Academic journal article Studies in Art Education

Teachers' Working Conditions and the Unmet Promise of Technology

Academic journal article Studies in Art Education

Teachers' Working Conditions and the Unmet Promise of Technology

Article excerpt

Working in an electronic age is both exhilarating and frustrating for teachers and teacher educators. Currently, many United States schools are outfitted with sophisticated networked computing facilities. Technology standards are listed by state boards of education as essential components of a K-12 education. School districts expect teachers to apply new technologies in their classrooms. Writings in art education highlight the promise that electronic technologies have for this profession. But what assumptions are made about teachers and their ability to join the technology revolution? Although I share a sense of optimism about the potential of technology, I seek to understand working conditions that impact teachers' incentives and abilities to integrate new technologies into their professional lives. I base my recommendations on my past 7 years of working with practicing teachers in varied subject areas and grade levels as they have learned how to utilize computer technologies in their own classrooms.

Technology and Art Education

Art educators have written about the importance of embracing computer technologies for over 20 years. These writings, predominantly descriptive, prescriptive, and promotional, explain the possibilities and values associated with utilizing electronic technologies in the art room. Authors have described how the electronic frontier and the profession of art education fit together, and offer compelling arguments in support (Madeja, 1983; Ettinger, 1988; Hubbard & Greh, 1991; Hicks, 1993; Krug, 1996; Freedman, 1997; Tomaszkiewicz, 1997; Halsey-Dutton, 2002, Garber, 2004). Art educators have explored how laser disc, CD-ROM, hyper-media, the Internet, and distance learning technologies facilitate and/or enrich inquiry (Anderson, 1985; Hubbard, 1989; Marschalek, 1989; Schwartz, 1991; Dunn, 1996; Keifer-Boyd, 1996, 1997; Roland, 1997). Some describe how students learn to make graphic images with computers (Greh, 1986; Stokrocki, 1986; Freedman, 1991; Madeja, 1993). Others consider how technology-savvy art teachers may assume leadership positions in their schools (Dunn, 1996). Art educators have suggested that teachers might write their own software programs (Gregory, 1989), or design educational web pages (Marschalek, 2002). Many extol the interactivity that occurs among teachers or between teachers and students in designing and engaging curriculum (Dunn, 1996; Heise & Grandgenett, 1996; Koos & Smith-Shank, 1996; Krug, 1996; Keifer-Boyd, 1997; Marschalek, 2002; Carpenter & Taylor, 2003). Studies also draw attention to the interactivity that occurs among students as they learn new skills in computer labs (Freedman, 1991; Chia and Duthie, 1993).

In recent years, art educators have also talked about how computer-facilitated inquiry can contribute to an examination of postmodern conceptions of art (Efland, Freedman, & Stuhr, 1996). Some suggest ways to engage students in consideration of philosophical, sociological, and political dimensions of the technology revolution (Freedman, 1991; Duncum, 1995-1996; Freedman, 1997; Garoian & Gaudelius, 2001; Krug, 2002; Freedman, 2003). Recent writings have explained how a technology-enhanced curriculum facilitates constructivist educational goals (Prater, 2001; Carpenter & Taylor, 2003). And writers have acclaimed the dialogical and liberatory aspects of hypermedia and electronic communication networks (Carpenter & Taylor, 2003). Finally, art educators have considered how computer aided inquiry and curriculum design might fit into pre-service education programs (Anderson, 1985; Keifer-Boyd, 1996; 1997; Galbraith, 1997; Krug, 1999, 2002; Stankiewicz & Garber, 2000; Taylor & Carpenter, 2002; Keifer-Boyd, Amburgy, & Knight, 2003; Garber, 2004). Comparatively few writings in the art education journals explicate problems associated with technology related gender equity issues (Morbey, 1997), ethical dilemmas (Mercedes, 1996), or adverse political, social, and environmental consequences of our increasing reliance on rapidly advancing technologies (Gregory, 1996; Congdon, 1997; Francis, 1997). …

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