Many Americans are illiterate in visual media, especially in the ability to read and write in the many electronic devices we typically use. This is why I would like to teach art while working within a multimedia workflow. Is it enough that we can surf the web, why not create a web site? Why just play games when we can make them on a mobile device? Advancements via technology make it imperative that the public learn how to write in these devices rather than just consume the content provided by a top-down entertainment industry. Through the knowledge of working within multimedia, everyone can become literate in the screen based devices we navigate daily. It is my duty as a teacher and artist to inform the public through an education in making art with electronic media.
Learning how to create with computers can be intimidating for some, so that is why my classroom is a welcoming and fun environment where students gather to learn the theory and practice of electronic art. The room has seating for everyone around a table, a sort of conference. We may discuss a reading about art theory, participate in a workshop on a technical topic, watch video art and share our observations, or critique each others artwork. Hands-on activities are essential to the learning process of most artists. I allow ample time for students to work on the skills associated with projects inside of class, so the trial and error of learning new materials can be accomplished alongside a facilitator who has experienced the process beforehand.
The students in my class feel included, not limited or dismissed. No one has a right or wrong answer in the arts, it is largely a subjective field. Sure, there are certain established methodologies I present to the students, but everyone is encouraged to break the mold and experiment. Students should speak up. I make participation a larger portion of the grade than most professors.
I may research a given topic for years, but I still want my students to feel like they can add to the discussion. I appreciate when students surprise me with new ideas, a different angle than I may have thought of something. My classroom is reciprocal in nature, I teach the students different concepts, and they in turn give me new ways to look at my own research. I ask questions to get the conversation rolling. By introducing provocative concepts, I become a trickster. The students do not merely recite a list of definitions, rather they are asked to be critical thinkers, to dissect the problem at hand and learn how to apply the lesson to art making. When the classroom reaches a critical mass of ideas, I feel my job as a teacher is accomplished.