Adobe Photoshop: An Educational Tool

Adobe Photoshop's Interface

Adobe Photoshop’s Interface

Imagine a technology that would allow you to convert a traditional piece of artwork into a digital piece of art, create and compile compositions and sketches easily, and even add an “undo” button to the world of art. When teaching art to children, this technology would allow one to give their students increased freedom, flexibility, creativity, and security, ensuring that they feel challenged, privileged, and safe within the classroom. With this sense of pride and self-efficacy, students are more likely to succeed as they overcome challenges and feel accomplished with their art.

Adobe Photoshop is an innovative technology that can be utilized in the art room to broaden the opportunities students have. Adobe Photoshop, commonly shortened to just “Photoshop”, is a graphics editing program developed and published by Adobe Systems. First released in 1989, there have been several new editions, with Creative Suite 6, or CS6, being the final version released on August 30, 2012. With each new upgrade comes new features and new possibilities as Adobe continues to improve each year.

Adobe Photoshop is intended for a variety of different purposes, such as being a tool to create professional graphic work, an educational resource for students, and even an easy-to-use application for people to edit photos with. Adobe knows the flexibility their program offers and often include add-ons and bonuses to help enhance the Photoshop experience. According to Pro Design Tools, a blog that focuses on Adobe developments, Adobe even offers yearlong project-based curricula that include “presentations, technical guides, project guidelines, reproducible student materials and select media assets, and each project builds on lessons learned previously” (Pro Design, 2012). These curricula use the scaffolding technique, in which students build upon previous knowledge and reach “higher levels of knowledge construction” (Rienties 2012). Not only does Adobe offer help for teachers, it offers help for students as well. On the official Adobe website, tutorials and help can be found with videos and articles explaining how to use Photoshop effectively (Adobe, 2013).

Free Full-Year Curriculas

Free Full-Year Curriculas

Although it helps that Adobe puts in extra effort to make their technology useful, the program, itself, can help students find success in the art classroom. Adobe Photoshop is a digital program that allows students to explore without fear of mistakes. With an unlimited amount of undo buttons and the option to create several copies of one piece of artwork, students can experiment and try new things without having to sacrifice a beloved piece. This is extremely helpful when working with traditional art. With a scanner, a computer, and Adobe Photoshop, a student can use Photoshop to work on their piece without affecting the piece of paper in his hands. When the instructor offers a suggestion or criticism, the student can apply the change in Photoshop before deciding whether or not to follow through traditionally. Having this option in the classroom not only boosts self-confidence, it also promotes creative thinking, constructive criticism, and open possibilities.

When teaching art to students, it is important that the students feel confident within their own abilities. High levels of self-efficacy have been proven to develop better results in difficult coursework and a mastery of understanding of the content. Students simply do their best when they feel that they can do their best. With Adobe Photoshop CS6, or previous versions, students are given the opportunity to explore freely and creatively solve problems without fear, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. In an art classroom, every student deserves the chance to succeed and learn.

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