When Paraíso Colégio in Juazeiro do Norte, Brazil partnered with Digital Media Academy towards the end of their academic year, Thaiane Fernandes and Maria Clara seized the opportunity to incorporate Digital Media Academy’s The Power of Pictures: Digital Illustrations into their grade 2 classroom. As a graphic designer, the course caught the eye of Thaiana as a way to integrate art and design with storytelling. Thaiane and Maria chose to use The Power of Pictures: DA student from Paraíso Colégio learning remotelyigital Illustrations because of how the course connects learning about design and technology to self-expression and the creation of art.

Thaiane and Maria follow a standard bilingual curriculum, which includes a textbook containing many stories that help the students to learn English. They thought this was the perfect opportunity to have students apply their new digital illustration skills, so they adapted the final project in the DMA course to have students create images to represent the different stories in the textbook. By integrating visual learning into the curriculum, students were able to better synthesize and comprehend the stories they were reading and learned valuable 21st-century digital illustration and technology skills. Thaiane and Maria found that the students were able to increase their proficiency and skill in using technology, all while overcoming some of the barriers to creative expression that exist in the world today.

For students in Grade 2, prior experience with using technology is often fairly limited. The students at Paraíso Colégio found that using technology to create digital artwork in place of using their notebooks and markers was exciting and new. The students found that using these new tools to create artwork was fun and engaging, overall increasing their participation in classroom activities and their other school curriculum.

Students at Paraíso Colégio illustrating

The impact of integrating digital illustration skills in Thaiane and Maria’s classroom spread beyond the classroom walls to the whole school. When older students found out how excited the Grade 2 class was about using digital illustration tools, many were asking their own teachers if they could do the same. Students wanted to engage with their learning in an expressive and creative way, just as the Grade 2 class had been doing.

Through the support of the Digital Media Academy team, Thaiane and Maria found it easy to incorporate their course resources into their remote, online classroom, which was being delivered over Microsoft Teams. Thaiane and Maria wish there was more time during the school year to teach Digital Media Academy courses alongside their regular classroom curriculum, and they are excited to teach The Power of Pictures: Digital Illustrations as well as other courses again in the upcoming school year.

There are lots of barriers to creativity, this course empowered the students to explore more and put out their own ideas into the world.

- Thaiane Fernandes and Maria Clara, Paraíso Colégio.