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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Combining Art and Technology with Chibitronics



During the 2013-14 school year, Svetlana Grinsphan discovered a technological resourced called Chibitronics. Chibitronics was created by a Ph.D. student named Jie Qi from MIT who combined her passion for craft, art, and engineering and created a DIY manual and kit to that made circuits and LED light accessible to the public. The goal then was to bring this technology into my classroom for students to combine with their art in a meaningful way. That summer, I applied for a Technology Department Launch Grant to make this vision a reality.
 
This year in the fall, Dan Rile and several of the MS faculty "tinkered" with this technology and brainstorm project ideas. Kelley Schultheis and Svetlana sat with me again in the spring to strategize how students might interact with this new medium.
In the spring, students in my Drawing and Painting Class each received a manual and a kit; together, we explored the instantaneous pleasure of designing a circuit and making something light up. Each student designed a project to incorporate LED lights within their semester-long drawing and painting exploration. The students were given freedom to choose the paper surfaces and drawing materials that would most effectively achieve their vision. The one requirement was that the drawing had to stand alone--it had to be as visually effective alone as with the circuitry enhancements. The students were thrilled with the process from start to finish and were incredibly proud of their accomplishments. For me, working collaboratively with faculty and embarking on this project with a spirit of exploration alongside the students made using unfamiliar technology less daunting. Quite the opposite--I was amazed by the students' exceptionally high level of engagement throughout and the ways in which they helped each other with the challenges they faced in a truly collegial way. The artwork the students made...in my unbiased opinion...were simply stunning"


Here are two websites for Jie Qi and Chibitronics:
http://technolojie.com/
http://chibitronics.com/

Stephanie Moon
2D MS Art Teacher

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