Multiple literacies: the goal of a comprehensive visual arts education


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Multiple literacies: the goal of a comprehensive visual arts education
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Project in lieu of thesis
Bishop, Jennifer Marie
College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
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Gainesville, Fla
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From the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we climb into bed at night, visual images and communication technologies permeate our every activity. Images penetrate our daily lives, from the food packaging we eat, the posters and signage we see, to the print journals we read. Similarly, new technologies of communication are literally at our fingertips; cellular devices allow people to not only make phone calls, but also search the Internet and engage in online social networking. Jointly, images and technologies enable people to receive, interpret, and convey messages, making it even more essential that people are literate in all forms of communication. Literacy is not a new topic of conversation within the realm of education, or in art education specifically. For a long time, literacy referred to verbal and print-based communications. Visual literacy, while a relatively new term, has been discussed at length throughout a number of disciplines including art education, which exemplifies its interdisciplinary nature. New media literacy refers to current technological forms of information exchange, and intersects with visual literacy, enabling people to interact within and navigate an image-based world. This project explores multiple modes of literacy, including visual and new media literacy, and how they relate to art education. In carrying out this capstone project, I was interested in learning how new media literary relates to my own work teaching elementary art classes at a public school in Florida. I compiled my research into a literary review and constructed a series of tables that compared the skills of visual and new media literacy to the state and county standards in art. The result of this research led me on a path to develop a short video presentation of my reflections of my own art education practices and a series of handouts to present to art educators in the school district I work in, Polk County School District, as a way to generate professional conversations about our approach to teaching art to today’s students.
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Art Education terminal project
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Summer 2012

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3 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge and thank my supervisory committee, Dr. Jodi Kushins and Dr. Craig Roland for their guidance, har d pressing questions, and support throughout the capstone project. Also, I need to thank all of the professors and fellow classmates at the University of Florida for their support and collaborations throughout the two years of study. Thank you to my husb and, Don, for his help and patience, including pushing me forward when I felt like stopping. I must also thank my mom for her help and encouragement through the past two years. In addition to my family, I would like to thank my friends and colleagues fo r their support. Lastly, I must thank the administrators in the Polk County School District for taking the time to write the letters of recommendation that enabled me to have this opportunity to


4 TABLE OF CONTENTS page AC KNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 3 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 6 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 7 CHAPTER 1 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 9 Statement of Problem ................................ ................................ ............................. 10 Significance of the Research ................................ ................................ .................. 12 Limitations of the Study ................................ ................................ .......................... 13 2 Lit erature Review ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 14 Visual Literacy ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 14 Visual Culture ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 16 New Media Literacy ................................ ................................ ................................ 17 Multimoda Literacy ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 18 Challenges ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 19 Interdisciplinary Approach ................................ ................................ ....................... 2 1 Implications for Art Education ................................ ................................ ................. 22 3 Research Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 2 4 4 Resul ts ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 3 1 Video Development ................................ ................................ ................................ 3 4 Supplements ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 34 5 Discussions ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 3 6 Personal Multimodal Literacy Skills ................................ ................................ ........ 3 6 Future Direction for my Colleagues ................................ ................................ ........ 3 7 Future Direction for Myself ................................ ................................ ...................... 3 9 APPENDIX A Essential Criteria For 5 th Grade ................................ ................................ .............. 40 B Proposal for Professiona l Development ................................ ................................ .. 41 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 4 7


5 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 4 9


6 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 11 Visual Lite racy Competencies ................................ ................................ ....... 2 5 2 2 21 st Century Skills ................................ ................................ ............................... 27 2 3 Next Generation Sunshine State Standards ................................ ....................... 2 9 2 4 Polk County Art Curriculum Guide ................................ ................................ ...... 30 2 5 Cross Referen 1 2 6 Discipline Based Art Education for 21 st 3


7 SUMMARY OF CAPSTONE PROJECT PRESENTED TO THE COL LEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FL ORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLME NT OF THE REQUIREM ENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTERS OF ARTS MULTIMODAL LITERACY: THE GOAL OF A COMPREHENSIVE VISUAL ARTS EDUCATION By Jennifer Bishop August 2012 Committee Chair: Jodi Kushins Major: Art Education From the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we climb in to bed at night, visual images and communication technologies permeate our every activity. Images penetrate our daily lives, from the food packaging we eat, the posters and signage we see, to the print journals we read. Similarly n ew technologi es of communication are literally at our fingertips; cellular devices allow people to not only make phone calls, but also search the Internet and engage in onli ne social networking. Jointly, images and technologies enable people to receive, interpret, and convey messages, making it even more essential that people are literate in all forms of communication. Literacy is not a new topic of conversation within the realm of education, or in art education specifically. For a long time, literacy referred to v erbal and print based communications. Visual literacy, while a relatively new term, has been discussed at length throughout a number of disciplines including art education which exemplifies its interdisciplinary nature. New media literacy refers to cur rent technological forms of


8 information exchange, and intersects with visual literacy enabling people to interact within and navigate an image based world. This project explores multiple modes of literacy, including visual and new media literacy, and ho w they relate to art education. In carrying out this capstone project, I was interested in learning how new media literary relates to my own work teaching elementary art classes at a public school in Florida. I compiled my research into a literary review and constructed a series of tables that compared the skills of visual and new media literacy to the state and county standards in art. The result of this research led me on a path to develop a short video presentation of my reflections of my own art educ ation practices and a series of handouts to present to art educators in the school district I work in, Polk County School District, as a way to generate professional conversations about our approach to teaching art


