Chris van Donkelaar foresees a bank of recently created, original images providing significant benefits for Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) members. Given the image-intense culture of today, this is especially relevant, he says.
Redeemer University College graduate Laura Konyndyk created the visuals for the early Canadian history junior curriculum which was recently uploaded to the OACS eCurriculum site.
“A good image can lead to new ideas and engage students in a really strong way,” says van Donkelaar.
He says he would like to see the images used not just in the curriculum they’ve been created for but other subjects as they prove relevant.
Plans are underway to create more image collections, with the expectation these will also add much to future cross-discipline, classroom activities.
“For a long time the OACS has invested in content that’s a shared resource for the association,” van Donkelaar notes.
“I’m excited that we’re now investing in some images that are also a shared resource.”
Van Donkelaar says he hopes the new resource inspires teachers and students alike to explore subjects more and more through visuals, as well as other creative means.
Noting that both her faith and commitment to Christian education drive her work at the OACS, Konyndyk says she’s happy to be part of making learning more exciting for students.
“I definitely wanted to create images that were colorful and fun and engaging,” says Konyndyk, adding the experience has been very positive, and she feels blessed to be able to use her artistic side.
Van Donkelaar notes Konyndyk worked very hard, with lots of discussion as the images evolved. He adds he believes the results are perfect for the context.
“Laura is an artist who really enjoys figurative illustration and her work is actually quite beautiful in its portrayal of people,” he says.
“I think it’s very much the right stylistic approach … for our Christian schools, and I expect teachers will be quite excited to have it as a resource.”
While it can be common for large education systems to commission original artwork, many smaller entities tend to rely on what are called mash-ups of what already exists, but as van Donkelaar explains, this is far from the ideal.
“I think people are by nature creative beings, and to limit that creativity to the structures that a mash-up allows is somewhat dehumanizing,” he says.