/Repeat/Alter theme continuing on in their class.  The overall goal is to create an interchangeable series of Marble Mazes and Rube Goldberg Machines that all fit together in a sliding frame.

Recently, students in the E.N.T.E.R. 2 program were asked to reflect on who they are as “Makers” and to connect with the Make/Repeat/Alter theme in that fashion.  Each student created a Powerpoint slide to showcase how they experience and find enjoyment in the process of Make/Repeat/Alter.  They worked collaboratively and individually to put together a digital presentation to showcase their voice for everyone to hear and reflect on how these learners have connected with, and are fostered to explore, their ‘Spark’.

Students in the E.N.T.E.R. programs utilize modeling software such as SketchUp, Autodesk Maya, Inventor and AutoCAD to learn the literacy of drafting, mechanical CAD, and animation.  They are given the opportunity to design and create in these spaces and access their fleet of 3D printers to bring their creations to life!  Because most of the Make/Repeat/Alter process occurs digitally, the students have created two collages entitled Digi-Make and Digi-Alter to showcase images that occur during this process.  They have also culminated completed works in a digital presentation and have many physical examples of their 3D Prints on display.

For the E.N.T.E.R. and E.N.T.E.R. 2 students, technology is their source for inspiration, motivation, empowerment and innovation.  However, the most important part of the E-cadeny of New Technologies, Engineering and Robotics is that is represents a safe place where the learners are amongst like-minded peers.  They are a very unique cohort that all “speak the same language”.  Since the day the E.N.T.E.R. program began, the youth of our community that have been involved thrive as, when they came to E.N.T.E.R., they were surrounded by other learners that think like they do.  The social and emotional successes of this simply compound when these learners are given the pathways and mediums of technologies, engineering principles and robotics to learn of and through.  In this space, their true creativity is fostered, explored, and honoured.