9 CHAPTER 1 INTR ODUCTION Close your eyes and picture the last commercial you watched. Was it on television or on the Internet? What elements of the commercial do you remember, the images, the actors, the text? Was the commercial trying to sell you a product, persuade y ou to eat somewhere, or voice a public concern? The commercial utilized many modes, images, sounds, texts, together to entice you into making a decision. Were you prepared to understand the meaning or intent of the content within the message? This is j ust one example of multimodal literacy in the 21 st century. Literacy embraces multimodal tools, such as text, sound, and visuals together to express a message. In our global community, students must be multimodally literate in order to interpret meaning f rom messages as well as to develop appropriate m essages to convey to others from different eth n ic and cultural backgrounds These messages take on a variety of forms themselves from the creation of fine art to imagery from popular visual culture. We ar e indeed in the midst of a visual, participatory, and global culture in which technology grants us access to an endless array of communicative resources, with the ability to interact with both visual and verbal texts at speeds unimaginable before. For exa mple, people can take pictures, edit them, and email them in almost no time on handheld mobile devices. With this instantaneous access to technology, it is important that students interact responsibly with the messages they send and receive, not just with mobile devices but also in the art they observe and make. Hassett and Curwood


10 sufficient for many communication tasks, the demands of digital media and visual texts w ithin a multimodal culture require complex new ways of coding and decoding image ) Essentially, anyone can be an artist with these new media devices, and therefore, it is the responsibility of art teac hers and students to criticall y read and make these new art and communicative forms effectively convey their intended meaning. Literacy statistics focus on the level that individuals, from young children to adults, are able to construct meaning from text. While some research into th e literacy rates of adults could be valuable, research indicates that language and literacy development begins at infancy and continues through school. With this in mind, my research focused on student visual and multimodal literacy at the elementary art level, ages 5 11. Statement of the Problem Although students are absorbed in visual culture, they may not necessarily be literate in it. Felten ( cited i n Avgerinou, 2009) (or faculty an d administrators) naturally possess sophisticated visual literacy skills, just as continually listening to an iPod does not teach ). Students have initiated conversations with me regarding artwork or p rojects they have seen online, such as Wreck this Journal (2007, ). Similarly, several of my 5 th grade students use online drawing tutorials at home to help them with their drawing skills. The fact is that students are using these new media technologies, and it is critical to prepare


11 them how to use these tools with the same critical eye that they use when they make art using traditional methods (pencils, paint, clay, etc.). It is also im portant to consider teachers who might be apprehensive about addressing and implementing these new literacies in the classroom. Pettersson (2009) explains that while much has been done to research visual literacy and its applications to many disciplines, society and enough interest from those responsible for school curricula around the Prior to this research, I did not know a significant amount regarding visual or new media literacy. The reasons for this vary, from my own negligence, to time, and a lack of resources. Without the proper resources, such as professional development, networking with colleagues, and ensuring sufficient time to research new information multimod al literacy w ill remain vague and unfamiliar to most teachers The shift from traditional literacy to more integrated literacies indicates a shift in involve visual From my personal observations, I have noticed that the majority of young people who enter my classroom have access to computers, the Internet, and many own smartphones, or at least k now how to use them. In fact, several of my students have taught me about new websites and artists that they have found searching the Internet. Antsey and Bull (c ited in Towell and Smilan, 2009 mean to be a literate member of our global society in a world with multimodal texts,


12 Look ing back over my graduate studies at the University of Florida, I learned several new approaches to art education including Ba ckwards Design for curriculum planning and the use of Big Ideas and Essential Questions as foundations for lesson planning. This new information conflicted with my prior educational practice, one that emphasized the elements and principles of art. It als o conflicted with the curriculum plan for my district. In response to standards based learning, our district prepared an essential criteria pre and post test for 5 th grade students that could be used as tangible evidence of student learning in art ( see A ppendix A for an exa mple of the Essential Criteria F orm ) This series of exams focuses on easily testable items, such as vocabulary terms Naturally, I want my students to perform well on these exams, in order to demonstrate growth in art, but should voc abulary mastery be the most important thing that my students take away from my class? I began to wonder how a multimodal literacy approach could impact the quality of the art education experience for both students an d teachers in Polk County. Significan ce of the Research S tudents are not stagnant, and therefore education should not be either It must constantly evolve to meet the needs of all our students. This is true in all fields of education, including the visual arts. Fostering visual and multimo dal literacy in art education is a means of reaching students on their level, teaching them to navigate the visual worlds they inhabit through their own eyes and minds. According to a report from the Transforming Education through the Arts Challenge (TETA rt attains value, (Stewart and Walker, 2005, p. 42). This is perhaps one of the most crucial reasons that


13 multimodal literacy should be included in the art curriculum, as it directly relates to how people communicate with one another. TETAC further states that documents, change in my personal teaching practice and change in the way Polk County art educators approach the art curriculum. I believe the most significant aspect of this capstone project is that it challenges the current vision and treatment of art education in my school district and sets the precedent for conversatio ns among my colleagues about bringing our curriculum into the 21 st century. Limitations of the Study Because multimodal literacy studies are relatively new, it has been difficult to find evidence regarding new literacy gaps and the impact these literacie s have on student engagement. Consequentially, it will be challenging to determine what other factors play a role in the development of new literacy skills beyond those found in the classroom or school setting, such as socioeconomic differences. My resea rch but the process of initiating change will take time, so for the purpose of this project only the first step which was to identify a need and propose change is d ocumented. If more time was allotted for such investigations I would be able to work with my fellow art teachers, engage in dialogue pertaining to their current art practices (surveys, polls, etc.) that would create a clearer argument for the need to dev elop a nd to implement these changes.


