Creativity in Digital Art Education Teaching Practices

By Black, Joanna; Browning, Kathy | Art Education, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Creativity in Digital Art Education Teaching Practices


Black, Joanna, Browning, Kathy, Art Education


Since the introduction of personal computers, art educators increasingly have adopted new digital technologies into their pedagogy, yet overall that adoption has been a slow process (Black, 2002; Browning, 2006; Degennaro & Mak, 2002-2003; Flood & Bamford, 2007; Gude, 2007; Leonard & Leonard 2006; Lu, 2005; Mayo, 2007). Many teachers remain still infrequent users of technology or avoid using new learning technologies in art classrooms (Degennaro & Mak, 2002-2003; Gregory, 2009). Why is this the case?

Diane Gregory (2009), who has written extensively ahout technology in art education, perceives that technology usage has decreased in the last decade as art educators contend with restrictive, non-supportive art education policies as a result of the No Child Left Behind Act. Robert Sabol (2010) recently wrote a critique regarding the effects of this act on the field of art education. He presented recent findings of a 21% decrease in funding and a 19% decrease in instruction time for art education, which substantiates Gregory's observations (2010). Additional key factors contributing to art teachers' reluctance to apply technology to their teaching include software difficulties, increasing stress, heavier teaching loads, time constraints, shortage of hardware and software, and lack of teacher support and training (Black, 2002, Browning, 2006; Delacruz, 2004, 2009a, 2009b; Gregory, 2009).

In an ideal world, administrators and policy makers can address such difficulties through writing and implementing supportive art education policies, providing better teacher training and support, decreasing teachers' stress, granting more time to learn about technology usage, lessening teaching loads, and supplying more resources to purchase software and hardware. During the current recession, however, we may not see this occur. Nevertheless, there are ways in which teachers can address these problems in order to effectively integrate technology into the art curriculum. It is recommended that they find technology mentors within their schools and establish creative, student-centered classrooms in which co-learning and collaborative learning takes place between teachers and students on an ongoing basis (Black, 2002, 2006, 2009a; Browning, 2006; Gregory, 2009; Krug, 2004). To integrate technologies, art teachers can plan well, and learn about, use, and immerse themselves in new technologies and networking sites. This requires planning, strategizing, and restructuring. For some teachers, it requires using new pedagogical methods (Gregory, 2009).

Why not just carry on with traditional methods of teaching and learning - with what is tried and true? Why is using technology in our art classrooms so important? Perhaps the answer harkens back, to use Bob Dylan's phrase, to the fact that "The times they are a changiti " (1964). Today's students, called " screenagers" by some, are indeed different than even a decade ago (Taylor, 2007), immersing themselves in interactive technologies, becoming creators of digital new media, and socially collaborating on a scale that we have not seen before (Jenkins, 2009; Tapscott, 2009; Taylor, 2007, Wesch, 2007). Along with our students, our world has changed. Art educators like Duncum (2004) argue for a visual culture paradigm reflective of our multimodal "Digital Age." Jagodzinski (2009) argues:

Installation, video, performance art, screen experimentations "beyond" cinema, and especially the digitalization of the image all indicate the significance of the inhuman within the processes of creation where signifier and image are in a disjunctive synthesis. It's time that art educators, who earned their reputations within the bounds of modernist studio practices and pre-computer era begin to face the changed landscape; their time has past. (p. 27)

Art educators cannot ignore these emerging modes of literacy (Duncum, 2004; Flood & Bamford, 2007; Stankiewicz, 2004). If we keep along our current path of poorly integrating technology into art classrooms, it is to the detriment of our students. …

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