Like students at most art schools, the young women who attend the Moore College of Art in Center City spend their first year on campus diving into the basics of art — learning the foundations of drawing, painting and sculpture.
But along with the pencils, brushes and crayons you’d expect to be in a young artist’s tool kit, Moore students also rely on something much more high-tech: their iPads.
Since 2012, Moore has given every first-year student a new Apple device once they arrive on campus. Administrators say they decided to implement the program because they wanted to integrate the digital aspects of the curriculum with the more traditional parts of the program.
“One of the main ways the students use their iPads is as a multimedia sketchbook,” says professor Lynn Palewicz, who teaches the foundation of art class all students are required to take. “It’s a wonderful container for ideas and allows for experimenting and exploring.”
While the first generation of digital natives are now in college, many Moore students, such as Ava Mallett hadn’t thought to incorporate digital media into their work before they started classes. “I actually didn’t know that was a thing,” says Mallet, a sophomore fine arts major who grew up in Texas.
Mallett says the tablet is particularly useful while experimenting with new ideas she’s not completely sure of. “Sometimes I will choose a different route with hash marks and colors. Doing that on a physical object is permanent,” she notes, adding that having the option of trying things out has given her greater flexibility.
“I like having the iPad because I can have my notes when I prepare my ideas,” says student Emily Eggly. “I can use it for things like color testing. And I’ve been using it to just get information also.”
The learning curve
Some students were hesitant to embrace using their iPads in class alongside other tools. Mallett admits that she was one of them. “At first I thought, ‘I’m just going to use it to take notes,’” she says. “But now I use it often.”
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter@LakshmiGandhi.