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Teaching the Arts at Online School: How it Works

07.04.22

It’s not too difficult to picture how many classes would work at an online school. Subjects like history or maths, for example, can function exactly the same in a virtual classroom as they would in a traditional school. If you’ve ever used a language learning app, meanwhile, you can likely picture how online technologies would come in handy during a French or Spanish class.  

However, many parents are left stumped when it comes to more hands-on subjects at online school — for example, how do children learn the arts? In reality, while it may be hard to imagine a virtual painting class or an online drama lesson at first, students really can get a stellar creative education from the comfort of their own computer.  

At King’s InterHigh, the leading UK online school, creative subject options include Art and Design, Music, Drama, Creative Media, Photography, and Film. Not sure how these classes could work online? Here’s how King’s InterHigh’s expert teachers guide each student through their artistic learning and development. 

Combining virtual with physical

Picture a traditional fine art class at a mainstream school: students working independently at their desks or easels as a teacher demonstrates technique and offers individual guidance. You may be surprised to learn that an online school art class works in a very similar way. The only difference is that King’s InterHigh blends this hands-on creativity with virtual teaching methods. 

In live, interactive classes, King’s InterHigh art teachers explain and demonstrate the ins and outs of artistry. Just as a traditional teacher would stand at the front of a classroom to teach form, technique, and materials, an online school teacher explains these concepts through a live video link. Students then use this information and guidance to create art from workspaces in their own homes.  

Just because online schools exist in the digital sphere, don’t think all learning takes place virtually. Online students use the same materials mainstream school students do, painting on canvas and sculpting with their hands, taking photos and sketching figures.  

Teachers demonstrate using desk cameras which share their work clearly on screen. Then, as online learners work on their art pieces, teachers provide critique and feedback. Students can stream their process through a webcam, allowing their teachers to see their work just as they would if they shared the same physical classroom. All in all, online art lessons involve the same level of creativity and evaluation you’d expect in any traditional class. 

Working together online 

Of course, not all art is created independently. In drama classes, for example, performing with other students is a crucial part of learning how to connect with fellow actors, improvise dialogue, and more.  

That said, students don’t need to be in the same physical space to work together. Through their cameras and microphones, they can speak with their classmates, demonstrate gestures and expressions, and collaborate on planning and scriptwriting. Learners may begin an online drama lesson with a whole-class warm-up, then separate into digital “breakout rooms” to practice skits in small groups.  

Students can even put on whole plays online. For the King’s InterHigh Theatre Club’s first online production this year, students rehearsed together virtually, then for the performance, pre-recorded their lines in the comedy play Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations. These clips were then edited together to form the full piece, ready to present to fellow students and parents. 

Taking advantage of flexibility 

The flexibility of online schooling also gives students an advantage in many creative subjects. While studying photography, for example, King’s InterHigh learners aren’t limited to taking photos within the vicinity of their school building or around the same town.  

The King’s InterHigh school community is made up of young people from all over the globe with endlessly varied lifestyles. This gives each student the opportunity to showcase environments, people, and objects that are unique to them. A teen in an Atlantic coastal city, for example, may snap photos of dolphins, capturing the motion of water in an incredible way. A child who balances online school with skiing, meanwhile, will learn how to adjust their camera settings to photograph pure white snow perfectly. 

As students share all this distinctive work with each other, they’ll get unmatched exposure to different styles of photography, camera techniques, and visual perspectives. In turn, this brings learners a more well-rounded understanding of photography that they may not get at a mainstream school.  

Showcasing student work 

Finally, King’s InterHigh always makes sure to showcase and celebrate the amazing work students produce in their creative classes. Alongside putting on productions and sharing images in class, students also get to see their work on display. Instead of hanging paintings on school walls, however, King’s InterHigh compiles them in blog posts and videos. 

On top of inspiring fellow students and making parents proud, these virtual showcases also get students’ art in front of people outside their school community. Who knows — by sharing with our global community online, the next person to see a student’s drawingmay be a publisher with illustration opportunities to offer or a gallery owner putting in search for pieces for an exhibition. 

Bringing your child an artistic education at King’s InterHigh 

Creativity has been highly valued and encouraged at King’s InterHigh since the school was founded in 2005. Fiona Henderson, King’s InterHigh’s Head of Middle School, explains that the arts can give a voice to students who have struggled with anxiety or self-esteem in mainstream school. Plus, studying art online prepares creative students for a future career in design, film, animation, and many more fields. 

At King’s InterHigh, more than half of the student community studies one or more arts subjects. From age of seven, young online learners can study Creative Media, Drama, and Music. At 11 years old, opportunities open up to include Film Studies and Art and Design. Even more classes are introduced at GCSE-age, with courses like Photography Perspectives on offer. Many learners also join King’s InterHigh so they can balance their academic education with real-life artistic pursuits. Alumnus Bella Ramsey, for example, played roles in major television shows such as Game of Thrones and The Worst Witch while she was a student. 

If you’re looking for an online school that places importance in the arts and supports children all the way through their creative learning, check out King’s InterHigh. 

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