Response To the Teacher
By Paul Erickson on December 1, 2008 5:22 PM
What a great blog to discover - with many thanks to my wife and her cohorts at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
As a 57-year-old student teacher, I'm daily battling the incursions and distractions of students' hand-held digital media devices while trying to carve through the ennui with film-strip projectors, circa 1971. I think I'm probably not the only one dealing with techno-lag. That, in fact, is the topic of my master's thesis.
Are classrooms and teachers equipped to deal with the digital millennium? Can we find ways to harness technology to our advantage and use it to engage students? I would be most interested to hear from other Luddites in the arts and educational communities regarding their thoughts about pod-pedagogy.
My kids can teach me if I can only find ways to keep them awake. Any thoughts?
From Jack Lew to Paul...
In my summary blog, I would like to respond to Paul Erickson's comment above which is THE topic that is most relevant to me. My bio only cites my recent career in the video games industry but what was left out were 6 years in film animation and 24 years of teaching art in higher education plus being a practicing artist for at least that long. Here is my direct reply to you, Paul:
I've had a number of conversations with current educators in high schools, and if they were frank, they would go as far as to say that they simply are afraid of the technology with the biggest fear being that their students know more than they do. As technology advances at lightning speed, the gap between today's students and their teachers widens exponentially. We can get all the funding and policy changes we dream of but if we don't empower the teachers to understand and exploit these new tools, they will continue to have a difficult time engaging today's students. I still hold the belief that learning happens best between teacher and student but outside of school there is the community, and this community expands beyond the traditional community of concert halls, museums, theater, etc. There is also the virtual community - fertile, vibrant, and confusing. This generation of digital natives have grown up in this community of the web, Wikipedia, Facebook, MySpace, Video games, Second Life and much more.
You are not alone in your plight. If I had not entered the high tech entertainment industry, I might have been a Luddite but my 10 years in industry have opened the eyes of the educator in me to all types of possibilities that new technologies can provide. I applaud you for tackling this challenging issue as your thesis. Don't lose heart as you wade through this daunting arena because there will also be plenty of resources in the cyber world. You will learn and become more confident with time but your students may still be a couple steps ahead of you when it comes to the technology. But remember, at the end, these are just tools and sources at the service of education; it will always be you, the teacher, who provides the wisdom and context. Good luck, and if you wish to contact me directly, I am happy to provide some direction.
Sam Hope, executive director, The National Office for Arts Accreditation (NOAA);
Jack Lew, Global University Relations Manager for Art Talent at EA;
Laura Zakaras, RAND;
James Cuno, Director, Art Institute of Chicago;
Richard Kessler, Executive Director, Center for Arts Education;
Eric Booth, Actor;
Bau Graves, Executive director, Old Town School of Folk Music;
Kiff Gallagher, Founder & CEO of the Music National Service Initiative and MusicianCorps
Bennett Reimer, Founder of the Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience, author of A Philosophy of Music Education;
Edward Pauly, the director of research and evaluation at The Wallace Foundation;
Moy Eng, Program Director of the Performing Arts Program at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation;
John Rockwell, critic;
Susan Sclafani, Managing Director, Chartwell Education Group;
Jane Remer, Author, Educator, Researcher
Michael Hinojosa, General Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District
Peter Sellars, director
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