Enhancing Art Teacher Education with New Technologies: Research Possibilities and Practices

By Galbraith, Lynn | Art Education, September 1997 | Go to article overview

Enhancing Art Teacher Education with New Technologies: Research Possibilities and Practices


Galbraith, Lynn, Art Education


Research into art teacher education, especially at the preservice level, is receiving increased attention within our field (NAEA Commission on Research in Art Education, 1996) . There is recognition that preparing future teachers is a complex process, and this process merits further research (Davis,1990, Galbraith,1996a) . Teacher educators are influential figures in the lives of preservice teachers (Ducharme & Ducharme,1996; Howey & Zimpher,1994) . We have a responsibility to provide these preservice teachers with a research base underpinning their careers, or to otherwise provide leadership roles in the preparation of art teachers for the 21st century (Galbraith,1996a; Hutchens,1997).

The classrooms of today reflect diversity among students and the changing times in which we live. Prospective teachers have many demands placed upon them. They are required to become more thoughtful and knowledgeable about the disciplines of art, teaching, and learners. Prospective teachers are also being asked to develop abilities and skills that will provide them, and their future students, with advantages in a diverse and changing workplace. One advantage is an ability to willingly accommodate challenges presented by emergent technologies: CD-ROM, interactive videodisc, computer graphics, various software packages, and especially the Internet These technologies have much potential as instructional and research tools within art education.

These concerns also hold true for teacher educators, broadly defined here to include K-12 practitioners. Teacher educators must take on new roles as active learners within our field. Combining new technology with existing practices will inevitably lead to changes in how we prepare art educators (Hicks, 1993; Madeja, 1993), at the local and national levels.

Teaching art, and the art of teaching, is complicated and subtle. The use of technology within art education should not be viewed as a panacea, nor should it replace an actual teacher. Yet given its growing societal impact, teacher educators and school practitioners are professionally obligated to consider new technology. We need to examine how it might enhance our lives in thoughtful, positive and practical ways. We must also consider how teacher education research might be broadened and strengthened by studying the use of technology as a research tool within our field (Galbraith, in press).

Two broad questions frame the rest of this paper: (1) How can technology enhance teaching and research within the preservice classroom? (2) How can technology assist research into the national issues affecting art teacher education? Although these questions are discussed separately, they are tightly interwoven, and sometimes overlap. In selective cases, I use examples taken from my teaching and research to illustrate my points, and I pose questions for future topics in teacher education research. A general summary will fob low atthe end.

1. How can technology enhance teaching and research within the preservice classroom?

The preservice classroom is a vital and living place and is influential in shaping how prospective teachers view and implement new and existing art education practices in schools (Galbraith, 1995) . The following suggestions seem important for teacher educators and prospective teachers.

Acknowledging what preservice teachers bring to the preservice classroom. Preservice teachers bring their individual interests, abilities, and skills into the classroom (Murray, 1996) . In the area of new technology, we should determine what knowledge and skills prospective teachers bring to our teacher education programs and establish where, and at what time, they developed. To what level are they knowledgeable about new technologies, and if so, how and where did they acquire this knowledge?

This process of discovery is complicated by the fact that some preservice programs are housed in departments of art or education that stress technology in studio art and professional education courses, whereas other preparation programs are not able to provide such training due to lack of resources, faculty expertise, or institutional and academic emphases. …

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