Teaching Artists in Online Learning - Follow-On Activity #2

From July 7 - July 18, we will be working with a group of Teaching Artists at the Lincoln Center Education Teaching Artist Training Program on exploring best practices for Teaching Artists in Online Learning.


As we wrap up our week of exploration and learning, let's take a moment to reflect on some of the experiences we have had together.  Specifically, I am hoping you can think about all of the interactions we have had together (in person and online).  

In the space below, share with us your responses to the following questions:

1) How did this work stretch your personal conception of Teaching Artistry?  What skills or perspectives would you say this work requires?

2) How can you imagine folding some aspects of Online Learning into your practice as a teaching artist?  What are the hurdles to using some kind of Online Learning strategies with your communities?

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Comment by Aaron Siegel on July 18, 2014 at 11:06am

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses to this prompt.  I am so glad to see that you all are thinking deeply about how this work impacts on and informs your own work.  

As the facilitator of this workshop, I was reminded about a couple of things that really resonated with me about how you all are interacting with technology.  First of all, everyone has their own relationship with technology, and this means that when we say 'digital' we don't mean just one thing.  We could be exploring digital art making through an app for your phone or tablet device, web-based software like Google Docs, a smart board, or simply just a web search.  

Also, in our follow-up conversation on Tuesday we were talking about how easy it is to imagine some customized software or device to connect learners with the core of your art making activities.  I can't say it enough that you have to be able to dip your toe in first before embarking on a huge customization process with software developers or professional technologists.  The exciting thing about the basic tools of web-based work (sharing media, hyperlinks, blogging software, etc.) is that they can be used a million different ways depending on your needs.  So, the fun is how to make these tools work for you and your specific take on work. It is best to start simple and 'proto-type' an idea using cruder elements that you would prefer.  This process can help to generate the next direction of your work and make it stronger in the end. 

I think the next workshop I do in this vain will be about using the basic tools of the web to further your Teaching Artist goals.  I hope you will be around to join me in this!

Comment by Brendan Simon on July 17, 2014 at 7:45am
My biggest takeaway has been the importance of personalizing art in ones life, and engaging in a tireless pursuit to that end. The ways we do that may be varied in our different art forms, and a commonality in vocabulary and understanding will, I trust, prove invaluable. I can imagine using online learning to continue our message's impact after we leave the schools we serve. I can imagine a challenge being that teachers will need to learn and utilize these online tools.
Comment by Eric Booth on July 17, 2014 at 5:19am

One feature of this project particularly fascinates me--the capacity to reflect on work we have made. By challenging participants to "make something" and phone-record it, those of us in the performing arts get a technologically simple way to look deeper into choices and creative ideas. We usually have to reflect in memory (unlike you lucky visual artists), and there is a real advantage in being able to watch a small artwork over several times to go in deeper and deeper to discover and identify aspects of it. And the relative ease of recording and making it available for online observation and response is a tool I can see using for many purposes. There is also a lot of possibility in having people reflect on line, as we have done--the "at your own pace and in your own time" aspect of online reflection has real advantages (although one would want to consider issues of equal access and rules of engagement so that everyone participates). 

When Barbara asked people to take out phones and snap framed images of aspects of the Calder sculpture (building elegantly on the work we had done prior), I was struck by the fact that everyone (I think) had a phone and was doing this within seconds. What a change in technological access in our field. And then Aaron used phone-recording even more intentionally.  I can see this tool used well in the other "purpose strands" we have delved into--work of art (like Barbara's activity); for skills development by documenting progress and honoring small creative accomplishments to boost investment in learning that speeds the development of skills; in arts integrated projects to create a small group piece (say a dance that captures a historical event) that can be reflected on by the whole group; and to honor and share work that small groups have made in a community-bulding project with a wider community, to bring them into it. 

Thanks Aaron for helping this old dog learn a new trick or two.

Comment by Jamie Asdorian on July 16, 2014 at 11:30pm
1) The combination of watching a video with chatting silently and in real time is an interesting concept for me. Meeting students at their level this way really resonated for me. I think being able to pull up works of art, inspiration, and educational resources online can help level the playing field for schools that, for instance, can't afford buses for field trips but are not eligible for subsidized buses. I think this work requires a degree of comfort with technology and enough good humor to allow students to help with technical issues, if necessary!
2) I'm a fan of using Google docs in the classroom to remotely edit together in real time. I often use videos as entry points for workshops, and appreciate the idea of chatting to capture noticings while we watch. I could also imagine an online scavenger hunt activity. Some hurdles could be classrooms/schools that don't have computers for students or a lack of confidence with technology on the part of the TA. I would imagine that if homework may be assigned, the TA would need to find a tactful way to ensure that each student has the technology to complete an assignment outside if class time.
Comment by Tony Fuemmeler on July 16, 2014 at 9:56pm

1) How did this work stretch your personal conception of Teaching Artistry?  What skills or perspectives would you say this work requires?

I had never really considered this angle before. I have always thought of my art form as immediate and live (even though I've experienced it in digital ways a handful of times).  This work invited me to consider the potential advantages of the use of recordings and of collaborations and classrooms spanning long distances.  This work requires a different process of attending and response, and makes possible new kinds of experiential strategies.

2) How can you imagine folding some aspects of Online Learning into your practice as a teaching artist?  What are the hurdles to using some kind of Online Learning strategies with your communities?

I think using footage of performances will be my inroad. After that, I think sharing student work in an interactive forum will be useful to consider, as well as imagining how I handle skill building and community building with new technology and modes of communication. Hurdles might include democratic access to the technology and to the web, as well as offering students a sense of the awareness of the power of live performance.

Comment by Amanda Dunne Acevedo on July 15, 2014 at 8:03pm
This is a relam that, for me, the potential has yet to be explored and tapped into. As a theatre artist, we put emphasis on the live experience and face-to-face interactions with students. I had never considered using the digital as a tool beyond showing examples of works of art. This made me stop and consider multiple ways learners can engage. Some students might feel more comfortable articulating their thoughts in this medium, on their own time table. Or sharing their presentations through video - where more time could be taken to give quality feedback on what students produce.

I think a challenge for my work would be that the public schools in Chicago have such irregular and limited access to internet, wifi, computers...so this would need to be on the pre-residency agenda with my school contact to discuss what is possible at their school and to find out if students have access to the internet outside of the classroom. Thank you @Aaron for taking us though this process and challenging my assumptions about using digital tools in the classroom.


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