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Re: computer technology


From: dawn stien (dawnstien_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jun 08 2002 - 22:07:57 PDT

I have about a million thoughts on this topic and they
are not entirely synthesized, but I'd like to respond,
so here goes...

--- Diane Gregory <> wrote:
>I must confess I have serious doubts about the use of
>technology in the art classroom, in education in
> general and society as a whole.

>I believe we are becoming a people whose minds have
>become detached from our own bodies. For me the
>daily stress piles up as I spend increasing amounts
>of time on the computer (like now)

About 10 years ago I was flipping through sections of
the Third Wave (I never had the time to finish reading
the whole thing,so this may be off base) and I
remember thinking the shift from putting in a hard
days work, using our hands and bodies had something to
do with the rise of depression in our society. I also
told a friend of mine that the amount of time he spent
online was going to have radical evolutionary
consequences on his body and his offspring - he was
the first person I knew that was such a chat room
junkie. I could go on about him, but I'm sure we all
know people like this.

Although I am in the process of switching from a
Montessori classroom to a public art room setting, I
can't entirely forget the philosophy. Montessori said
that the hand is the chief teacher of the child.
(Constructivism, anyone?) Children are constantly
touching physical objects. When you talk about
babies, you bring a live baby, not a doll. I have
some concerns for children who are growing up today,
I wonder how they will be able to an understand how
things work. For example, when I was little, watches
had the little pieces and you could see how the pieces
went together and worked. Now there's a chip. I
don't know how to explain that one micro chip runs the
clock, another runs the computer, and another one is
in a singing birthday card, and you can't understand
it just by looking at it. I have a student who really
made me wonder recently - between his being 7, seeing
Harry Potter, and not really grasping the structure of
the internet - I think when he says my boots are "in"
the computer, he really means it.

But I'm not nearly as radical as I sound so far. The
students in my lower elementary class use the computer
regularly. They do have a tendency to blame the
computer and not the fact that they forgot a step

> We studied the art work of Andy Goldsworthy

Have you actually seen Goldsworthy's work? (I am not
at all trying to sound snippy here) I think that the
majority of it is seen through photographed images.
But we can still think about it and respond to it and
even perhaps have some sensation of what it may feel
like. The reason I'm saying this, has to do with the
fact that we are quite adept at viewing images through
books and magazines. I'm sure that this will be just
as "natural" for students whose experience involves
computer interaction. In fact, interaction is a
tremendous benefits, in my opinion. I think, for
young people computer images are not necessarily cold
and impersonal.

But then again, on the flip side, Big Sur water beds
always showed waves crashing on the beach - to me it
was a useless box that appeared in the corner, until I
actually went to Big Sur, climbed on the rocks, and
felt the enormous waves crashing. The experience
definitely changed how I felt when I saw the
commercials later.

Hence, I plan to build instruction around exhibitions
as much as possible.

> Right now there seems to be such a steam roller
> effect with technology

The photo lab I used to work for changed its name to
some sort of imaging corporation because the nature of
the business has changed so much.

I'm really fascinated with the lessons that have been
talked about (I'm responding out of order) that take
the images one step by manipulating them. I think
students should have the opportunity to do both. I
personally detest the rigidness of draw and design
tools, and even mosaic and painterly adjustments to
images don't do much for me. But this probably has to
do with the fact that this was not the method I
explored first. For exploring design/color theory, I
think its a great tool - composition ideas can be
explored in a matter of minutes instead of a full week
of production, which leaves more time to devote to
creating more, and more powerful images.

Does anyone consider the computer/printer Printmaking?

In general I try to have my students respond to the
benefits and limitations of creating/manipulating
images on the computer. They can make their own
decision - this may just be one more factor in the
generation gap.

> When was the last time you dug in the dirt, walked
> in untamed country, felt a leaf or walked bare
> in a stream of cold, crystal clear water? I can
> hardly remember this myself

A friend of mine jumps in the river by SWT everyday
after work. I would love to have a river that close -
when I lived ten minutes from a lake in college (and
after) I went out every day. Now the closest are a
good hour away.

The thing I think I will miss most when I am only in
an art room is recess. Its my favorite part of the
day. A breath of fresh air is great for your day, even
in Houston, where the fresh is minimal - Dawn


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