For this week's reporting I found an e-journal from the UMD's online journal database about how to get creativity through technology, rather than just using technology as a tool. The article Creativity in Digital Art Education Teaching Practices by Joanna Black and Kathy Browning talks about basically using technology as a new medium (such as paint, clay, or charcoal) to foster expressive creativity, rather than just a tool. It also talks about getting teachers to move forward to the digital era, but not forgetting about the traditional methods as well.
Black and Browning introduce the problem of including technology into teaching, and how some teachers are unwilling to change. Some aspects on not taking the step forward are: "software difficulties, increasing stress, heavier teaching loads, time constraints, shortage of hardware and software, and lack of teacher support/training" (Black and Browning, 2011). To me, I feel like a lot of teachers are just unwilling to change because they want to teach how they learned, and most of them I am guessing did not use any (or barely any) technology when they were making art or going through school. I just feel like they are being stubborn almost, because of course it's hard to change your ways and learning new technology is hard and frustrating, but all of us are going through it. Maybe getting art teachers together within the local district would be a great idea so everyone can just teach each other, and share different methods.
Black and Browning go on to talk about how teachers cannot ignore this new type of literacy. I agree that as art teachers we have a responsibility to teach digital literacy through our lesson plans (creating and researching) so students can learn how this type of media is made and how to 'read' digital media. It's also about how we integrate technology into the classroom; it should be "stimulating [the] students' learning, their imagination, and the creative process"(Black and Browning). They talk about how a lot of creativity is made through experimenting with the new programs. E. Pickard expresses that "creativity requires this leap from the known, to alternatives, but to make it fully, the individual must be able to hypothesize, imagine, and appreciate the significance of one's transformational activity". I agree with his statement, because if one were to think of making an art project (doesn't matter the medium), you would think about how you would go about making that specific project (what tools you would use and what steps you would take). Without learning that medium, you wouldn't be able to even think about how to go about making that project. Through these steps, you ultimately create a project that expresses yourself creatively, while problem solving how to successfully complete the art assignment.
The problem though, is successfully using technology to foster creativity in the classroom. Black and Browning believe that there is a gap between knowing basic computer skills, and using computers or technology for art education. I agree as well; I think that just because someone knows how to use PowerPoint and use it as a tool, doesn't mean they are using technology successfully in the classroom. Technology should foster the creative process of the students. They say that educators need to take time out to learn the new software and create lessons that use this technology in a creative way.
Browning goes on about her case study Digital Applications in Elementary Visual Arts: A Case Study in Ontario and Newfoundland Schools (2006). She focused on six general elementary teachers who use digital software in their classes. The teachers used digital software to teach the principals of design (focusing on basic shapes, relationship of text to image, cut and paste, and digital photography). Although, these are not really the principals of design, they are just tools and methods of design. The educators were missing the point that they shouldn't focus on the 'how-to' of technology but rather the 'how-to' of art. Browning then goes on to talk about how she incorporated teacher training and creative use of technology in the classroom with these educators. It was a 3-year study, each year she would change the theme of the projects, then had workshops for the teachers to learn how to successfully integrate technology that related to the theme, and also included lectures from artists that related to the years theme. The first year was very strict in what the educators could actually do, and the following two years were more broad and free to interpretation. The participants all agreed that the second and third years were more successful than the first. They thought, "that teachers could interpret the broad themes easily, and these themes offered flexibility through innovative, broad, project-centered, and problem-based curricula" (Browning). It was such a success because "they focused on creative art ideas and not technology driving the curricula, [and] given freedom to shape creative digital arts programs"(Browning). I think this study is really interesting, because it shows that even when teachers work with tight rules and expectations, the results are not as successful as when given freedom to interpret.
I think this is a great article to read if you're interested in learning about using technology in a creative environment. It is great if you are on the edge of taking the step to the digital era, it really explains why it is important to foster this great tool for creative expression.
Black, Joanna, and Kathy Browning. "Creativity in Digital Art Education
Teaching Practices." National Art Education Association 64.5 (2011): 19-34. Web. 17 Nov 2011.