"Painting with Light"
at Highlands School
"Painting with Light" at Highlands School
By Bruce Dixon
© 2009-2015 Naperville Education Foundation
203 W. Hillside Road, Naperville, IL 60540-6589
Students in a double exposure
Kyle Wood in his art classroom
Through its Annual Grant Awards, NEF helps fund inspirational enrichment
programs created by District 203 teachers, parents and students.
30-50 grants are awarded in the categories of Literacy, Math & Science, Fine Arts,
Health & Physical Development, General
and Cultural Studies.
An example of forced perspective
Art meets science at Highlands Elementary School, where an NEF grant is helping third grade students create "light paintings" using
familiar tools: digital cameras and flashlights.
Art teacher Kyle Wood said students apply software that allows for long exposure
photography using iPad cameras. Working in a darkened classroom, they shine small flashlights on moving or stationary objects. "For
example," Wood said, "they took a stuffed dragon and used a flashlight to mimic fire coming out of the dragonís mouth."
Wood added that some creations represent an abstract perspective, while others are as basic as a smiley face.
For more information about "Painting with Light" at Highlands School, contact
"The kids get very excited and enjoy looking for new perspectives," adds Wood, "including 'forced perspective', a technique that employs
optical illusion to make an object appear farther away, closer, larger or smaller than it actually is."
In addition, third grade students are learning how a digital camera works (general photography); fourth graders are learning stop-motion
animation (think Frankenweenie, Scary Movie 2, and Mr. Bill); and fifth grade students are working with digital video.
Photos can be
printed and mounted (framed) or uploaded onto the Internet.
Examples of abstract art
For the past three years, Wood has been working with District 203 on a project incorporating iPads and technology into the elementary
art curriculum. The District gave him 15 iPads -- enough for 30 students to work in pairs. With an $800 NEF grant, he purchased 15
each of iPad mounts, tripods and flashlights.
Wood recently learned that next yearís district contribution will allow him to double
the number of iPads and work with students individually.
Once each student has his or her own iPad and mount, Wood can fulfill his
long-term goal of getting students at all grade levels to create electronic (eBook) art portfolios that can grow with them.
studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, said the young students remain quiet and attentive when he explains scientific concepts,
and parents are responding positively. "Iíve gotten some good feedback from parents who see that this is another medium their kids
can excel atÖwhether itís drawing, animation, video or sculpture."