14 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Literacy is a labyrinth that presents many challenges to education. It is a lifelong journey with many turns. Literacy itself covers a diverse range of sub specialties, including linguist ic literacy, digital literacy, science literacy, media literacy, visual literacy, multimodal literacy, and new media literacy. Literacy now encompasses many skills and practices pertaining to meaning making Hobbs (cited in Chauvin, 2003) discusses forms of literacy such as technolo the ( p. 119 120). invo lves students knowing how to manipulate symbols (letters) of the alphabet in concert with the fundamental concepts and principles of the language of the teacher, sugges that reading goes beyond text to include the ability to read messages within images as well. Visua l Literacy Rudolf Arnheim was the founder of perceptual psychology, a professor at Harvard University and Sarah Lawrence College, and the author of several books including Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye (1974). Perhaps Arnheim Visual


15 Literacy ( VL ) Arnheim theorized that the act of seeing was cognitive in nature and that cannot do the job directly because it is no direct avenue for sensory contact with reality; it serves only to name what we have seen or heard or thought (p. 2). Lanier (1974) for example, warned reade rs of the dangers of visual perception taking the place of verbal language, the impression whether they were originally meant to or not that the visual image transmits ide Arnheim insisted on the belief that we interpret visuals long before we use words and illustrated in depth how intelligence and perception interact cohesively. By identifying perce ption as an act of intelligence and explaining the psychology of the image, Arnheim shifted the way art education was viewed. No longer was it purely about creative self expression but a way to build visual thinking skills. s theory that the term visual literacy was actually defined by John Debes ( Avgerinou Para 1) Debes referred to visual literacy as competencies a human being can develop by seeing and at the same time having and integrating other senso (Avgerinou, Para 2). Since the emergence of visual literacy scholars have been defining the term to fit their needs, but all the meanings still relate to the understanding of visual images. Visual images are a language because, accord language includes the elements and principles of art, as well as symbols, body


16 language, and object placement. In order to be visually li terate, Ausburn and Ausburn interpret (p. 291). Consider that even letters o f the alphabet and sign language utilize visual thinking in order for communication to work effectively. Although the term visual l iteracy was only developed a little more than 40 years ago, using pictorials and visuals to communicate is not new. Velde rs (cited in Peterson 2009 30,000 years ago, t he description of it only 2,500. visual literacy is 2,500 years old (as in infancy, we learn to recognize, categorize, and sort out all manner of objects, people, activities, and phenomena such as weather, colors, or moods (p. 6). Yenawine (2003) counter images in many media that go beyond simple representation and include documentary evidence of events, people, and places, ties of the art classroom serve as the fou ndation for developing visual literacy by exploring and investigating both fine art from museums and galleries to everyday media and imagery. Visual Culture To understand visual literacy, it is important to look at visual culture. For the purposes of this discussion, v isual culture refers more to items mass produced and consumed, rather than the fine art found in museum spaces. These items can include images that serve entertainment purposes such as television, magazines, and books.


17 Not all images i n visual culture are m eant to entertain. Think, for example, of political advertisements, public service posters and photojournalism. Visual Culture is closely linked with what Henry Jenkins (2011 ) calls participatory c ulture. Within a participatory c ulture, the public is able to not only consume messages, but also create them as well. With access to technology, all members of a society are able to create and share communications and it is up to them to decide to participate or not. Participatory cul ture allows members within a community to feel connected, not isolated with one another (Jenkins, 2009, p. 6). New Media Literacy New media literacy is the newest terminology pertaining to multiple literacy dialogues. Just as visual literacy relates t o the ability to interpret visual culture, new media literacy addresses the ability to traverse in participatory culture. New media expresses a shift from print based communi cation to digital communication. Kress ne hand, the broad move from the now centuries long dominance of writing to the new dominance of the image and, on the other hand, the move from the dominance of the medium of the book to the dominance vident in technologies such as electronic book readers and computer tablets. According to the website, (2011), while new media literacy addresses literacies with technological and communicative devices, these skills can be master ed without the use of computers, although having them provides students with more opportunities (Para 3). However, even if you have computers in the


18 classroom and s tudents use them sparingly for research and little more With students act ively engage d in online activities, they need to learn the skills to participate effectively and responsibly, rather than acquiring only the technical skills (how to use a computer) S tudents need to learn how to interpret and create meanin gful messages from the Internet, including the images shared on blogs and media hosting sites Multimodal Literacy Multimodal literacy refers to the ability to receive and interpret meaning through a regularized and organized set of resources for meaning making including, image, gaze, my mind as I res earched multimodal literacy were multisensory learning and multiple intelligences. ) Theory of Multiple Intelligences identified different learning styles, including linguistic, logical mathematical, musical, spatial, bodil y kinesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal (Para 3). Similarly, multimodal communication employs a variety of senses and tools for interpreting and conveying forms of communication. Technology and media lead the way to new modes of lear ning beyond textual decode and comprehend alphabetic print in conjunction with oth er socially and culturally itself encompasses a variety of modes and media, such as paint, fabric, clay, digital


