one woman's view into a world of creativity

Archive for the ‘EDU – Pedagogy & Teaching’ Category

Color Theory Game

Color – Method of Action

Method of Action is an online course on design for analytical minds.

Here’s a fun color theory game online. It’s an interactive game that tests your ability to match color based on hue, saturation, and colors schemes of complementary, analogous, triadic and tetradic. You move your mouse over a color wheel to match the prompted color or scheme, all the while being timed. At the end of the game you get a numerical score. I did a quick video tutorial to show you how it works.

The game can be found here.

Color method of action

Color — Method of Action, a game which tests your design sense based on hue, saturation, complementary, analogous, triadic, and tetradic color theory.


Art as Experience by John Dewey

I started reading Art as Experience by John Dewey.  He’s especially verbose, and sometimes it’s hard to get through his writing (I’m only through chapter one).  But his words are so profound, and littered with gems of statements.  I’m probably going to post some of my favorites as I read them.

Why are artists so often ostentatiously eccentric, and strangely proud of being “misunderstood” ?  Dewey might be on to something here…

Because of changes in industrial conditions the artist has been pushed to one side from the main streams of active interest.  Industry has been mechanized and an artist cannot work mechanically for mass production.  He is less integrated than formerly in the natural flow of social services.  A peculiar esthetic “individualism” results.  Artists find it incumbent upon them to betake themselves not to cater to the trend of economic forces, they often feel obliged to exaggerate their separateness to the point of eccentricity.  Consequently artistic products take on to a still greater degree the air of something independent and esoteric. p. 8

Perhaps this sense of separateness arises from our feelings that we are the few who truly see.  Why does not everyone perceive the world like an artist does?  Does our sense of being misunderstood arise from the perception that we are alone in activating all of our senses to see beauty in what others think of as “mundane” ?

In order to understand the esthetic in its ultimate and approved forms, one must begin with it in the raw; in the events and scenes that hold the attentive eye and ear of man, arousing his interest and affording him enjoyment as he looks and listens:  the sights that hold the crowd 00 the fire-engine rushing by; the machines excavating enormous holes in the earth; the human-fly climbing the steeple-side; the men perched high in air on girders, throwing and catching red-hot bolts.  The sources of art in human experience will be learned by him who sees how the tense grace of the ball-player infects the onlooking crowd; who notes the delight of the housewife in tending her plants, and the intent interest of her goodman in tending the patch of green in front of the house; the zest of the spectator in poking the wood burning on the hearth and in watching the darting flames and crumbling coals.  These people, if questioned as to the reason for their actions, would doubtless return reasonable answers.  The man who poked the sticks of burning wood would say he did it to make the fire burn better; but he is none the less fascinated by the colorful drama of change enacted before his eyes and imaginatively partakes in it.  He does not remain a cold spectator. p. 3

On a separate note, this entry ties into what I’m writing my master’s thesis on.

The odd notion that an artist does not think and a scientific inquirer does nothing else is the result of converting a difference of tempo and emphasis into a difference in kind. The thinker has his esthetic moment when his ideas cease to be mere ideas and become the corporate meanings of objects. The artist has his problems and thinks as he works. But his thought is more immediately embodied in the object. Because of the comparative remoteness of his end, the scientific worker operates with symbols, words and mathematical signs. The artist does his thinking in the very qualitative media he works in, and the terms lie so close to the object that he is producing that they merge directly into it. p.14

Google Cultural Institute

So I’ve discovered a website/application so mind blowing, I have to climb to a top of a mountain and shout it to the world.  Err, maybe we’ll just skip the whole mountain climbing business.  But I simply have to share it with y’all.  It’s called Google Cultural Institute.

On their About page, Google describes the project as:

Google has partnered with hundreds of museums, cultural institutions, and archives to host the world’s cultural treasures online.

With a team of dedicated Googlers, we are building tools that allow the cultural sector to display more of its diverse heritage online, making it accessible to all.

Here you can find artworks, landmarks and world heritage sites, as well as digital exhibitions that tell the stories behind the archives of cultural institutions across the globe.

This idea of sharing knowledge and making the world’s treasures available to everyone is great.  I think it’s a beautiful example of how the internet can be a force of change, serving the greater good. (Not that I’m opposed the wasting hours and hours watching funny cat videos…:P )  What Google is doing here is an amazing thing for those who don’t live in areas where art museums or other cultural attractions are available.  If I want to see famous artwork I don’t have to throw down a bunch of money, pack my bags, and fly across the country (or ocean) to see it.  Google is bringing it to me, in the comfort of my own living room, and they’re not charging a dime for it.  That’s pretty neat.

