SchoolArts Magazine

October 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 28 of 58

high time we acknowledge that digi- tal media arts must now be a funda- mental part of an arts curriculum. A Multilayered Shift The necessity of this shift is mul- tilayered. The twenty-first century skill component ensures that we are teaching students to be fluent in modern communication and its associated tools. This is not only critical for all students to function in our increasingly digital world, but of particular concern to any of our stu - dents who choose to pursue a career in the arts. These students may work in fields like advertising, video games, 3D modeling and rigging, or product design. In addition, it is critical that we engage students in meaningful ways of making art that resonate with how they interact with their world on a day-to-day basis. Students are able to I n 2006, I was hired as the technol- ogy integration specialist at the Shanghai American School. In our department meetings and profes - sional development sessions, many of our conversations centered around how to best prepare students for the future with the four core twenty- first century skills: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. While we may not always articulate or codify them in the same way, these are some of the same skills that we expect students to explore and develop in an arts curriculum. In an era in which art education is too often on the defense, it is not an insignificant point that these criti - cal skills are part of the natural out- comes of a quality art program. Media Arts in the Curriculum There is another key part of the framework for twenty-first century skills, and that has to do with infor - mation, media, and technology skills. These skills are defined by the core competencies of analyzing and pro - cessing the influence and meaning of digital media, but it also requires that students have the tools and skill sets to create their own. While many of our art programs might include a graphic design or video class, it is find their own authentic audiences on websites such as YouTube and Face- book. It is therefore critical that they feel that meaningful art they create is able to find as meaningful an audience. Digital Media vs. Reality None of this adventure into the digital frontier can be done at the expense of an ongoing exploration and understanding of traditional media. A study by Stuart Brown, the founder of the National Institute of Play, found that the brain is more engaged by real-life situations—even simple images—than it is by digital ones. This suggests both a difficult challenge and an exciting opportu - nity for art educators: To create a space in which students are empow - ered to learn the new technology- based art-making tools, such as digital video and photography, Web design, and basic programming, while keeping them grounded in tra - ditional experiences. Over the next few months, this column will focus on how to accomplish these goals. David Gran teaches high school art and film classes at the Shanghai American School in China, and is the author of The Carrot Revolution, a blog about twenty- first century art education. carrotrevolu -, Media Arts Are Fundamental It is critical that we engage students in meaningful wa s of making art that resonate with how the interact with their world on a da -to-da asis. 24 OCTOBER 2015 SchoolArts David Gran M E D I A @ r + s

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