Positive role of arts and visuals in a digital learning environment

Emilee Geist

Table of Contents The virtues of visual representation and communication is highlighted in a digital learning environment Models of learning The virtues of visual representation and communication is highlighted in a digital learning environment The excitement was palpable in an online class. A group of 35 students of Choithram School […]

The virtues of visual representation and communication is highlighted in a digital learning environment

The excitement was palpable in an online class. A group of 35 students of Choithram School in Indore waited for their new teachers — the artist couple Manish V Ratnaparakhe and wife Gargi — to introduce architecture and interior design through mathematics. The teachers’ PPT presentation with drawings highlighted the application of basic geometry in interior design and the Pythagoras theorem in construction and navigation. Having tacked a different medium, the duo explain, “Our focus was to put forward a new concept in a simple way and show the teenagers that mathematics is fun and its basics are useful and needed in different dimensions of life.”

Models of learning

Among different modes and models of learning, visual representation and communication play an effective role in easy comprehension. Drawings, highlighting key points through colours, creating a mind map to graphically organise words, concepts and information in one’s mind enhances the learning process. The potential of visual communication in making a powerful impact in digital learning have propelled its rise, especially in the increased online learning environment due to the pandemic.

An artwork submitted by a student for Art Karo Na competition

The second edition of Art Karo Na, an online art initiative by Hyderabad-based Children’s Fine Art Gallery (by Daira Centre of Arts and Culture) also dwells on visual representation. The unique online contest based on the concept of museum education encourages ‘Learning through Arts’. These topics have been created to support the new dynamics of online education, points out gallery’s co-founder Atika Amjad.

In its weekly art contests, participants are encouraged to create visual representations of their school lessons. “We saw many changes after the first edition of Art Karo Na. Gadgets were a big no for children but now there is a U-turn. Online education has become a way of life now. Parents, teachers and children are getting adjusted to this new normal,” she says. The contest focussed on blending art and education, to ease stress.

Atika informs the Art Karo Na project (www.thechildrenfineartgallerycfag.com) will spark inspiration and help children in finding new ways of expressing their emotions and thought processes. Art Karo Na’s contests cover science, languages, history, geography and other academic subjects.

Incorporating art in education is not new. Sapna Danda Deepak, an arts and crafts teacher from Greenwood High School in Bengaluru shares her learning style, tweaked to adapt to a new medium of instruction. “With my schooling in Kannada medium, I found it tough to follow Shakespearean English during my post-graduation days,” she says. Sapna used a mind map to follow her lessons including Shakespeare’s plays. She adds, “I didn’t know the term was called ‘mind map’ back then. I used to put the lesson name in the middle and have pictures of clouds surrounding it. Each cloud consisted of important points related to the lesson. I found it easier to understand and store it my memory and could easily elaborate these key points during examination,” she explains. Following the same methodology, Sapna’s twin children aced their Class X examinations .

At Hyderabad-based Books n More Activity Cub last year, sessions on smarter studying skills were fun and engaging. Says its founder Varsha Ramesh, “In a regular classroom, the teacher is constrained by a black and white board whereas in remote learning, the teacher can make it much more interactive so that children get curious to know what comes next.” In one of the workshops, giving an example of an animation-driven content, Varsha says, “A class on the thoracic region need not be only theoretical. Imagine the excitement of children when they click on a drawing of the thoracic region which opens a drawing of lungs and by clicking on that image, one can know about the anatomy of lungs. These interactive diagrams help one understand concepts easily.”

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