Exit Through The App Store
What do you think of Banksy?
Some call him a criminal, Some call him an innovator. Some call him a copycat who lacks genuine artistic talent.
Personally I think anyone who captures the imagination, interest and ire of a generation is a genius at work. His work will be discussed and reviewed long after his own time as a testament to the mindset of early 21st century culture. I highly recommend his award winning documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop" if you haven't seen it. It's not at all what you expect and then morphs into something different again about half way through.
He was also the subject of the very first app I reviewed for the site - Fotofitti (take a look in the 2013 App Review archive for it.)
So what's the point of this article? Cool wordplay in the title aside, it's going to outline an entire project that you can coordinate around Banksy and his work.Theres a few things you need to know up front though:
1. Although I'm focusing on Banksy, any other artist could just as easily be spotlighted with some adjustment of the initial app choices.
2. I'm going to be building on the concepts I set out in my Chemistry of Combos series. As such I will refer to absorption (A), creation (C) and presentation (P) apps.
3. The project is going to culminate in one MONSTER app combo. This may prove a little daunting to those new to the use of iPads in the classroom. Feel free to chop it down into smaller morsels if that's easier for you to digest.
So where do we start? I guess I need a learning objective...
To evaluate the artistic style of Bansky and use it to create a digital gallery of our own art.
That'll do to start with. I'm a firm believer that LOs should be flexible and evolve with the flow of the lessons. I'm going to split the process down into various stages and we'll be collating work that will ultimately be brought together in iMovie.
ABSORB AND EVALUATE
We're going to start by looking at a sample of Banksy's work and evaluating it by comparing and contrasting both within his own portfolio and against others of the street art movement.
Here are three potential ways to absorb the relevant information for this part of the project:
USE A STREET ART APP
There are several Banksy/ Street Art apps available in the App Store and they generally fall into one of two categories - slideshows of pictures or maps to locations of the pieces. Be aware that some are hideously overpriced for what they offer.
Your best bet is one called Street Art Gellery which includes galleries of photos of work by Banksy and several other prominent street artists. Images can be screengrabbed and annotated using Skitch, Doodle Buddy or something similar. Starting with images of the art itself makes logical sense, though the information provided alongside each piece is generally limited to artist name, title and location in these types of apps.
USE THE INTERNET
You could actually get more out of a simple Google search. Even obvious choices like Wikipedia will provide more than just a gallery of art and there are a wealth of dedicated street art sites such as globalstreetart.com.
Being a fan of child-led inquiry, I wouldn't necessarily give students a specific website to look at but rather a series of broad prompt questions, such as: who is Banksy? What is Street Art? What are the features of his style? Why is he famous? Students can again seek sample images for annotation but also collate facts about the artist for a profile.
If you want to control the flow of information even more, Nearpod is the perfect choice. An interactive Nearpod session could include a teacher-collated slideshow (perfect for avoiding any conrolversial images) as well as the opportunity to annotate images and answer questions. You could even poll them with a picture prompt - "is this art?" Another benefit here is that the tecaher is gathering valuable data on student understanding which can inform future differentiation.
How do students get anything tangible from Nearpod though, to use in their own project? The answer of course if screengrabbing. I've used Nearpod several times and embedded instructions into the presentation to take a screengrab of a slide before submitting to the teacher. Students gather a small set of images for use elsewhere. I've even had them send the images to Dropbox for printing and insertion into exercise books.
Whatever source you elect to use, students will investigate the man, the work, the legend etc and then choose how they are going to present their findings. Choice being offered here is crucial in my opinion as students engage better when they control their own learning.
Some suggestions nonetheless:
An obvious choice as images and text can be collated and then the whole thing narrated as a screencast video.
Collate your annotated images then narrate as a slideshow.
Now though this is another obvious choice at this point, you may wish to hold off on it as it comes up later...
At this point I must remind you that we're ultimately going to end up using iMovie so whichever method you choose, it ideally needs to export as a video (or series of images that you can then narrate in iMovie.) You could even go straight into iMovie though that does limit your use of text/annotations. In terms of differentiation for different ability levels, you could also allow some students to complete this stage in pairs or small groups if needed.
Here concludes the first part of the project. Artwork has been evaluated and the man behind the spraycan has been investigated.
Now its time to get creative.
CREATE AND COLLATE
As we move on to the creation phase of the project, several specific Creation apps will come into play as a part of that big combo I mentioned at the start. Essentially though, the next step involves creating some digital art in the style of Banksy then display our art inside a virtual gallery using Gallery 3D.
These are the apps we're going to use:
IamBanksy is simple but effective, making it a great app to start with (NB it's an iPhone app but works just fine on the iPad too.) It allows you to snap a photo and superimpose a piece of Bansky's art, complete with your own text. You can even opt to use a stencil and then your finger becomes the spraycan as you stencil your design.
