When enrolling in a virtual school, parents might wonder whether their children will get the same opportunities as students who attend in person. Art class seems to be something a lot of caregivers worry their virtual student won’t get to experience to the fullest, which is simply not the case. In fact, virtual art instruction breaks down barriers that the in-person classroom can’t contend with.
Connections Academy® teacher April Morgan suggests that her time teaching art virtually, has been more of a success than her in-person experience, stating, "Honestly, I feel like the [curriculum] is more thorough and more challenging than what I've taught before, and kids are typically very successful with it."
While it may seem like it’s less cost-effective to provide art instruction virtually with families often having to purchase their own supplies, it actually allows for more flexibility in curriculum. Virtual art classes empower teachers and students to try out digital tools and software in addition to traditional artistic mediums. So while students may be painting on canvas one day, they could be getting a crash course in digital art tools the next.
April tells us that the way she approaches virtual art instruction is wide-ranging. “[My class] is a little bit of everything. We do the elements and principles of art." She says her class is less focused on art history and more on “getting [students] to view art and view the world in a way they maybe haven’t before.”
Like their in-person counterpart, online art courses also foster creativity and promote self-confidence. Students learn to be proud of their accomplishments and watch their art skills progress over time. This self-esteem boost can have a profound effect on their overall educational performance. Many students look forward to their art courses as a break from the heavy workload of their other classes, as well as a chance to express themselves in a healthy way.
April tells us that “there’s a lot of research that says when kids are successful in art, across the board they tend to be more successful in academic areas.” She suggests that art “really turns on the part of your brain dealing with creative problem solving and drawing inferences between two things you might not have seen a relationship between before."
The skills that students frequently use in art class often can then be translated to their other courses for higher success. Art courses provide a chance for holistic growth and by providing virtual art classes to students, you’re giving them a chance to destress from their courses while learning how to express themselves creatively with skills learned in class.
April also suggests, “I feel like [art is] one of those subjects where everyone thinks that you're either like born with something where you can magically create beautiful art, but really it's just practice." Kids often believe that skills are something you either have, or you don’t, rather than practice being necessary. "They say that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something, but the more you practice, the better you get, and the more confidence you have”.
Not to mention, art education serves as a means of communication for many students who have difficulty expressing themselves otherwise. Middle and high school students are all going through a great transitional period and they can convey complex emotions and ideas through a visual medium. Art education also fosters an appreciation for different ideas, cultures, and diversity that your child can carry with them forever.