In Transition: Effectively Mapping the Traditional Pedagogical Media of Art and Design to the Digital Realm

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Session Title:

  • Digital Pedagogies

Presentation Title:

  • In Transition: Effectively Mapping the Traditional Pedagogical Media of Art and Design to the Digital Realm

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Abstract:

  • Guiding students in both thoughtful and proficient engagement with digital media as a mode of practice is hardly a new concept for art and design pedagogy. What is new, however, is a transformational role of digital media that positions it as an avenue for teaching art and design principles, and not solely as media through which art and design work can be executed. While relevant across an undergraduate art and design curriculum, the importance of this role is increasingly being recognized in relation to art and design foundational studies. The resultant efforts, such as Digital Foundations, a textbook by xtine burrough and Michael Mandiberg that “uses formal exercises of the Bauhaus to teach the Adobe Creative Suite” (http://digital-foundations.net/), represent a step in the right direction, but are not fully aware of both the current educational environment (valuable time spent on purely software-based instruction in the classroom is time that could arguably be better spent on exploring the broader conceptual issues of making digital work) and the potential of emerging technologies. Rather, this transformational role of digital media calls for a more comprehensive integration of code-based technologies, such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Processing/Java, openFrameworks/C++, and Objective-C, into art and design pedagogy. This connection seems natural, as many of the commonly identified principles of design, including emphasis/hierarchy, economy, and rhythm/repetition, could also be characterized as principles of code. Besides reaping the cognitive benefits associated with learning a language, a focus on promoting engagement with the tools used to create software (rather than simply on the use of software applications themselves) serves to empower students as they develop critical awareness of both the discipline and their individual practices.

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