19 photography, and vide, and therefore utilizing mult imodal literacy within the field of visual arts will create a more comprehensive instruction. Challenges What challenges are presented when implementing a multimodal literacy art curriculum? It is well documented that gaps in socioeconomics play a role the income children and English language learners have limited word knowledge, which negatively (p 1). Research indicates that students from less financially secure families are also less likely to be prepared for new literacies. According to data from Literacy Today (2010 ) : C hildren aged 8 15 in DE households (defined as those households where the chief income earner is either a semi skilled or unskilled manual worker) remained less likely than households with children in other socioeconomic groups to have access to digital te levision, DVRs and the Internet. (p. 20) Jenkins (2009) identifies a par ticipation g ap indicating that students in urban communities are more likely to have access to computers and wireless Internet access than in rural areas (p. 16). Naturally, those students who have access to technology and the Internet are more likely to be literate in new media than those who do not but merely having access to technology does not mean that students will be literate Surprisingly, in a study conducted by Pew Internet and American Life Project, urban youths were more likely than suburban and rural youths to be media savvy (Jenkins, p.


20 3). Perhaps this is because urban environments offer more wireless service. For instance, when I am in the downtown area of my hometown, it is easy to find wireless hotspots, where Internet access is avail able freely. In contrast, the more rural areas of town, where businesses are more scarce and empty land more prominent, it is quite difficult to find free access, if yo nternet at home it could prove challenging to find opportunities to browse online. In addition to potential gaps in visual and multimodal literacy development, there ies and postmodern theory invite visual culture in the classroom, leaving some teachers with feelings of confusion and support visual culture art education because they view it as a threat to the traditional discipl ines within fine art education. raised by visual culture may be painful for some art teachers to consider, it is worthwhile to rethink the legitimacy of the di vision between fine arts and other visual forms in of this new visual culture art education. Visual culture and visual literacy do not necessarily replace art education content that already exists, but create new learning objectives within art education for students to be able to make connections with their constantly changing environments.


21 Interdisciplinary Approach Art education is just one of many disciplines that have broached the topic of literacy development Teachers in d isciplines such as science, reading, and psychology also acknowledge the importance of visual literacy in their classrooms. For example reading class es utilize mind maps, concepts maps, sentence diagrams, a nd pictorial representations with vocabulary words to help visualize the content that they are reading or writing about. Humans are interdisciplinary by nature. For example, even silent films were accompanied by music According to research by Renata a nd Geofrey Caine (ci ted in Stewart and Walker, 2005 ), the human brain does not separate information but rather carefully integrated, art and other disciplines can work together such as applying geometry and measurement skills in drawing and sculpting Reading and writing occur often in my class with the use of picture books with younger students, studying both the text and the illustrations and the relationships between the tw o Of course, it is important to always be mindful of the possibility of one subject merely serving other subjects, such as using art to prepare better test takers. Ulbricht (1998) warns that while it is important to consider an interdisciplinary appro ach to art subjects (p. 16). An example of this in a multimodal literacy art curriculum would be that of artist journals where students incorporate texts, visuals, and history together. By embracing and implementing multimodal literacy and art together, students will see how


22 art is more than just developing talents and skills, but how art plays an integral role in the communication of ideas and concepts. Ultimately, a rt becomes more relatable, and students are more likely to participate rather than just follow predetermined criteria. Implications for Art Education Some people may ask, why art? I ask, why not art? As Krug and Cohen Evron 265). Students look at art works, critically analyze them, and play with a variety of media to create their own works of art Art education currently focuses on four disciplines identified by dis cipline based art education (DBAE): criticism, history, art making, and aesthetics (Stewart and Walker, 2005, p. 40). It would be within this framework that an emphasis on teaching towards visual and multimodal literacy could be addressed. The line betw een fine art and visual culture is blurred, and has been for some time. beyond traditional fine art forms, art students would not be fully equipped to understand the contempora ry world in terms of social relationships, politics, race, gender, sexuality, and class multimodal literacy would not overshadow the art curriculum as some educators fear, but would contribute to a comprehensive art education that is relevant to the students of today. Within the multimodal art classroom, students would interact with each other, share ideas, and create both individual and collaborative works. Students could ut ilize new media to create videos t ogether, to share their work on line and to explore a much


23 broader range of art works from a variet y of sources on a global scale the potential for networking is limitless.


24 CHAPTE R 3 RESEARCH METHODS At the beginning of my research, I was inundated with literacy terminology. For that reason, I decided to narrow my research to investigate two key literacies that stood out in my mind, visual and new media literacy and how they pe rtain to art education I researched a number of sources to identify the e key components of each type of literacy. I decided it would be pertinent to compare this information with the current state of art education in Florida and Polk County. My focus r emained at the elementary level, but I decided to further narrow it down to 5 th grade student data because they are the test group in Polk County for the elementary level. The first data set that I created Visual Li teracy Competencies, which define the essential skills necessary for visual literacy (Table 2 1)


