The purpose of Nelson, Eames, and Dodd in their 1952 meeting was to explore the means by which teaching might be improved and even be perfected. The result was not a traditional report; it was research as an example. The art school responded to this example by carrying out a successful eight year experiment whose methods excited educators across America. In the spirit of these exercises, a history of these two programs would not be complete without projecting the next phase of these ideas. Based on the study of Nelson, Eames, Dodd, Breithaupt and their colleague’s teachings, a logical modern day extension presents itself. This too will take the form of a proposed lesson in teaching.

The legacy of the Art X exhibition is an argument for technology aided learning. This argument is special in that it provided the first working example of a very useful way of teaching. While it fell to the staff of The University of Georgia to imitate and implement the procedure, there emerged two key lessons there would need to be a new curriculum and a new attitude.

The new curriculum would be one that incorporated lessons of art history and craft together and meanwhile lay a consensus framework for exactly what the school considered important. The new attitude was partially a new sense of responsibility on the part of the faculty which endeavored to provide students with everything they needed to succeed instead of letting them fail on their own terms.

These new ways of doing things were in effect designed by the staff of the school and then administered by the instructors in a straight forward way, by doing it all themselves. There were slides to be made, lectures to be recorded, photographs to be taken, and drawings to be made. There were also slide carousels to be loaded and programmed and projection screens erected. And, finally there were instructions and notes to be written and discussed.

If there is useful meaning to the examples of Art X and the later Basic Courses then future progress depends on instructors having the unique skills necessary to produce Tooled Education packages. On a human level, this requires teachers who can agree on the standards and goals of their department. They must likewise communicate accept a hierarchy of command, a hierarchy which protects the continuity of their message.

The method requires a special committee to research and develop the curriculum for the artists chosen to instruct. Consequently, an appropriate laboratory is crucial to implement the curriculum. This proposed lesson attempts to produce an immersive learning environment that works in concert with a guided laboratory experience for participants. This method, which is modeled after the Art X example, utilizes video projection on multiple screens with audio narration. In the traditional method developed by Dr. Breithaupt this laboratory or studio space is often the location of the immersive environment. Whereas digital technology was once considered anathema to the studio experience, it must now be properly integrated with future innovation in mind.

A protocol for new teachers as well as new students is crucial. A lack of a planning for how to indoctrinate new teachers this was how the style of the Basic Art Courses became prematurely concluded. Ideally, a guided oversight of how instructors administer their lessons would include examples of how to craft a package, how to present, to tailor the lesson to individuals in their classes, and how to document and save their work for future instructors to adapt or study.

The referenced lesson entails an immersive learning environment that works in concert with an instructor’s advice. This method, which is modeled after the Art X example, utilizes automated video projection on multiple screens with audio narration.

“Packages” of discourse are programmed by the instructor, and fabricated by a graphic designer. These packages play in an automated fashion, using learning principles of cognitive psychology to optimize memory retention. The projection surfaces generate gestalt image patterns between individual screens. A multiplicity of images provides an immersive experience as the participant forms connections between concepts, while the instructor’s narration codifies the goals of the lesson. The images and audio sources for these lessons are captured by the researchers from direct observation and video recording. By providing multiple views, angles, and testimonies, the instructor and designer guided experience.

The immersive packages provide a context for the traditional classroom experience, which still exists. For example, students will still draw from a live model, but they will be prepared with examples of master drawings and contemporary examples beforehand.

Students will also have access to an archive of their classes through a hypermedia document. These hypermedia documents which closely resemble commercial websites provide a record of what is done in class. By using web standards the instructor accommodates the expectations of the participant. The site map becomes a cue for participants, reinforcing concepts, while providing access to details and facts through navigation. These hypermedia documents differ from their commercial counterparts in their focus and depth. These documents take the place of textbooks or slide libraries in some cases.

The infrastructure of this website mimics the lessons in terms of teaching strategies, i.e. means of rehearsal and types of useful mnemonics.

The combination of immersive experiences and access to hypermedia documents encourage students to explore and form their own connections. These elements only represent the first two thirds of the program. The mastery of concepts requires the critical application of new information into the participants’ independent thoughts. Under the observation of the instructor, the participants are prompted to create their own models of the information they have acquired. This requires new research and problem solving. This “laboratory” aspect concludes with the participants presenting their models, in whatever form they manifest. This aspect of the process recalls George Nelson’s challenge: to report on the most perfect designs by means other than words.

Next, a built in interface to the community is key. In simple ways, Lamar Dodd connected daily lessons of his art classes to the surrounding local ecologically and global art world. It began with art auctions of student work, it grew with the museum, it grew with teaching conferences, with national exhibitions, with relationships with other schools, and culminated in national surveys and world exhibitions. This goal of community connection must be a continually renewed and exploited part of the school.

The progress of a University which hopes to make use of the Art X example will institute these three parts: a hierarchical system of curriculum development, a guided studio experience for students, and a clear connection to the community. These parts are critical part of any art program; however, the described method simply codifies a technological means to the end.

The program assumes a baseline of research skills and technological fluency of its teachers yet it provides a system of examples and guidance. The participant receives every advantage towards learning and understanding vital material, using the available technology to its greatest extent. This program differs from traditional teaching in two significant ways; first, the access to learning material vastly outmatches the bottleneck of instructional lectures. Second, these methods call for an automatic record of the act of learning, which is archived and scrutinized. In this way every lesson aspires to be a technical work of art and a case study in teaching.



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