Rationale for Inquiry

“Technology can motivate some students who do not succeed in traditional classrooms in powerful ways.” (Alan November, 2001)

Students who have exceptionalities often lack the ability or motivation to succeed in a classroom that offers limited choices in programming and assessment. I have found that my senior high school visual arts students dislike writing about art in traditional ways, through essays and notes in their journals. Many of the students also find it difficult to verbally articulate their idea. My inquiry will explore alternative ways for them to develop and demonstrate critical thinking skills about their own art and the art of others and to explore art theory in a way that will engage them using tools that they already enjoy, tools of the internet.

Every student in my class is familiar with word processing, safe researching skills and appropriate use of the Internet from my computer class in an earlier grade. I have also observed students using social networking sites and see how these hold their attention. The internet engages all the students in my classes, including those with attention problems and developmental disabilities. This inquiry will examine the efficacy of using the new collaborative tools of Web 2.0 and how they can provide my art students with stimulating, real-world activities that are meaningful and authentic.

Collaborative tools allow for multiple means of expression. Students can express their ideas through text, images, voice and video. They can post images of their artwork or create artwork directly through programs available on the Internet. These tools also allow them to reach out beyond the classroom walls to real life artists, and to visit studies and museums. They can critique the work of other students and practicing artists and get the opinions of others. Assessment becomes richer and more authentic when they can receive feedback for their ideas, artwork, and artist statements from members of the community and even their own families.

Another rationale for introducing technology into my art classroom is that the tools can help students in becoming actively involved in their own learning, which promotes critical thinking and helps students stay motivated. The use of technology can promote a constructivist, interactive approach to student learning, which can make the class more inclusive for all students.

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