25 11 Visual Literacy Competencies Knowledge of Visual V ocabulary Knowledge of the basic components (i.e. point, line, shape, form, space, tex ture, light, color, motion) of visual language. Knowledge of Visual C onventions Knowledge of visual signs and symbols, and their socially agreed meanings (within the western culture). Visual Thinking The ability to turn information of all types into pict ures, graphics, or forms that help communicate the information Visualization The process by which a visual image is formed. (Verbo ) Visual Reasoning Coherent and logical thinking that is carried out primarily by means of images. Critical viewing Applyi ng critical thinking skills to visuals. Visual Discrimination The ability to perceive differences between two or more visual stimuli. Visual Reconstruction The ability to reconstruct a partially occluded visual message in its original form (Sensitivity to) Visual Association The ability to link visual images that display a unifying theme. (Sensitivity to) Verbo Visual Association The ability to link verbal messages and their visual representations (and vice versa) to enhance meaning. Reconstructing M eaning The ability to visualize and verbally (or visually) reconstruct the meaning of a visual message solely on the evidence of given information which is incomplete. Constructing Meaning The ability to construct meaning for a given visual message on the evidence of any given visual (and perhaps verbal) information. (Avgerinou, 2009, p. 29 30) Table 2 1 One thing that I noticed when reading through these competencies was how interrelated they are Knowledge of Visual Conventions is constructed throug h the Knowledge of Visual Vocabulary. Some of them however, could be compressed together, such as Reconstructing Meaning and Visual Reconstruction. I also began thinking how the se skills related to my current teaching practices. I realized quickly that although I would like to believe that I am incorporating these competencies in my


26 almost entirely on the development of art knowledge using the Visual Vocabulary and V isual Conventions, often overlooking the critical components, such as Verbo Visual Association and Reconstructing Meaning. Despite my dismay, I kept moving forward in my research, collecting information that related to multimodal literacy competencies, a nd found the 21 st Century Skills, presented by Henry Jenkins (2011). These are skills that address new media literacy within a participatory culture, one in which communication technologies are multimodal and interactive (Table 2 2). The first skill on t he list is Play, which reminded me of an article by Olivia Gude (2010) that talked extensively about play in art education and how it is an essential factor in developing creativity (p. 35). I wondered if I am allowing my my curriculum too rigid? Students need to play with an expanded selection of media and materials, including technology, s omething that I realized need s to be address ed in my classroom.


27 21 st Century Skills Play The capacity to e xperiment with one's su rroundings as a form of problem solving. Performance The ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery. Simulation The ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real world proce sses. Appropriation The ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content. Multitasking The ability to scan one's environment and shift focus as needed to salient details. Distributed Cognition The ability to interact meaningfully with tools tha t expand mental capacities. Collective Intelligence The ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal. Judgment The ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources. Transmedia Navigat ion The ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple media. Networking The ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information. Negotiation The ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms. Visualization The ability to translate information into visual models and understand the information visual models are communicating. Retrieved from he literacies.php Table 2 2 Another skill I noticed is n etworking something that our district visual arts coordinator constantly provides opportunities for us to do through professional development and art workshops. Networking in this list refers to the ability to search and collect information. Our district consists of the best resources, our fellow teachers. Although teachers communicate, through this research I believe that using new media could help us to network even more successfully with each ot her and also teachers globally. Also, if it is important for us as educators to network with each other, then and artists?


28 It was then that I decided to look closer a t how these skills and competencies are aligned with the Florida Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS) and the Polk County Curriculum G uide. I downloaded the NGSSS standards for grade 5, and found that there were five distinct Big Ideas listed and then three Enduring Ideas for each Big Idea (Table 2 3). I discovered that the NGSSS are comparable to both the visual literacy competencies and new media literacy 21 st century skills An example of this is in the statement, The 21 st century skills necessary for success as citizens, workers, and leaders in a global economy are embedded in the study of the arts last statement appears to be a significant element in my argument for curricular change within my district.


29 Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Visual Arts (VA) Retrieved from: Next Generation Sunsh ine State Standards for VA Big Ideas for 5 th Grade Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for VA Enduring Understandings for 5 th Grade Critical Thinking Cognition and reflection are required to appreciate, interpret, and create with artistic intent. A critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making skills, is central to artistic growth. The processes of critiquing works of art lead to development of critical thinking skills transferable to othe r contexts. Skills, Techniques, and Processes The arts are inherently experiential and actively engage learners in the processes of creating, interpreting, and responding to art. Development of skills, techniques, and processes in the arts strengthens o ur ability to remember, focus on, process, and sequence information Through purposeful practice, artists learn to manage, master, and refine simple, then complex, skills and techniques Organizational Structure Understanding the organizational structure of an art form provides a foundation for appreciation of artistic works and respect for the creative process. The structural rules and conventions of an art form serve as both a foundation and departure point for creativity. Every art form uses its own unique language, verbal and non verbal, to document and communicate with the world. Historical and Global Connections Through study in the arts, we learn about and honor others and the worlds in which they live. The arts reflect and document cultural t rends and historical events, and help explain how new directions in the arts have emerged. Connections among the arts and other disciplines strengthen learning and the ability to transfer knowledge and skills to and from other fields. Innovation, Techno logy, and the Future Creating, interpreting, and responding in the arts stimulate the imagination and encourage innovation and creative risk taking. Careers in and related to the arts significantly and positively impact local and global economies. The 21 st century skills necessary for success as citizens, workers, and leaders in a global economy are embedded in the study of the arts. Table 2 3 I took a closer look at Pol that specifies the vocabulary skills students are required to master (Tabl e 2 4) The school year is broken


