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Del Lago Academy's Art & Design Teachers Integrate Technology into the Virtual Classroom

David Nemteanu and Soudabeh Memarzadeh, the Department Chairs of the Art and Design Program at Del Lago Academy in Escondido, California, are integrating FIDM presentations into the virtual classroom in new ways. The Art and Design Program is an innovation of the high school’s College Technical Education (CTE) program, which satisfies the art and CTE requirements for high school students in the State of California. Of the courses in the program, Nemteanu and Memarzadeh collaborate on teaching 10th Grade Principles of Design 1 and 2, a year-long course divided into two semesters.

Celestial Movie Poster of Female with Jewelry

This year, the course was taught virtually. To accommodate the needs of their students, Nemteanu and Memarzadeh reimagined the assignments to increase student engagement and improve productivity. The solution was to integrate new technologies into the virtual art classroom, such as digital pens and an advanced design application for the students’ iPads, which allowed students to utilize an array of digital art and design components, including photo editing, typography, photography, and digital manipulation. Using these newfound technologies, Nemteanu and Memarzadeh assigned their 10th grade students a digital movie poster assignment following the virtual FIDM presentation, Entertainment Marketing in the Digital Age: Graphic Design, shared by College Representative Kelly Pudgil.

For the assignment, students took original photographs in or around their homes, which they then digitally manipulated on their iPads. By incorporating the use of technology into the assignment, students were able to more fully engage with their home environments, while also engaging with the art and design curriculum at Del Lago Academy. “For this project, they were really engaged, and I think they really enjoyed it,” Nemteanu explained. “They were asking questions, and produced a lot of work. There was a lot of back and forth, a lot of questioning. In this environment, that is what you want. You want that questioning, that back and forth for scholars.”

Instructor David Nemteanu

Memarzadeh elaborated that FIDM’s presentation aligned with the Principles of Design course curriculum, and enabled students to have a better grasp of the possibility of a future career in art and design. “It’s a very effective lesson plan,” said Memarzadeh. “[Pudgil] is a great support for students, because the group of students that we teach are 10th graders. That’s exactly when they are starting to think about FIDM. Many of them don’t know that going to design school is a possibility, and they are not aware of how close the opportunities are.”

Del Lago Academy students also learn about FIDM and careers in the creative business and design industries in the high school’s FIDM Fashion Club. “The club has really good leadership components within it, so we use that too for the kids if they want to participate in the club,” club advisor Memarzadeh said. “Club presidents are very eager to have functions for the club, and it teaches them really great management skills and leadership skills.” Memarzadeh also teaches Digital Media as Adjunct Faculty in the Architecture Department at NewSchool of Art & Design, in San Diego, California.

Instructor Sudabeh Memarzadeh

Both Nemteanu and Memarzadeh look forward to continuing to provide students with the opportunity to develop art and design skills by integrating technology into the classroom. “We are not just relying on computers,” Memazadeh elaborated. “Now that we have more powerful applications on the iPad, our students from now on will have more access to digital applications.” Nemteanu agreed, commenting that the integration of many new applications and technologies in the classroom next year will not only accommodate students, but allow them to discover new vistas in the world of art and design.