Digital Tools vs. Traditional Tools

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This article, Paint or Paint App? Value of Creating Digital Vs. Traditional Art from the KQED blog Mind/Shift, does a great job of laying out many of the issue that are creeping up in our school and beyond about the value of digital vs. traditional creative tools. While it focuses on iPads in many examples, the underlying issues are relevant to all of the digital tools we use at our school from the laptop and smartphones to our 3D printers. Questions such as “When is it appropriate to use digital tools vs. traditional tools?”, “What are we losing when we use digital tools?”, and “How do digital tools hinder or help our students be creative?” are important as we design our Arts curriculum at Eastside Prep. We will always teach with traditional tools and media and we are happy to add new tools, digital or otherwise, to our tool box.  There is something incredibly powerful about being able to design something from scratch on your computer, pressing print and holding the finished object in a matter of hours, if not minutes.  At the same time, creating a reductive piece of sculpture by carving plaster or soap stone presents a hands-on, sensory experience that can’t be recreated with digital tools.  Often times it is the combination of digital and traditional tools that really creates a magical experience and final product.

Ultimately, these are all just tools and we endeavor to equip our students with a variety of tools coupled with conceptual ideas to tackle the complex world ahead of them and teach them to be flexible enough to pick up the new tools that have yet to be created.

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