30 up into four learni ng segments, which we call nine week periods. In t he 1 st nine weeks, students are required to master Line, Shape, an d Color. I collected each nine criteria and compiled them into a table so tha t it would be easier to read. The essential questions directly coincide with the vocabulary concept. Polk County Art Curriculum Guide Nine Week Grading Period Concept Essential Question 1 st nine weeks Line How do I create interest by using a variety of lines in my artwork? Shape/Form How do I use shape/form to create interest in my artwork Color How do I create color schemes? 2 nd nine weeks Pattern How do I create visual intere st with patterns? Texture How do I use texture to create visual interest in artwork? 3 rd nine weeks Balance How do I create balance in my artwork? Emphasis How do I create emphasis in my artwork? Unity How do I create unity in my artwork? 4 th nine weeks Space How do I create depth within my artwork? Contrast How do I use contrast to create visual interest in my artwork? http://www.polk Tabl e 2 4 I then cross referenced the data from the previous tables to see any correlations. For Table 2 5, I highlighted the skills into separate components. T he yellow highlighted segments relate to skills and vocabulary which could include the elements a nd principles of art. I highlighted the items relating to critical thinking green and the items relating to history and culture red. The blue highlights represent innovation and technology, such as new media technology. I also noted that several skills were shared and highlighted them with the multiple colors accordingly. The compelling detail that


31 stood out in this table is the fact that the Polk County curriculum guide only consists of the skills and organizational structure components. This is not t o say that teachers are not including history, culture, or innovation within the curriculum, but there is certainly no notable documentation of such with the current state focused on testing for knowledge gains. Table 2 5 11 Visual Literacy Competencies (2009) 21s t Century Skills, Henry Jenkins (2011) Next Generation Sunshine State Standards Big Ideas (2010) Polk County Schools Curriculum Guidelines (N.D.) Knowledge of visual vocabulary Pl ay Critical Thinking 1st nine weeks Line Shape/Form Color Knowledge of visual conventions Perf ormance Skills, Techniques, and Processes 2nd nine weeks Pattern Texture Visual Thinking Simula tion Organizational Structure 3rd nine weeks Balance Emphasis Unity Visuali zation Appropriation Historical and Global Connect ions 4th nine weeks Space Contrast (Verbo ) Visual Reasoning Multita sking Innovation, Technology, and the Future Critical viewing Distributed Cognition Visual Discrimination Collective Intelligence Visual Reconstruction Judg ment (Sensitivity to ) Visual Association Transmedia Navigation (Sensitivity to) Verbo Visual Assoc iation Networking Reconstructing Meaning Negotiation Constructing Meaning Visuali zation


32 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS My finding s showed that while it was clear that multimodal literacy is an integral part of the 21 st century and essential to a emphasized at all in my county art curriculum. Now I had a decision to make: How d o I present this information to my district ? I have established what I think could be essential components (Table 2.5) of the multimodal art classroo m For establishing the principles, I referred back to and expanded upon the widely used DBAE model and its four co mponents, art making, art criticism, art history and culture, and aesthetics. At this time, our district objectives do not list these components but rather it is implied that we teach them My goal is that these components will help guide us in the dire ction of embracing a multimodal art curriculum, worthy of the 21 st century student body. Looking closer at the first component, art making incorporates new media ( digital technology) in addition to traditional media (paint, pencil) Additionally, I have included play and performance in this section, such as the use of interactive centers where students use materials freely or act out ideas with one another (create a play based on a work of art). The c riticism component includes looking at a vast arr ay of images, incorporating visu al culture into the classroom. Often fine art images make their way into commercial art and vice versa, such as the Monet inspired Target gift cards and so all forms of art and media should be discussed Within the art his tory component, students will understand how art is deeply imbedded in global cultures and shares the


33 stories of the people within individual communities. Students will access new technology along with the tools like conventional books and posters when le arning the history of art, such as interactive online art museums and researching using bookmarking tools such as Delicious. The a esthetic component allows for students to form judgments for themselves what is successful, branching out to include the abil ity to determine not just what is a work of art, but what makes a successful communicative message. Looking closer at the criticism component, I added the recommendation to introduce new terminology that relates to 21 st century artwork and skills such as juxtaposition, recontextualization, and collage. Although I placed vocabulary in the art c riticism section it can be utilized in all four categories. Furthermore, I chose to add juxtaposition, recontextualization, and collage within the table, but ther e are other contemporary art terms that should be addressed in the art classroom such as appropriation, interaction of text & image, and hybridity (Gude, 2004, p. 9 10). Discipline Based Art Education for the 21 st Century Art Making Students will use new m edia such as digital devices (cameras and videos), photo and movie editing software in addition to traditional media (charcoal, paint, clay). Students will also participate in nontraditional forms of art making through interactive activities such as play and performance. Criticism Students will carefully look at, analyze, and respond to a broad range of visuals including illustrations, advertisements, journalism, and fine. Students will utilize both traditional art vocabulary (the elements and princip les of visual art) and 21 st terminology such as juxtaposition, recontextualization, and collage. Art History Students will explore art forms and visuals throughout the history of art and visual culture, learning to appreciate and respect global cultures. Students will utilize a network of traditional tools (posters and books) as well as Internet based tools (Online museums, Pinterest, Delicious, etc.). Aesthetics Students will be able to make judgments of many forms of artwork, determine for themselves t he effectiveness of various visual images, and engage in debates about what makes artworks, visuals, and multimedia messages successful. Table 2 6


