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This is the first draft of a proposal for one type of meaningful use
for computer technology, using the internet, by Middle School students.
The concept is to have students interview visual artists in their
community. Hopefully several Middle Schools around the country would
participate in the activity. A common set of questions would need to be
developed and agreed upon methods as well. I envision a pair of
students conducting a face to face interview, and making a voice
recording. The next step would be to transcribe the interview.
Different teams of students could conduct other interviews. I see an
immediate benefit to the students from preparing for and conducting the
interview. I see an additional benefit when they report out the
experience to a larger group of students.
My District is involved in Kancrn, a collaborative research network.
You can check out some of the research and methods at http://kancrn.org
on the internet. They are willing to provide web space and expertise to
help teachers anywhere publish ongoing research. I envision publishing
the text of each interview, along with images of the artist and their
work, as soon as it is transcribed and proof read. It would be
available to anyone who wished to view (read only) or download it.
Teachers and students involved in this research would have total
(read/write) access to the site. As new material was ready it would be
available to all involved.
Making sense of the interview data would be the next step. I see two
major possibilities. One, students could write and publish summaries
about each individual artist. Students in various parts of the country
could compare these papers or divide the tasks. The second possibility
would be to look at various answers to individual questions asked. We
could publish the students conclusions as they compare and contrast
answers. We can publish as we go, the research would really never end.
But, students could prepare powerful presentations for their communities
based upon the research. I believe the strongest potential for this
research would be the historical record our students would leave for
We need to make every effort to make this into quality research,
designed to motivate students so realize they are doing a serious
worthwhile activity. If they see that it has meaning, I believe they
will give it the serious effort and time it deserves. We need to store
the voice interviews for future generations, so if any of you are into
burning your own CDís and would like to take that part on, great.
Kancrn has the ability to put parts of the voice recordings on line when
it would enhance the presentation.
I refer you to an e-mail from Pam Stephans about a somewhat similar
interview: This activity was a wonderful way for kids to find out what
it takes to be a producing artist and to make a living at it. They also
discovered that not all artists are dead! Jim is quite alive and
actually made a trip from New Jersey to Texas to visit the kids in their
If you have questions about how to find an artist to interview or how
this interview process worked, I'll be glad to elaborate.
Hope this helps.
I also learned of the work of Judi Harris that you can look at to see
various types of collaborative learning on the internet.
click on http://www.2learn.ca/Projects/Together/structures.html
Thank you for hanging in through this very long post. I just had to
elaborate on this idea and put it out there for your input. I am
finding this internet environment, and my new family out there to be
very helpful. When you spot holes in my ideas, tell me. I wonít be
hurt very much, and not for very long. If you know of similar projects
let me know. As Middle School teachers express an interest in the
project I will begin to compile an online list to sent out.
Thanks for reading this far, Woody in KC
This E-mail message is from Artist/Teacher Woody Duncan Rosedale Middle School in Kansas City, Kansas the new URL for school is http://kancrn.kckps.k12.ks.us/user04 to see my beautiful grandkids Tim, Tess and Tiff click on http://www.taospaint.com/NineMonths.html to see my students working in the RMSartSTUDIO click on http://kancrn.kckps.k12.ks.us/user04/art.self.htm to contact me via E-mail click on wduncan better yet visit my Web Site at http://www.taospaint.com