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Lesson Plans


r.e.: Technology & Art Education

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
David Parsons (103137.1437)
27 Feb 96 18:51:05 EST


To Sally Bowler and Danielle, r.e.: Technology & Art Education

Sally:

I caught your response to Danielle about Technology and Art Ed, and thought I'd
address a few points in the forum.

First, let's beef up your credential a bit : When you say you speak "...not
with the experience of a K-12 Teacher, but with the experience of an artist and
researcher in these new media...." you of course leave out the details of your
connection with our State Department of Education Art Specialist, your
grantwriting, and your activities as an inservice provider for art teachers...in
other words, you DO speak with the voice of someone who is considered a peer to
those of us in the trenches here in New Mexico...

And now that I've blown your cover, let me take issue with one or two things you
said. You state: "I wish teachers would use computers and especially video
more often in teaching. (I know many, if not most, schools have at least one
camcorder around, and more and more have computer technology. So equipment is
not the main thing.).... It's a lack of understanding of new media...."

Yea, we had a camcorder, purchased by and therefore dominated by the athletic
department. Then someone dropped it at a game and we couldn't get a replacement
for a year. Then the replacement was stolen. All the while, one teacher kept
trying to use it for an instructional, student-made newscast, but she finally
gave up in the face of absurdity. So I'd still say that equipment is the main
thing, at least around here.... On the other hand, we HAD the equipment, but it
was logistically impossible to use it. A couple of years before it disappeared,
I did get ahold of the camera myself for an interdisciplinary Sci-Fi unit
wherein we made physical props and filmed them (this was before Macs and Morph,
although we still can't really use Morph - more logistical problems....). The
results were neat but the project management - with one camera and someone
else's personal editing equipment - was a nightmare. We tried to repeat the
unit once, but after that I stopped....

So I guess what I'm saying to you and Danielle is that maybe it's not lack of
understanding as such that prevents the use of technological advances in the art
room, perhaps it's something as mundane as a logistics and management issue.
Yes, most teachers I know are cautious about jumping into something new, and
yes, many of them are simply afraid of change, but many more are just exercising
healthy precautions so they don't end up with too much extra work and classroom
chaos.

For my own sanity, I ask myself a bunch of silent questions whenever faced with
a new technology or an administrator/salesperson trying to sell me a bill of
goods:

1. Is the "thing" supported?
2. If not, can I support it myself?
3. Can I perceive a need and a reason for my students to participate?
4. Is it logistically feasable and manageable?
5. Does it make sense, in general, as an art activity?
6. Does it tie in with overall art concepts (elements of design, etc.) that I
teach?
7. What's the payoff; i.e., how much does it advance my student's education?

And so, I think, I'm also answering some of Danielle's questions in a round
about way: While such things as computer generated art are indeed changing the
idea of what art can be, I don't think traditional expression is dead in the art
room - nor will it be, because all still imagery ties into the basic design
concepts, and video imagery just adds concepts such as motion and time which can
also be considered among principles or elements of design. Furthermore,
teachers usually analyze these new things in the context of traditional art
because we need continuity, points of reference, and a reason, in our own minds,
for jumping on the bandwagon.

"New media are just other media." You are right, Sally.

Dave Parsons