34 Video Development The next problem I faced is how to best urge my colleagues to rethink the art cu rriculum as it stan ds now. I started with a Power Point p resentation, which quickly progressed to a video. If I was going to talk about utilizing new media, then it was important that I was also engaged in the act myself. For the video, I used the progra Movie Maker a program that could be downloaded for free on my PC. I made a point of using fre e software because it would be more accessible for other teachers in the future rather than using costly programs. I strayed slightly with my id ea of using free software when I edited some of the images, opting for software that I already had on my computer, Adobe Photoshop. I had to find a balance between text and images, so not to overwhelm and lose my audience in too many words Eventually, t he video transformed somewhat into a confessional, a diary entry that allowed me to reflect on my own education practices and represents the struggle that has plagued me since the start of my graduate studies. The objective of this video was personal, to acknowledge my own need for growth and change as an ar t teacher. The video will be shared with my colleagues with the hopes that they will take a moment and reflect as well, and recognize their own art education goals and whether they need to reevaluate them as well The final video can be found on Vimeo, following the link provided Supplements In addition to the video, I created a series of PDF handouts for my colleagues to view. As an educator, I thought about what resources I would want to have if I was


35 considering the integration of multimodal literacy in my curri culum. Therefore, I decided that in addition to a video, I would need to develop a PDF handout that outlines the information that I have compiled (Appendix B ). Eventually, this handout progressed into a proposal for professional development. The first p age is a cover letter addressed to the Visual Arts District Coordinator for Polk County, outlining the purpose of the preceding documents The second page brings attention to the research findings, explaining how our District goals compare to visual and n ew media literacy as well as Florida visual arts standards. The third page shares the objectives for multimodal literacy that I developed for the art classroom and some suggestions for activity starters Next I created a two page handout with links to a variety of online tools that will make implementing new media in the art classroom easier. I included links to social media sites, video and photo sharing, and to other art teacher websites just to name a few. The final document provides educators with s ome suggestions for how to proceed with multimodal literacy in the art curriculum, including the development of a committee of art educators to asses and modi fy the current art objectives. The goal of this packet is for it to be used as a tool by teachers collaboratively, for creating changes in how we develop the future of our visual arts program.


36 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION T he purpose of this research was not to point fingers and identify weaknesses in art education within my school district. Teachers and administrators in the Polk County art department work tirelessly to provide students with the best art education possible while advocating the benefits of art in the schools. However, s elf preservation has led us to use testing standards as v irtually our only means of documenting student achievement in visual arts. If art education is going to be seen as part of the core curriculum, then it must address core issues. We must represent all of what art education encompasses, not just part of it Personal Multimodal Literacy Skills In addition to realizing the need to increase multimodal literacy skills, I recognized that I needed to hone in on my own I took the objectives that I created in the proposal packet and used them to eval uate my own skills. The first object ive requires that I utilize a variety of devices to con struct and complete my capstone project. At first, I thought I was reachin g this objective by using photo editing software, playing with the images I created. But, I realized that I needed to reconsider the message itself I was stuck reverting back to the familiar, rather than explore other options such as video technology and the messages of multimodal literacy and personal educational practices were being lost as a result I began looking to others for help via social media, and researched videos that fellow art education students created as references which put me back on track. The next


3 7 objective states students will use a variety of visual vocabulary and cognitive processes in order to critique and form aesthetic judgments about a variety of art and visual images, including their own wor k I utilized the vocabulary pertaining to visual and new media literacy, since they were the two key subjects I was researching. Often though, I xpressing key ideas, and fell to the trapping of limiting myself to only what was in the text For my classroom I need to make sure that I remind students that vocabulary is important, but that they can explore and create their own meanings as well. The art and images throughout history to learn, understand, and make connections within refers to the art history and culture components which I was able to make connections t o what I was researching and how it related to my students The last object ive states s tudents will be able to access and use effectively the skills necessary to interact and communicate through art, use new communication technology, and take risks in th e creative process in order to participate in the 21 st century Consequentially, I realized that by taking risks, I was able to see what I was capable of creating and the same goes for my students and fellow educators. I believed that I was multimodally literate, but found that I too have room to grow with the construction messages through art and media. Future Direction for My Colleagues I believe that my coworkers have the heart and the drive to make art education the best it can be I know this beca use of the number of professional development opportunities we partake in, the countless art shows and the many communications we have through email.


38 In terms of a comprehensive art curriculum that embraces multimodal literac y, I Presenting my research to the district art coordinator, then to my colleagues, would be the first step s followed by the development of more networking opportu nities. C reating a page for Polk County art teachers on Facebook and/or Art Education 2.0 can link us to one another and to other like minded educators. T he potential power of collaboration would be at our finger tips For example, a s I was working on my video for this project I was able to interact with a classmate via Facebook, receiving valuable feedback that ultimately helped me in the production. If a private group was created, teachers in our district could communicate with one another, sharing le sson ideas, provide links to interesting and useful sites on the Internet and ask /answer questions in a format that allows multiple users and sharing capabilities far more easily. Also, I envision professional development workshops that teach art educato rs how to use new media in the classroom; it is my belief that by educating others about new media, the fear of using it might be diminished. media is that if they are more familiar and comfortable with these technologies, then they will use them in the classroom. Ultimately, the students will be better equipped to navigate the visually and technology propelled world. Additionally, we as a district need to create an art curriculum that addresses a nd emphasizes more than just vocabulary mastery. We need to highlight how art education allows students to communicate ideas, navigate culture, and understand the history of our world. We need recognize and stress how art plays a valuable role in the


