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Creative Arts Computing Plan: Mapping The Presence of Digital Expression in the Arts Classroom

It is not uncommon for teachers to feel threatened by the complexity of integrating computing with more traditional forms of Creative Arts Education. Students are likely to have pre-existing knowledge of digital process when they come to lessons. (Tapscott.) It is possible for them to be more skilled in some areas of computing than their teachers. On the surface, this can seem overwhelming because there are so many different aspects of Digital Literacy going on at the same time. Students can be functioning on different levels and with different understandings of processes. To add to the difficulty, software goes out of date and there is constant change, which makes learning even more challenging.

In the Article Digital Literacy NOW! there is a bold heading, “Empower Students To Find Positive Ways To Channel Creative Digital Interests” Wesley A. Fryer 2004 agrees with Don Tapscott who wrote the book Growing Up Digital. They both refer to a “Net Generation” that they say possess a high degree of digital literacy and they can naturally learn to be critical consumers and wary “netizens.”

Because Digital Literacy is a necessity rather than an option, they are recommending that teachers meet the challenges of neatly integrating digital literacy into more traditional classrooms by negotiating with students.

“Classroom teachers and administrators should strive to find ways to help students constructively channel their natural interests and aptitudes with digital tools.” Tapscott 1997

Plan To Deal With Complexity

So that you can plan interesting and useful lessons with the students, whilst at the same time keeping your approach simple and user friendly, develop a plan to ascertain

  • how much students already know
  • what they still need to learn
  • what they would like to know

It is possible to use this information to

  • map the class so that you and the members know who already has skills
  • talk about past success looking at what made the tasks easy and hard (Theatre example)
  • review achievements
  • talk about aspirations
  • share teacher expectations and desired outcomes with the class
  • ask for suggestions about ways students would like to proceed
  • generate new ideas and creative directions for the class

During the process, make a list of

  • the ways that you used computers in your art classes as a group in previous years
  • ideas about how these processes could be developed this year (Dance Example)
  • new unexplored processes the students would like to experience
  • processes that would be practical
  • suggest students keep an eye out for other practical applications they would like to try
  • available technology
  • available associated instructional material

Resources To Share With Students About Manageability of the Learning Experience

Like their teachers, some students may become overwhlemed by the enourmous task of keeping abreast of innovations in computing. Help them deal with the emotions associated with complex learning environments.

Read “Landscape Of Commitment” [Jo Murphy 2006] with your class and then

  • talk about the concept of Positive Resistance and touch on the idea of self efficacy
  • suggest a Visual Journal will help them keep their own experiences manageable
  • help them develop a sense of direction

When talking to the students about commitment it can be useful to play them some of the ideas from Power Up Your Mind specifically the idea behind the call to action “Ready, Go Steady” from the CD. The book is about becoming emotionally ready to learn. It is a model of learning whereby the author “shows that by concentrating on what happens before and after one learns, one can use his or her brain to best effect, learning faster and working smarter.” By: Lucas, Bill [Nicholas Brealey Publishing]. 2001.