Using inquiry as a method of learning “creates a motivation to learn and provides a set of constraints that make the learning meaningful” and produces a whole range of experiences (Learning as Inquiry, paragraph 4 and 5). By asking questions and following those questions to other questions, one can move not only through a certain subject but across subjects. Inquiry as a learning method isn’t about explicit knowledge that can be transferred and assessed, it is “instead an act of imagination” (Learning as Inquiry, paragraph 5). The use of imagination and relying on tacit knowledge allows one to go “deeper into the process of inquiry” (Learning as Inquiry, paragraph 8).
In 2002 my wife and I visited The Andy Warhol Museum and our intention of visiting the museum was basically to have an experience. We were in Pittsburgh, PA and we wanted to soak up as much of the city as we possibly could while we were there. We were tourists seeking food, beer, art, and culture outside of our place in Central Pennsylvania. The goals and tactics were the same as any other museum visit. We were there to re-affirm existing ideas about ourselves and seek things out that fit those identities, as well as, find new things to explore individually and together.
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.
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
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 ). 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).
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.