39 dev elopment of students who are capable of participating in 21 st century global community. Future Direction for Myself First things first, I have to admit that I need improvement, which I do. I need to embrace my insecurities with new media technology, lea rn to play more, and not shy away from making mistakes. This project is the culmination of two years of intensive research and study in the field of art education, and in my own beliefs and practices. I have a collected a wealth of knowledge that I want to share with my peers and with my students. My new objectives for my own work include: Ut i lizing the three computers I have in my classroom to create a media hub where students are using multimodal literacy skills to resear ch and create art. Moreover, I will reevaluate my lessons to ensure that they multimodal literacy skills, which include visual culture and new media. I need to work with my colleagues to ensure that art education remains relevant in this visual and participatory cul ture. It is imperative that I become more vocal in my communication with students, administrators, and parents about the applied benefits of art education (ones that go beyond vocabulary development) in order to build a community of student artists who em brace big ideas and new media, and understand and exploit the power of their individual and collective voices.


40 APPENDIX A Essential Criteria for 5 th Grade Elementary Art Students This document lists the skills to be mastered by students enrolled in visual arts programs when they exit 5 th grade. It has been designed to help teachers and administrators assess the specific skills that should be taught during the school year, thus creating uniformity in the visual arts skills taught throughout Polk County. % Entry Level Achievement (August/Sept.) Students completing an elementary school art program will be expected to demonstrate the following skills with a minimum of 80% mastery. Teachers will record the percentage of students meeting mastery at the beginni ng and end of the 5 th grade year. % at Exit Level Achievement (May) 1. Identify primary colors (question # 1) 2. Identify secondary colors (question # 2) 3. Ide ntify warm colors (question # 3) 4. Identify cool colors (questions # 4 5. Identify geometric shapes (question # 5) 6. Identify free form shapes (question # 6) 7. Identify parallel, horizontal, and vertical lines (question # 7) 8. Identify diagonal and angled lines (question #8) 9. Identify texture (question # 9) 10. Identify values (question # 10) 11. Identify asymmetrical and symmetrical balance (question # 11) 12. Identify pattern (question # 12) 13. Identify positive and negative (question # 13) 14. Identify emphasis (question # 14) 15.Recognize art as a career choice (question # 15) # of students tested: # of students tested: Checklist Exhibitions: 80% of the students will exhibit one piece of artwork during the year. Portfolio: Contains demonstrations of skills an d techniques in the following: 1. Landscape 2. Portrait 3. Still Life 4. Drawing from Observation 5. Evaluation __________________________________________ ________________ Teacher Signature Date __________________________________________ ________________ Principal Signature Date School Name_____________________________________________________________ Essential Criteria 07/08


41 APPENDIX B Proposal for Professional Development Handouts












47 REFERENCES Arnheim, R. (1974). Art and visual perception: a psychology of the creative eye Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Ausburn, L. and Ausburn, F. (1978). Visual literacy: background, theory and practice. Programmed Learning & Educational Technology 15(4), p. 291 297. Avgerinou, M. (200 9). Re TechTrends 53(2), p. 28 34. Avgerinou, M. (N.D.) International Visual Literacy Association Retrieved from ht tp:// Carpenter II, B. & Cifuentes, L. (2011). Visual culture and literacy online: image galleries as sites of learning. Art Education 64(4), p. 33 40. Chauvin, B.A. (2003). Visual or media literacy? Journal of Visua l Literacy, 23(2), p. 119 128. Literacy Today. Retrieved from /medlitpub/medlitpubrss/ukchildrensml/u kchildrensml1.pdf Gardner, Howard. (2008). The 25 th Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Retrieved from Gude, O. (2004). Postmodern principles: In search of a 21 st century art education. Art Education 57(1), p. 6 14. Gude, O. (2010). Playing, creativity, possibility. Art Edu cation, 63(2), p. 31 37. Hassett, D. & Curwood, J. (2009). Theories and practices of multimodal education: the instructional dynamics of picture books and primary classrooms. The Reading Teacher 63 (4), p. 270 282. Heise, D. (2004). Is visual culture be coming our canon of art? Art Education, 57 (5), p. 41 46. Jenkins, H. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Jenkins, H. (2011). Project New Media Literacies Retrieved from http://www.newmed Kress, G. and Jewitt, C. (2008). Introduction. Jewitt, C. and Kress, G. (Eds.), Multimodal literacy (pp. 1 18). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.


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49 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jennifer Marie Bishop is an art educator and artist who currently resides in Lakeland, FL. Mrs. Bishop was born in Lakeland in 1982 and has lived in central summer her grandparents would pick her and her twin brother up from school the last day and travel a region of the United States, learning about the history and culture of each place, opting for national and state parks rather than typical amusement parks packed wit h tourist trappings. In high school, Mrs. Bishop had the opportunity to attend a European trip with her chorus group. The group spent 10 days traveling through Western Europe, with stops in London, Paris, and Heidelberg. In between performances, the group would visit castles, historic landmarks, and the highlight was of course, a trip to the famed Louvre in Paris. After high school, Mrs. Bishop enrolled in college at Florida Southern College, and pursued two degrees, Art Education and Studio Art, gr aduating in the spring of 2006. Immediately following graduation, Bishop was hired as an art teacher in a local elementary school. 5 years later, Bishop decided to reenroll in school, applying for her Florida. In the meantime, Mrs. Bishop was awarded the prestigious honor of being named Teacher of the Year by her colleagues for their school, Dr. N. E. Roberts Elementary.