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Re: virtual community memories!


Date: Fri Feb 20 2004 - 15:29:48 PST

In a message dated 2/20/04 6:05:12 PM, writes:

> As part of my research, I intend to carry out email interviews with artists
> and art educators, such as yourselves. Confidentiality is guaranteed, and
> copies of the completed thesis will be delivered on request.

Hi Karalee,
I do not know how much help I can be to you; however, in 1994 I worked with a
woman hired by Apple Computer to "create a virtual
community of educators online" in what was the Apple online service (eWorld,
which folded in 1996, I believe) This was pretty early in the widespread
popular use of the Internet--I can remember being flabbergasted seeing my first
Instant Message from a person on the other side of the state. We managed
message boards and hosted educational conferences nightly in an online"room". At
this time it typically cost $6.00 an hour to be online, so we worked very hard
to offer quality for the cost. Our conference guests included authors, child
rearing experts, technology pioneers and experts in special needs. One of
our early guests was John Crowe from Mass College of Art! We prepared questions
ahead of time, emailing them to our guests, who participated from their
computers across the country. One of our guests was a teacher in Malaysia;
another was in Switzerland and several of our contacts were in Australia. Let me
tell you: ten years later we take all this for granted, but at that time it was
both scary and magical. We made a number of educational friendships and
collaborative groups online; some of us met each other in real life at
educational and technology conferences, and some colleagues remained virtual. Many
projects grew out of these early digital communications. Two of us were invited
to teach art classes to schoolchildren in Geneva, Switzerland connected with
the United Nations . We also connected school children live to a colleague in
Antarctica via chat. And on, and on.

Right now my colleagues and I find the Yahoo groups to be enormously
educational, entertaining and useful. We have connected with such interesting people
who we would never have met otherwise. We are using this forum to connect
to like-minded people. We have a smaller Yahoo group
( where we mentor and collaborate with teachers
interested in choice art education.

The opportunity to create content for the visual arts area
has also expanded our horizons and enabled us to improve our college level
teaching and to share the excellent research and classrooms of our colleagues.

Web logs are one of the newer venues for sharing art teaching ideas. We are
just beginning to see the opportunities available in that forum.

Art teachers are among the most isolated education professionals. The
Internet transforms us when it connects us.

good luck
Kathy Douglas