Sarah Van Loo Fuses Arts and Technology
One of my favorite things to hear in the classroom is, ‘I did it!’ With Tynker, I hear this regularly.
Many teachers have hidden talents, and Sarah Van Loo is no exception: she once illuminated a tutu with a LilyPad Arduino! To Sarah, a Tynker Blue Ribbon Educator and PLTW (Project Lead the Way)/STEAM Educator at Ann Arbor Public Schools, creativity and personalization are integral to computer science education. That’s one of the reasons why she uses Tynker as a tool with her students: “They enjoy the vast selection of stock stages and characters that Tynker provides, and they like customizing and even creating their own, too. They are thrilled with being able to customize characters and use their code in Minecraft.” Read on to learn more about how Sarah brings together art and technology!
|Sarah Van Loo Blog|
|Ann Arbor Public Schools|
|Ann Arbor, MI|
Tynker is one tool that Sarah uses to helps students combine their creativity and coding skills. She explains that her students love being able to “create their own projects from scratch” and “apply [computer science] skills as they create projects that demonstrate their learning.” One perfect example of artistic skill meeting technology occurred in Sarah’s class when a group of girls made a music video about their robots and even made a paper wardrobe for the robots. And as with any creative task, personalized feedback is crucial for helping learners continue to hone their craft–whether they are using paints, Tynker Blocks, or other expressive media. Sarah feels that Tynker allows her to more easily provide necessary encouragement and guidance: “As a teacher, I appreciate the ease of managing a classroom in Tynker. It’s easy to keep track of my students’ progress and to give students feedback about their work.”
Tynker offers the opportunity for students to collaborate as they view and interact with others’ projects. This kind of collaboration, in turn, fosters creativity and innovation, which is why Sarah enjoys using Tynker with her students: “Students can interact with projects others make, allowing for a collaborative and creative coding environment for all.” And when students are grouped together to complete a task, the creative power of collaboration can be magnified, as evidenced by the group who made a music video about their robots, along with other successful group projects.
Sarah recognizes that this is a great time to be a STEAM educator, with her background in both educational technology (last year she finished her Master of Arts in Educational Technology degree) and art. She plans to continue to help students develop their technology and art skills in whatever classroom she teaches: “Trained as a Visual Arts Educator and earning a master’s in educational technology, I am in a position to infuse art into any STEM lesson that I can. If I am ever back in an art room, my goal will be to put technology into the hands of my art students. Either way, I look forward to educating tomorrow’s creative world changers.”
We’re honored to have Sarah Van Loo as part of our Tynker educator community! We can’t wait to see how she continues to empower students to think outside of the box and combine their skills to be the next generation of innovators.
Read our previous post about Tynker Blue Ribbon Educator Anna Blake, who makes coding accessible to all students!