ISTE20Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Generating Surprising Art Through Coding

Explore and create
Pre-registration required

Explore and create : BYOD

Monday, June 24, 3:00–4:00 pm
Location: 118A

Sean Justice   Michael Tempel  
In generative art the artist creates the system; the system creates the work of art. The outcome is not fully predetermined. Variations are expected and surprising! We’ll use Scratch to explore generative art. You’ll have hands-on experience, resources and activities to take away and use with your students.

Audience: Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Attendees will need to have an account on the Scratch website: They can sign up at the workshop if they don't already have an account.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Maker activities and programs
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Performing/visual arts
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
  • Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will
• Understand the concept of generative art
• Be exposed to examples of generative art that have been created by professional artists
• Understand how computer programs are one type of generative system; the one that we focus on in the workshop
• See examples of generative art created using Scratch; remix these examples and create their own
• Share their creations with others in the workshop and more broadly with the Scratch community in a studio on the Scratch website
• Begin to develop strategies for implementing a generative art unit with their students using Scratch or, if applicable, other programming environments

Specific skills will include
• Writing a program that produces a visual artifact, wither a stationary drawing or an animation
• Introducing uncertainty into the result by using the random function, keyboard, motion, and sound inputs
• Remixing and sharing projects

Resources for this workshop are:
• a page with a brief description of a similar workshop along with background references and resources. (Note that this page refers to TurtleArt as well as Scratch, but for the brief workshop we are proposing we will limit the software to just Scratch.)
• and which are Scratch studios from pervious similar workshops, which include samples and projects created by participants. A similar studio will be established for the proposed workshop.


The workshop will include presentations, hands-on exploration and project building, and sharing among participants.

• Overview of generative art and examples of this type of work by artists (5 minutes)
• Presentation of examples of generative art in Scratch using samples that will be available for participants to explore and remix during hands-on time (10 minutes)
• Hands-on project development where participants work individually or in pairs, exploring and remixing samples, and creating original programs. (30 minutes). During this time
o the facilitators will circulate to provide technical assistance, offer suggestions, and connect people who are working on similar projects who may want to share ideas.
o pause to offer a brief comment or demo to highlight a point that comes up during the explorations
• Wrap up (15 minutes)
o Sharing projects. Participants add their creations to the Scratch studio and demo to the group.
o Facilitators and participants share thoughts on strategies for implementing a generative art unit in their classrooms

Supporting research

Articles about Generative Art

What is Generative Art? by Phillip Galanter

Generative Art for All by Michael Tempel

Wikipedia article on Generative Art

Resource page for our generative art workshop

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Sean Justice, Texas State University
Michael Tempel, Logo Foundation

Michael Tempel has been engaged in computer science education for over 35 years as a teacher, administrator, and program developer in a wide range of public, private, and nonprofit organizations. He is currently President of the Logo Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization devoted to supporting educators, parents, and students in their engagement with creative computing. He is a member of the leadership team and past Professional Development Chair of ISTE's Computer Science Network.

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