Amanda Lowjen

I'm a secondary teacher and I am passionate about my subject; Visual art. I have always been an enthusiastic user of technology as a tool for art making and my interests lie now in extending that use further into enhancing the learning and creativity of my students.

Art has always been what I wanted to ‘do’ and I can honestly say ‘art is my life’ (although full time teaching and Masters study leave little time these days for anything other than an Instagram obsession). My real goal for my students is to instil them with excitement and passion and hopefully an insatiable curiosity for knowledge…..about everything that interests them. I am excited by digital culture and harnessing it in new ways to facilitate learning.

“This new media environment can be enormously disruptive to our current teaching methods and philosophies. As we increasingly move toward an environment of instant and infinite information, it becomes less important for students to know, memorize, or recall information, and more important for them to be able to find, sort, analyze, share, discuss, critique, and create information. They need to move from being simply knowledgeable to being knowledge-able.”(Wesch, 2009)

“The beauty of the current moment is that new media has thrown all of us as educators into just this kind of question-asking, bias-busting, assumption-exposing environment.” Michael Wesch refers to the infinite amount of information with which we are persistently inundated, and the unique discourse we are currently facing with the variety of material we encounter. How are we as educators able to embed in the students we teach the skills to navigate this new environment?

When a pre-service teacher is faced with a new concept or theme a reasonable starting point would be an internet search and with the vast array information available how are they to discern where to begin. If we are unable to distinguish between quality and inferior information how will we pass this information onto our students? The teaching of Aboriginal art in schools is fraught with simplification, misinformation and discrimination; however it is a priority subject in the new Australian curriculum and must be addressed by all teachers in some capacity.

The focus of my essay and final accompanying resource is to engage pre-service and serving primary teachers in the vast array of knowledge that is available in the digital environment and hopefully dispel some of the confusion.

As my resource for Assessment 2 I am pondering the idea of a resource for Primary teachers to assist with the teaching of Australian Aboriginal Art. There is many issues associated with the teaching of Aboriginal art in schools and some of these will be explored in my essay for Assessment 1: Digital culture and confusion when teaching Australian Aboriginal art

Wesch, M. (2009). From Knowledgable to Knowledge-able: Learning in New Media Environments. Retrieved from http://www.academiccommons.org/2014/09/09/from-knowledgable-to-knowledge-able-learning-in-new-media-environments/

The resource aims to present a range of resources that are available on the internet with links to wikispaces, websites and other sources where teachers can easily access lesson plans and ideas. Links are provided to guides and protocols written mostly by state and federal government agencies.

After discussions with several friends who are currently training as pre-service Primary teachers in the Queensland Education system and their needs in relation to teaching within the Arts curriculum and the Australian Curriculum focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts it was decided that a resource to assist in the navigation of the vast array of information available on the internet would be useful. It was decided that a resource such as Prezi would be valuable. Not only because it is an extremely effective presentation method but because it was also new to several of the target group and was a great excuse for them to learn a little bit more about its functionality.

The information and resources presented in the Teaching Aboriginal Art Prezi is the culmination of research for the previously submitted scholarly research essay that addressed the problem faced by teachers when navigating the digital realm in search of information and resources related to the topic. It is hoped that is will dispel some of the myths and controversy surrounding the teaching of Aboriginal Art in a practical art classroom through enlightening and exciting teachers, particularly those in pre-service in the Primary years. This was found to be successful in initial trials as feedback was that there was a wealth of information that had been organized and presented for further investigation.

After initial presentation (via email link) of the resource to colleagues structural changes were made to both contents and cosmetics of the resource. Based on feedback that some areas were not zoomed close enough extra paths were added to get closer to some of the objects. A different background image was used to further enhance the appearance of the overall layout and the frames moved into a pattern that echoes that of an Aboriginal designed artwork. Colours were adjusted slightly to harmonise with the new background image. Some further instructions were added as those new to Prezi were unaware that the web links embedded were fully active and could be used to go to the website that was the original source of the information. After some scepticism of implementing the printmaking method with the Year 3 age group that was the initial target for the Visual Art unit and the inability of pre-service teachers to implement the unit in schools they were currently teaching at, the lesson ideas were implemented with a Year 3 cohort to trial its possibilities. The lesson idea was found to be completely successful when implemented by a specialist art teacher and the results were included as ‘real-life’ examples of student work. This is hoped to be extra encouragement for those who had considered some of the methods may be too challenging for a Primary level classroom.

The resource can be retrieved from http://prezi.com/zhrqukoo3lgh/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

References
8 ways wikispace. (n.d.). 8 ways Interface Retrieved from https://8ways.wikispaces.com/Interface+theory
Aboriginal Art Online Pty Ltd. (2000) Aboriginal Art and use of Symbols. Retrieved from http://www.aboriginalartonline.com/culture/symbols.php
Art Gallery of New South Wales. (2014) Indigenous Australian: Art Gallery of New South Wales (Version 1.4) [Mobile application software]. Retrieved from https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/indigenous-australian-art/id732418119?mt=8
Australian Broadcasting Commission. (2015). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. Retrieved from http://splash.abc.net.au/home#!/topic/494038/Aboriginal%20and%20Torres%20Strait%20Islander%20histories%20and%20cultures
Australian Broadcasting Commission. (2015). Indigenous Language Map. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/indigenous/map/
Australia Council for the Arts. (2007). Protocols for producing Indigenous Australian visual arts. Retrieved from http://2014.australiacouncil.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/32368/Visual_arts_protocol_guide.pdf
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2010). The Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/
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Napangardi Watson, J. (2011) Desert Oak Dreaming [Acrylic on canvas]. Retrieved from http://www.idaia.com.au/en/galleries/idaias-exhibitions/watermark-the-signature-of-life/?pid=444
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Snake Artist. (2012, August 23). How to make a Monoprint (printmaking) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El6aIKAIvTA
Snake Artist. (2012, August 26). How to Monoprint in 2 colours (printmaking) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZo3MWVb9iI
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