Rebecca Heaton on Art and Design Education

Investigating cognition in the creative arts.

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Collaborative Cognition #NSEAD AD 2016

23rd April 2016 an exciting day, the post arrived and the new NSEAD AD 2016 Issue 16 magazine publication arrived sharing articles by University of Northampton art education students and myself as their lecturer. What was special about this particular publishing opportunity was its outcome as what I believe to be a result of collaborative cognition. To explain collaborative cognition I mean the process by which a group of people fuel each others thought process to achieve over a specific period of time and around a particular theme. The outcomes of which at the start could be seemingly unknown.

In this case the AD magazine shares two articles, ‘Our iJADE Conference’ (2016) by students Steph Morris and Alice Crumpler page 19 and my own article ‘Theory versus practice in art and design education’ pages 26-27. We were also fortunate to have an example of one students artwork on the front cover, well done Ellie Pask. So, how was collaborative cognition generated?

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The two articles have been the end result of a project comprising two avenues, the first a third year art specialism module for the trainee art teachers which involved the students exploring an area of art of their choosing and investigating current concerns in the realm of primary art education. The second avenue an awareness of change maker principles, an ethos which has underpinned the creation of the students art specialism course and which is at the heart of study at Northampton university, in short making positive changes in society to improve our world. When the students and myself embarked on these projects we were not aware of how much we would influence the direction of each others thought, practice and cognition. I was learning from the students as much as they were learning from me. A key example was the publication of the articles, as a fairly new academic and researcher I was guiding students through the publication process, offering advice on editing their work whilst also learning about this process myself. The work the students wanted to share stretched my own thinking, I was learning not only new content about the topics they were exploring but also how to offer critical feedback as a publisher would. Just changing the students audience stretched theirs and my cognition.

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Within my own research I also interviewed students about their understanding of changemaker principles on our course, my intention to share the research at iJADE2015, I did not envisage taking two students with me to present the findings and them being asked to review the conference for the AD Magazine or to extend this even further, writing a collaborative journal article. We are in the throws of producing it. In this example collaborative cognition occurred through social interactions with the students, with individuals at the conference and through the creation of articles. What became apparent was how spontaneous situations led to new directions in thinking, we had to take risks and be open to following new thought paths. The outcomes of which have been fruitful and now our ideas will hopefully inspire other art educators through shared viewing in AD and via this blog. One aim of the change maker ethos is to create positive impact, I hope this will be achieved to an extent by sharing cognition through these outcomes.

 

 

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iPads and innovation

After attending two great iPad professional development courses hosted by Apple Education and the iPad Academy at Enysham Hall and Silverstone Study Centre it became apparent just how prolific the shift in teaching and learning pedagogy is when mobile technology is involved. The creative potential is phenomenal, teachers become facilitators and active learners alongside their students. Fantastic case studies by staff and pupils at Bure Park Primary School: Bicester and the Essa Academy demonstrated how mobile devices have changed teaching and learning in their schools for the better. Both schools identified the importance of enabling pupils to explore skills which may be used in the work place while also mentioning how mobile technologies allowed pupils to explore their world as it changed while keeping up to date with technological developments. Academic progress was not forgotten, by learning alongside each other and through focused personalised learning it was identified that the increased access to instant communicative forms may have had an impact on language development and significantly on creative/ problem solving techniques.

Interesting apps that were explored to aid the practice of teaching included:

Explain everything, book creator, puppet pals, showbie, socrative, pinnacle animation, comic life and green screen to name but a few.

The highlights for me being explain everythingphotospeak and animation hd. Explain everything could transform your classroom changing the way that you approach teaching- children can assess themselves, pre-record responses to questions, share work with others, break steps down and literally explain anything in really creative ways! Photospeak can bring characters to life, children can vocalise their ideas through alternative characters and this could be a really interesting/ motivating way to introduce a new topic, story or idea to children. Animation hd allows the pupils to become the directors of their own animations, the artistic potential here is also huge; children can bring their characters and stories to life!

Enjoy your explorations into the world of mobile technologies! Please add any innovate stories of mobile technologies and creative journeys to this post!

 

 

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