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iPads and the Art Department

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

By: Olivia gnad


Across the United States, the use of technology in the classroom is on the rise. According to a study conducted by the University of Phoenix College of Education, daily use of classroom technology increased by a drastic 55% between 2016-17, with less than half of student work being done with pencil and paper. Quaker Valley School District is no exception. While the new iPads have been greeted with mixed opinions, it is undeniable that they play a significant role in the classroom. Arguably, no department has been more impacted by the change in technology than the art department.

Technology and Art come together

Mr. Pidhirny teaches everything from jewelry making to watercolor to digital illustrations at the high school. He used to be what he described as “anti-iPad”. That is, until he had the opportunity to tour a school in Erie that used exclusively iPads. While visiting, he said that he “saw that it would have a lot of potential in my room.”


This has proven itself to be true. With the help of apps like Procreate, Autodesk, Sketchbook, and Notability, students have been able to produce digital creations and experiment with colors and details before changing their physical artwork. According to ninth grader Dustin Smith, another major perk is the submission process, stating that “Its [the iPads] made it a bit easier to submit assignments because we can just take pictures of them and then submit it from there.”

Freshman Dustin Smith sketches on his iPad

Mr. Pidhirny added on, saying the iPads “work better for the art department because a lot of kids will paint things from pictures on their phone, and the iPad allows them to have a much bigger screen.” This tool is being utilized in Drawing Painting in their current project. Students choose a photo that they have taken or one from a place that holds meaning for them and paint a watercolor recreation. Students are able to plan their work and enlarge the pictures to pick out colors that might have been hidden on the screens of their phones.


The new iPads haven’t been met with entirely glowing reviews, however. Students have found daily inconvenience in simple tasks like printing and renaming files. More hands-on students, like senior Phoebe Morrill, have found the iPads to be more of a nuisance than an actual tool. “I think when I need it, I use it, but I try not to need it because it’s a hassle to do things that I need to do,” she explained. Others complained of a steep learning curve and hard-to-use keyboards. Phoebe continued, echoing the general consensus amidst current art students, stating, “I think they’re better [than the DELL laptops] for a lot of art things but not a lot of other things.” When asked how the curriculum has changed to accommodate the change in technology, Mr. Pidhirny responded, “I don’t know that it has changed much yet, but it is evolving … I am adding things as I find new uses for them.”

Sophmore Ainsley Kiggins working on a painting

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