"Arts learning experiences play a vital role in developing students’ capacities for critical thinking, creativity, imagination, and innovation. These capacities are increasingly recognized as core skills and competencies all students need as part of a high-quality and complete 21st-century education."

-Sandra Ruppert, Senior Associate for Research and Policy
at Arts Education Partnership (AEP)

Project Need

We are entering a new world of communication that is no longer dominated by the written word. We need to teach our children to communicate in this new medium that includes music, color, spatial relationships, movement, and drama. Digital communication touches everyone from corporations to individuals. It is the future of communication and commerce. The arts are to digital communication what grammar and spelling are to the written word. The children of Texas need to be prepared to excel in a creative world, as well as a technological one.

In Texas, where 55.5% of our K-12 students are economically disadvantaged and 48.3% are considered at-risk, the arts can be one of the solutions to combat pressing problems such as rising dropout rates. We are losing our students, not only due to poor scholastics, but to boredom and lacking relevance. In a study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, “Nearly half (47 percent) of former students surveyed said a major factor in their decision to drop out was that classes were not interesting.” We believe arts education is part of the solution. Teaching digital media literacy through the arts creates a relevancy for the student while establishing skills that help them communicate and succeed.

Project Goal

These eight courses are approved by the Texas Education Agency as Innovative Courses. Three of them— Art and Media Communications I, Art and Media Communications II, and Music and Media Communications I— are currently available for district use. Curriculum materials for these three courses can be downloaded from this website by registered users. Curricular materials are in development for the remaining five courses.

These courses target 9th-12th grade students and bring together two highly motivating aspects of curriculum—fine arts and technology. They also provide opportunities to integrate other aspects of the curriculum, such as mathematics, social studies, English/language arts, and science. In order to prepare students for the world of the future, these courses teach the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in a new and highly innovative way that will prepare students for 21st century learning and working environments.

Students in these courses will

  • learn and use key fine arts-based concepts and techniques employed across multiple career fields, including creative and commercial professions
  • use traditional fine arts skills as well as technology skills,
  • articulate project goals and work through processes such as storyboarding and writing,
  • tell their stories through media,
  • conduct and apply research to creative projects,
  • reflect and evaluate,
  • offer feedback and criticism,
  • think conceptually,
  • work as a team and in various roles, and
  • create meaningful projects of value to them and their communities.

The content for each course is aligned with rigorous student learning objectives built from statewide standards, including the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Fine Arts and Technology Applications and the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS).

To Get Started:

  1. Register for an account on this website to access and download curriculum materials
  2. Login and participate in the online communities, discussion areas, and gallery sections. Share your experiences and ideas and connect with others.