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Lesson Plans

Re: New Thread (digital photo)

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
craig roland (rol1851.EDU)
Tue, 15 Jul 1997 21:16:54 -0500

This tread has produced some interesting musings which I would like to
respond to:

Diane wrote:

>We and all the photographers and artists that have mentioned so far, are a
>product of a time that seems to be slowly slipping away...snip....The
>older >generation (myself) was not brought up with these new computer
>technologies and >I have a fondness for the old manipulative ways of
>making art. What about our
>students? They are being exposed to new ways of thinking and doing and
>when they become teachers, their students will be exposed to still yet
>another way of working, as technology continues to advance and change the
>way art can be made.snip...I find it curious that a profession that values
>>creativity is so intolerant of new ideas and new approaches....snip

Bob wrote:

>......The power of the technology goes well beyond any
>manifestation of traditional art making media....snip....The power, the
>status, of art and art education will grow in relation to the amount of
>technology which it is willing to embrace. The time has passed for the
>creative minds of artists and art educators to labor unserved by the tools
>of technology.

I'm curious about these statements. Are these two authors proposing that
our future as a profession is dependent upon our willingness to embrace new
technologies at the expense of instruction/learning in traditional art
media? .....Read on....

Henry wrote:

>As for justifying our existance via our willingness to incorporate....
>computers or anything else is a moot point. It's been done. Is it evidence
>of desperation? Probably. If the expanded use of any "tool" will help
>insure the survival of art education in a given context or if it will
>possibly enhance funding should one take that opportunity? We'll all
>probably have to answer that one for ourselves. Perhaps not in reference
>to computers, maybe in terms of math or science, other effective tools of
>the artist.

It would seem to me that the decision to include any "tool" into a school
art program should be based upon what it presents students rather than the
potential it presents for "insuring the survival of art ed" or for
"enhancing funding."

Don't misinterpret my meaning here. I certainly support the integration of
new technologies into school art programs and won't belabor this point.
But, for me, this is not to say that "older" more conventional media
technologies such as crayons, clay, film, paint, the pencil (a great
technological achievement!) slides and the like are any less worthy for
their age. All media technologies have a place in school art curricula
provided that they can help to promote the ends of art education.

I think in our efforts to deal with the possibilities presented by new
technologies, we need to maintain a sense of BALANCE and promote those
qualities and opportunities for learning that are unique to our discipline.
I've written elsewhere:

"In spite of all the promises and benefits of new technology, its potential
drawbacks are too great to ignore. In particular, its potential for
fostering glitz over substance, speed over sustained effort, and
entertainment over critical reflection should be of concern to all of
us--especially as art teachers.

If the intent of public education is to prepare children to become
thinking, contributing members of the twenty-first century, we must not
allow technological advancements to overwhelm them, to numb their aesthetic
sensibilities, or to dictate their personal identities. Rather, we must
help children sustain their humanness in a highly technologized world. In
this context, the arts are a curricular necessity for they provide fertile
ground for cultivating in children those "high touch" sensibilities and
values that we intuitively feel are essential for living full and
productive lives in an increasingly artificial "high tech" environment.
Some of these uniquely human qualities nurtured in arts classrooms include:
the willingness to take chances, challenge convention, and explore the
unknown; the desire to work honestly, with self-discipline, while
acknowledging the success or failure of one's endeavors; the ability to
appraise and defend what is personally and socially important; as well as
the capacity to appreciate the warmth of a cello being bowed or plucked,
the gracefulness of a ballet dancer, the unpredictability of watercolor
paint being applied to a wet surface, the pliability of clay being formed
on a potter's wheel, and the excitement of a live dramatic performance.

In the end, whatever technologies are brought to bear on the art learning
process, children must learn to use the tools they have available to think,
to imagine, to create, to take on the impossible, to play with ideas, to
explore, and to feel what it means to be human."

In short, I agree with Sam:

> Computers, to me, while a valuable tool, are just that, another tool.
> But will never replace the sensual magic that working with materials has
> to a human being.


CRAIG ROLAND. Associate Professor-Art Education.
Department of Art, FAC 302, University of Florida, Gainesville Florida.
32611-5801. (352) 392-9165 - Art Ed Office (352) 392-8453 - Fax