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Lesson Plans

Art & Technology

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mark Larson (mlarson)
Fri, 1 Mar 1996 22:32:08 -0600

Greetings. I'm a high school art teacher with 16 years experience in a
central Wisconsin community. I teach a booming photography and graphic
design program with lots of digital image processing going on as well. We
currently have three computers online 8 hours a day with PhotoShop and
Painter as the mainstay software. Aldus FreeHand and Pagemaker are also
featured. We have another station underway (terribly underpowered but
adequate) in our video production studio. These are all Mac platforms --
040's and Power PC's. Two of the 4.2 staff menbers also have PowerBooks
(one of which I'm using right now...) With 430 kids in our programs (200 in
photo & graphics alone) our technology needs are nothing compared to some
schools our size, but we're making progress, despite a reactionsry school
board and scary governor.

Anyway, the whole idea of telecommunications and computers and it's impact
on the arts far outweighs arguments about it's legitimacy as an art
material. Throughout history there have been several communications
paradigm shifts that have served as truly transforming events. The visual
tradition of humankind has obviously been on earth for thousands of years.
The human race's desire to communicate ideas, events and culture have
ancient manifestations --- cave paintings, Native American petroglyphs,
Easter Island sculptures, Stonehenge, and the pyramids, to name a few ---
and cross cultures and geographic limits. The oral tradition, as
exemplified by Socrates and Plato was at one time, society's main source
for ideas and cultural knowledge. As the written language developed, it was
seen as an evil that would destroy oral traditions. As the written
language developed, the way ideas and thinking altered as the ACT of
writing began to influence ideas and how ideas could be formulated. As
technology progressed, improvements in the quantity of written
communications encountered another paradigm shift when Gutenberg's printing
press allowed written thought to be massed produced and shared with an
unknown quantity of the world's people. Was oral language doomed? Was
visual language doomed? Hardly. Jump several centuries. Technology has
progressed to the point of the telegraph, the radio. Many predicted the end
of the written tradition as news and culture was broadcast to millions of
the world's population. The advent of television also created a huge
cultural and technological leap. It's effect on how ideas are perceived and
how it has affected our ability to think and structure our thoughts is only
now beginning to be clearly understood. And now we are faced with another
paradigm shift, as we can now think less and less internally, inwards to
ourselves, disassociated with the world, to an outward, connected society,
this to, will change ideas and thinking processes as fundamentally as the
written word changed oral traditions.

The irony, I think is that the IneterNet has the potential to combine all
of humankind's communications processes into one global, instantaneous
communications medium. With sound, visuals, the written word, the spoken
word, and even real time interactivity all merging into one.

I hope this doesn't sound like too much psychobabble, but technology is
about to take us kicking and screaming into the next millenium, and if art
educators stay complacent, we will surely be doomed. This forum is an
amazing place to connect, to share, to learn, to grow. I suspect part of
the paranoia in the new telecommunications legislation is a fear of real
participtory government. With the internet, who needs politicians to vote
for us because we're all connected anyway. The power to discuss issues and
ideas, I fear, is more frightening to the neo-reactionaries in Washington
than indecent images.

'Nuff said.

Apologies in advance for any typos, my PowerBook is famous for "aa" and
other key peculiarities.
Thanks for reading!

Mark Larson
Lincoln High School

  • Maybe reply: jaegmil: "Re: Art & Technology"