Have students choose a suitable backdrop (how often do they get permission to "graffiti" the school?) and potentially place themselves in the image too while a friend takes the picture. They can then select a Banksy stencil of their choosing but then make the piece their own by using their own words as a part of the piece. This is great as it highlights the importance of words in this particular artform. Perhaps they could assume the role of Banksy in their own locale. What social commentary would he make? Here in Dubai, I'm sure he'd have a field day!
It also provides a good opportunity to reinforce persepctive and proportion (similar to what I discussed in my feature on Tellagami) as these are essential for composing an effective image that looks authentic.
Some of my own sample designs can be found in the gallery to the right.
This is the app I mentioned earlier - the first app I ever reviewed for the site. Fotofitti is another iPhone-based app that works fine on an iPad. It allows users to create Banksy style stencils out of their own photos. You choose the image and the stencil is then crafted from it for you. Shaking the device like a spraycan then sprays the image onto a wall background.
Options then available include changing the wall style, aging the paint effect and changing the colour of the paint.You can also add text though only by freehand so I advise using the pinch-zoom with a thin brush size to ensure precision. Another key tip is to choose an image that stands out. This might mean taking a photo with a relatively clean background or selecting a gif or png without a background.
Another gallery of sample images can be found to the right.
TRY IT FOR REAL
Having created some digital street art, students are now primed to try the real thing if you want them to. It's actually fairly straight forward. The hardest part is making a precise stencil, which depending on the level of detail, can be a time-consuming process - trust me, I made a few a couple of years ago. The best advise I can give is make it big and clear as the smaller the image, the more detail you end up sacrificing either intentionally or by mishap.
There are obviously a couple of health and safety concerns that need to be considered for an activity like this - the use of craft knives and spraycans. As such, depending on the age of your students, this may need to be a guided activity.
In terms of the actual stencil, a good place to start is the Strix site which allows you to generate one from an image of your choice. It gives you a choice of contrast variations as well as the ability to add some stencil letter text if you wish. Print your image onto the thickest card you have available and then cut out the black parts. Add one spraycan and a canvas (or a wall!) and you're in business. Having completed a piece, students can then take a photo for insertion in the next step of their project - collating their whole range of art work in a virtual gallery.
INTO THE GALLERY
So this is where Gallery 3D comes in. Import all of the images of artwork into the gallery and spend some time arranging them around the gallery. With that done we're going to take some new screengrabs ready for import into Tellagami... but let me just slip off on a little tangent for a second:
You could draw a line under the project right here. The 3D gallery could itself be the final piece of work which could be shared with the teacher, parents and anyone else with ease. You could also use the Reflector app to screencast a virtual tour of the gallery, as discussed in the Chemistry of Combos Bonus Round post.
Ok, I'm going to keep going now. The next step is to use Tellagami to present each piece of work. Create your avatar and position them so that they are seemingly standing in the gallery. You can then discuss the piece - the inspiration, the idea, the process. Gamis have a 30 second time limit but if you need more time, just take another screengrab from 3D Gallery at a different angle and use in Tellgami to create a second "shot."
To the right you can find a video of three clips from Tellagami sewn together.
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER
Let's recap. We have now got some evaluation work, looking at Banksy's work, the Street art movement etc as well as some creations of our own, gathered in the virtual gallery and narrated via Tellagami.
As mentioned earlier, iMovie is our ultimate destination as it will serve as the presentation app that collates all of these elements. You can even add some extra images of Banksy's work as title cards to separate and introduce the different sections.
The Tellagamis can be cropped to remove the logo splash screen that's tagged on the end of them and edited together to create the virtual tour of your gallery. If extra footage has been taken during the creation process of physical pieces, this can be inserted here too.
I would even suggest filming a final piece to bookend and round off the whole project, A good idea would be to ask the student to reflect on the project and provide self-assessment. Of course, they could always film multiple clips of themselves and intersperse them as an alternative to the aforementioned introductory images (ie title cards.)
In terms of app combos, what we're looking at here is actually a twin combo - e.g. Street art Gallery (A) + Explain Everything (C) + iMovie (P) paired with IamBanksy (C) + Fotofitti (C) + 3D Gallery (P) + Tellagami (C) + iMovie (P)
Told you it was a monster!
You could even take it further though using Aurasma or a combo of Vimeo + QR Reader to take the final video into augmented reality and make an absolutely awesome display in your classroom.
Ok, that's all folks. I'd like to end with one of my favourite Banksy quotes, from his book Wall and Piece:
“Think outside the box, collapse the box and take a sharp knife to it.” Banksy
Thanks for reading.