Aside from the convenience of what they’re doing, I also think it’s going to revolutionize education.  Part of why I was so struck by the Cultural Institute is that it makes so very much possible for educators.  In the example of an art teacher, such as myself, who uses Art Project (a subsection of the larger Cultural Project),  I can show famous artwork to my students in a format that allows them to get up close and personal, zooming in to ultra-high quality photos so close they can see individual brush strokes.  They can virtually tour museums.  The students can also pick and choose items to compare side by side, activating higher thinking.  Teachers and students can curate their own lists, whether it’s their favorite items, art from a specific period, or pieces that support a current unit in the curriculum.  On top of that, they can search pre-organized sets or look at collections put together by other people.  And best of all, Google has gone ahead and made print-outs and lesson plans available to educators.  I’d call that more than just a nifty tool.  It’s fantabulous.

(See more About Art Project.)

But I realize I’m rambling when maybe not all of you care as much about how teachers can use this.  I’ll let Google’s promotional/how-to videos speak for themselves, and let you imagine the possibilities.

P.S.  Expect to see more content from Art Project featured here, on my blog.

P.P.S.  Google didn’t pay me anything to post this.  I’m just really excited about what they’re doing (can you tell?) and want to share it with others.

The Arts and Education

Palmer, Parker J.  The Courage to Teach. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998.

“For objectivism, the subject self is the enemy most to be feared…in objectivism, subjectivity is feared not only because it contaminates things but because it creates relationships between those things and us — and relationships are contaminating as well…So objectivism, driven by fear, keeps us from forging relationships with things of the world.  Its modus operandi is simple: when we distance ourselves from something, it becomes an object; when it becomes an object, it no longer has life; when it is lifeless, it cannot touch or transform us, so our knowledge of the thing remains pure.”

“For objectivism, any way of knowing that requires subjective involvement between the knower and the known is regarded as primitive, unreliable, and even dangerous.  The intuitive is derided as irrational, true feeling is dismissed as sentimental, the imagination is seen as chaotic and unruly, and storytelling is labeled as personal and pointless.”

That is why music, art, and dance are at the bottom of the academic pecking order and the “hard” sciences are at the top. ” (Palmer 51-51)

I was reading The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer for an education class, and I think these selections spanning two to three pages struck me the most of everything I read.  As touched upon in Down with History, art is less valued than other subjects, and I think Palmer hit the bullseye of why.  Art is regarded in school curriculums as an elective: an optional subject to be cut from schools when budgets get tight.  According to Palmer, it is because art is subjective, to be experienced firsthand.  It does not translate well into shared experiences because it is so subjective and personal.  The fine arts often work around solitary artists, or perhaps small cooperatives like musicians.

The important thing to focus on is that art is subjective and very much an internal experience that cannot be explained easily to others.  I came across this idea in a RSA lecture illustration about the education reform movement. Sir Ken Robinson, in his lecture “Changing Paradigms,” describes the arts as reliant upon “aesthetic experience, in which your senses are operating at their peak… present in the current moment… resonating with your excitement of the experience… when you are fully alive.”  This aesthetic experience of Sir Robinson is the subjective experience Palmer is speaking of.  The arts are subjective, sensory, aesthetic experiences which are difficult to measure and transfer in the manner of more scientific, objective subjects.  The incompatibility of the arts with the recent rage of standardized tests makes them unpopular and undervalued.  In a scientific society that emerged from the Enlightenment movement, creativity is discounted because it cannot be quantified.  The arts cannot remain objective.  They are very much subjective, and cannot be standardized.  Before we jump to eliminating the arts from school curriculums around the nation, we must first better understand why we value the fine arts less than other subjects.

Down with History (via  Modeled Behavior)

As a student on the path to certification as an art teacher, I’m obviously biased in favor of this blogging post. But I think the author does a good job explaining the argument of pro-art, and their language mirrors what I’ve come across in some of my other education classes. It seems that art is misunderstood and undervalued because of its subjective status, something I hope to post about later.  I want to emphasize that I think the core of this post is not that history should be eliminated from the curriculum, but the question of why is history valued more than art?

When schools are faced with a budget crunch, as so many are, art teachers and art classes are among the first to go on the chopping block. As the New York Times reports, this appears to be the case in New York City: For the first time in four years, the number of certified arts teachers in the city’s public schools is declining, according to a report to be released by the Center for Arts Education on Thursday. In 2009-2010, there were 135 fewer a … Read More

via  Modeled Behavior

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