I teach visual art at a magnet high school in New Haven. Our student population is extremely diverse - two thirds of the students come from New Haven, one-third of the students come from surrounding suburbs. Besides being geographically diverse the students are also socio-economically diverse, as well as racially diverse. This diversity of students means that they walk into my art room with a variety of different skills and prior art knowledge.
One class where almost all students start on the same playing field, regardless of their previous schooling, is Digital Art. Because most of the technology is so new many students have not used the computer as an art medium, and a very few have used simple programs such as Paint. Digital Art is a course where students are introduced to the basic principles of design, manipulating images using Photoshop and experiencing the process a Graphic Designer goes through when designing a variety of different products. This unit will have students assume the role of a Graphic Designer who has been given a project by client who is very concerned with the health of high school students. The client would like to create three different public service announcements, in the form of posters, regarding three different issues: smoking, body image and nutrition. Students will go through the processes used by a graphic designer - first researching and collecting as much information as they can about each issue. Then they will brainstorm, do thumbnail sketches, roughs, and finally will create eye-catching posters to alert their peers of these health issues.