Three Primary Visual Culture Sites and Artsonia

Artsonia is “the largest student art museum in the world” or so it says on its web site. It is a place for students, parents, and teachers to upload student artwork to share their creations with a wide online audience, establish a fan club, interact with other students, teachers, and parents, and sell products with their artwork on it. Visitors can browse galleries based on medium, by school, by grade level, or by keyword search. Schools and artists can win top honors and sometimes prizes. Schools even earn 20% when people purchase products from the gift shop. The section for teachers includes downloadable lesson plans created by fellow teachers and parents can create fan clubs and invite people to view and leave comments about the students’ artwork. The blog contains tips and guides for parents and teachers and covers topics about using the web site or app and sharing and building fan clubs.

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Questioning the Use of Questions

In reading Burnham and Kai-Kee’s chapter Questioning the Use of Questions (Teaching in the Art Museum: Interpretation as Experience, J. Paul Getty Trust, 2011) it doesn’t seem like there is much value in purposefully asking questions in a predetermined manner in museum teaching. It seems that questions should be treated “critically” and with “caution,” that it is more important to facilitate “dialogue” (pg. 95, 107), and focus more on the “objects being examined” (pg. 105). Burnham and Kai-Kee “believe that the ultimate objective of good museum teaching is a certain kind of experience that draws visitors and teachers into a deep and satisfying understanding of artworks” (pg. 105). Continue reading Questioning the Use of Questions

Learning is Learning

The title of this blog post pretty much sums up my feelings about the definitions of learning (formal, informal, non-formal, semi-formal) that I have read so far and is one of the main points for me in reading Anne Kahr-Højland’s article The ‘Personal Exhibition’ as an Educational Tool in a Semi-Formal Learning Setting (Caught in the Web or Lost in the Textbook? Eighth International Conference on Learning and Educational Media [2006]). What we are defining when we distinguish between formal, informal, non-formal, and semi-formal learning is the “learning setting” or more specifically “the environment surrounding and supporting the process of learning” (Kahr-Højland 2006, p. 88-89). The environment and what it physically contains, who participates and what they bring mentally and physically has influence on learning regardless if the learning is led by a teacher, mentor, guide, or is self-directed or part of a casual interaction with others. In short, “learning is learning” (Kahr-Højland 2006, p.88) and “the process of learning is inseparable from action and experience” (Dewey, 1938).

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Visual Culture and Identity Syllabi

I’ve put together a list of syllabi regarding visual culture and identity based on my interests in the topics that encompass visual culture and identity in the digital age, new media, design research, and branding that explore both personal and organizational identities in visual culture.

  • Matteo Bittanti: Introduction to Visual Studies

    Course focuses on theoretical and practical study of Visual Culture and includes the effects of consumer culture on our habits and surroundings; the impact of communication technologies such as the internet, smartphones, and television on our understanding of the world; the question of identity in subcultures as it is expressed in visual media; the effect of the politics of art production, display, and criticism on contemporary artists.

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Online Literacy: Art of the Title

Art of the Title is an online showcase and community site for people who are interested in and work on title sequences for television, film, web, conferences, and video games. At Art of the Title, they “honor the creators and innovators who contribute to the field, discussing and displaying their work with a desire to explicate, facilitate, and instigate.”

When visitors first come to the site’s home page, which isn’t the only way to access the site, they are presented with the name and logo of the site at the top followed by navigational aids for title sequences, designers and studios, search, and ways to access their social media through hyperlinked icons. The body of the home page has the latest featured title sequence and/or interview of someone in the industry and the most recent articles about the domain underneath. In the footer of the web site, a person can also access additional navigational aids for information about the site, news title sequences, features, designers, studios, and sponsorship. The format of the home page and the most recent articles is a combination of linked images and text about the particular title sequence or interview.

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Twitter-verse for User Experience and EdTech

Here’s a quick list of 10 people or organizations who I follow for topics related to user experience and educational technology. The following individuals and organizations fit within what I hope to accomplish with this semester’s informal learning project for A ED 814 Informal Learning at Penn State. It’s my intention at this point in time to take what I’ve learned and am still learning about user interface design and user experience and the concept of place–which derives from thought, feeling, meaning, and understanding–to develop some art about identity and how people make sense of their world. I’m not sure if this will be a digital exploration or an analog or mixed media approach. I need to let the answer drive the solution.

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Informal Learning

Learning for me is both in and outside of a classroom and they are intertwined with experience and living. I have worked on projects both for residential instruction and elearning at Penn State in the formal definition of education. Learning, however, doesn’t have walls and we need to recognize that all of our interactions with people, situations, and environments are filled with learning or teaching moments. Informal learning can happen while waiting in line to check out at a grocery store, informal learning can happen when conversing with your neighbor while cutting the grass, informal learning can happen while waiting in line for caffeine.

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Web and Application Design as Public Pedagogy

In order to adapt the assignment from a traditional unit of study to one that is suitable for generating awareness about accessibility with online resources in the workplace, I’m going to take the outline from the assignment and reconfigure it so that it becomes part performance, part demonstration, and part activity. The goal of the activity is to use an action-based activity with one or more currently running projects that are familiar to people on my team and generate a new perspective or understanding about the educational resources that are built at the university level. At times we are more apt to build for ourselves than for others. If education is the goal, then our processes and outlook needs to be changed.

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Performed Networks of Relations

My idea for performing/creating something in my everyday environment that calls attention to the everyday scene or routine in a new way, is inspired by Janie Leck-Grela’s blog post on yarn bombing, Deb Ryland’s blog post on culture and reality TV, and Lindsay Bayer’s blog post on personal space and objects. The idea is to engage people without disabilities and create awareness about people with certain disabilities (such as color blindness, low or lack of vision, and mobility) and how they access and consume information via the internet. The goal is to bring to light how our actions in building online educational resources can have a direct impact or be an impediment for others. Hopefully it will generate enough awareness about culture, ourselves and the connectedness to others, and how objects and information can be understood in different ways.

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Making Visible

I used to ride my longboard from the parking garage to my office downtown in the early morning. Just after the dawn breaks and before the first class in the morning, I would carve my way from parking garage to office. However because of campus police and being relocated, I no longer ride my board in the morning. No more moment of Zen. Then I parked in the garage on Penn State’s central campus and walked past the student union building and a string of science buildings, over the bridge that is the base of the Information Science and Technology building, and across Atherton Street to my building. On my walk in the morning, at lunch, and on the way home, I get to see a lot of things. I get to see a segment of student life outside of the classroom. I get to see people moving from class to class, heading to lunch, heading home, heading downtown, etc. I get to see different things at different times relative to my mode of transportation. When I’m on the longboard, how I look and interact with my environment is much different than being on foot. Being on foot means I get to experience things more slowly. I can pretty much observe nuances much differently than when I’m on the longboard. When I’m on the longboard, I’m worried about matching my carving to the pitch of the road, how many people are in the environment, rocks and pebbles, bicycles, cars, cops, etc. I get to surf the concrete wave. My focus is on that momentum and how that momentum makes me feel. Continue reading Making Visible