Cyberarts Helps Creative Students Bypass Budget Woes

With the removal of art programs from many schools because of budgeting conflicts, it just makes sense that technology would be the easiest realm to encourage innovation among creative students.

This is exactly what is happening — and it is being called "cyberarts", says Norman Rozenberg writing for Tech Page One. Cyberarts can take the form of using Photoshop, recording and editing music, and mixed media art. Not only are the tech programs being used to enhance creativity, but many of the "cyber-artistic pursuits" are skills that can be used in the working world.

In Toronto, an organization named CyberArts, is offering an integrated program that embraces the visual arts, media literacy, communication, dance, media studies, and a co-op program that allows students to gain real-world experience. The program is set to satisfy graduation requirements by the Ontario Ministry of Education. Students are chosen to participate based on an interview and an application process, which includes a writing sample and a creative portfolio.

A group of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) students piloted an interactive education project that integrates both art and science for students aged 4-12, write Kelly Gu, reporter for the Daily Bruin. The program is called Cyber Mural. The basics are that students run along a grid while being tracked and then their movements are projected on a wall to produce a piece of art.

"By combining tracking devices with self-expressive images, the graduate students aim to create collaborative learning environments in classrooms," Noel Enyedy, an associate professor of education, told the Daily Bruin.

The Cyber Mural idea was funded by the National Science Foundation with $250,000. To create Cyber Mural, three components are needed: software to track the movement on the grid; an Internet connection to upload the pictures; a program that integrates the first two pieces to create the interactive mural. The combination of components is then used in the classroom to teach science.

"Technology is their generation, their life. Bringing these valuable tools into learning will help build conceptual ideas such as conservation," said Hasmick Cochran, one of the teachers whose classroom interacted with the Cyber Mural.

In Cleveland, according to Mark Gillispie of the Associated Press, Marsh Dobrzynski, of the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, had a revelation when, five years ago, teenagers at a digital arts-based camp were the first to arrive and the last to leave. From that eye-opening experience was born the Cleveland Municipal School District's new Cleveland High School for the Digital Arts.

On the opening day, 116 freshmen arrived, and a new freshman class will be added each year until it becomes a four-year school. Students will attend classes for four 10-week sessions with a three-week break in between. Bowing to the sleep patterns of teenagers, school will start at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:30 p.m. Their days will be filled with math, English, and the sciences, but digital arts will be integrated into everything they study.

"We've set up the curriculum in a way that it's aligned with the real world," Dobrzynski said.

The school is funded by the district with help from the Gund and Cleveland Foundations.

And in Los Angeles, Phil Gallo, writing for Billboard, reports that First Lady Michelle Obama spoke about the importance of arts education last month at the Grammy Museum's Jane Ortner Education Award Luncheon. She reminded the audience that six million children do not have music or arts classes in their schools. Her questions were, "How do we get students into theaters, symphonies, and museums?", and "How do we get artists and performers connected with young people?"

Mrs. Obama mentioned the White House workshops and performances for young people.

"So many of the young people walk away transformed with a new sense of purpose and hope," she said. "Engagement in the arts can unlock a world of possibilities for our young people. … For many young people, arts education is the only reason they get out of bed in the morning."

08 8, 2014
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