Arts Classes Strained By Remote Model

Arts Classes Strained By Remote Model

Ella Ramos ('21), Co-editor

Art classes in particular have struggled tremendously to adapt to remote classes because most students don’t have accessibility at home to the materials and tools used in class at home. 

Remote classes are deeply affecting art students as their education is being limited and cut down immensely due to the lack of in person classes. It’s discouraging to many teachers because they can’t teach the units they could normally easily do in person because they can’t teach to students who don’t have the materials. 

Animation uses programs like Adobe Photoshop which is very expensive for the individual student, though this is something that is provided by RMHS but only on school computers, which we can only use four times a month. Other classes like sculpture are also struggling right now to assign work because not everyone has accessibility to clay, which again is a major setback. More classes like photography just simply can’t be taught through zoom, again limiting our understanding of the subject we signed up to learn.

The arts are meant to be seen, and heard, and experienced. And that’s really difficult to do remotely.

— Ms. Dailey, art teacher

Animation and design teacher, Ms. Dailey, commented through email on her opinion on the hybrid plan. She shared her thoughts regarding the disadvantages of remote classes as she’s seen it first hand this year:

“Teaching remotely has forced me into quickly adapting to a whole new world. In Digital Photography, for example, not all of my students have anything more than their smartphones to capture images. So, Digital Photography quickly became Smartphone Photography.

“It’s heartbreaking to be so passionate about a subject and not be able to teach it the way I normally would. Cameras are essential to my course. It’s nearly impossible to teach about the functions of the camera using iPhone apps. And in my Animation and Design course, there’s only so far I can take the students without introducing them to the industry-standard software. We’ve covered stop-motion animation, but the fun part hasn’t even begun. What we could be doing with those stop-motion animations requires Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere, all software that 98% of my students do not have access to at home.

“And forcing the students to subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud for $19.99 a month is not only unfair, but it becomes an issue of equity. Drama and music classes are affected in very much the same way. How do you have a musical production when all in-person events are canceled? How do you teach choir when the students are not allowed to sing indoors? The arts are meant to be seen, and heard, and experienced. And that’s really difficult to do remotely.” 

Though we may not have everyday access to software like Adobe Photoshop, After Effects or Premiere, we have other ways of learning about animation instead. We use simpler apps on our phones to edit stop motion videos and photos. Although it could be discouraging to be so limited, students are finding innovative ways to combat inaccessibility such as other programs and free week trials of adobe photoshop. As long as we maintain patience and open mindedness, we’ll be back and prepared to practice our favorite form of art in no time.