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  • Wednesday, 14 April 2010

    Let the field research begin!

    Way back when I studied at Michaelis, some wag named the Theory of Art course the Dreary of Art. This witticism encapsulated how the boredom of attending art theory lectures contrasts to the excitement of making art. Like a student who prefers his studio to the lecture theatre, I am pleased to shortly begin my PhD research fieldwork. Hopefully, this fieldwork increases our currently very limited understanding of the adoption of online portfolio social networks by visual art and design educators in high schools :). I am working with grade 10 learners at a well-resourced, private school, from Monday. They will be learning how to digitise their art, write creative CVs and create online portfolios using Carbonmade. All in 7 lessons! 


    If this new curriculum is a success, new modules will be launched for the learners when they reach grades 11 and 12: Next year, they will be encouraged to choose appropriate online portfolio social networks (OPSN) that suit their creative interests. For example, a learner interested in photography might choose Flickr, while another focussed on illustration, behance.  With sound justification, multiple portfolios could be chosen, too!


    In grade 12, learners will prepare an online portfolio that's focussed on out-of-school-opportunities; ranging from admission to architectural and fine art at the University of Cape Town to informatics and design at CPUT through to entering online competitions, like Springleap's t-shirt designs. Like the grade 11 module, learners will be encouraged to motivate their choices and experiment with what works best for their creative strengths.


    I hope that this year's grade 10 project is a success: selfishly, because I do not wish to spend the next two years writing a dreary thesis on the module's failure! Unselfishly, because a successful example of an online portfolios' use at high school has the potential to assist visual arts and design educators with addressing the participatory and relevance gaps in South Africa's educational system. Now, that's a topic well deserving it's own blog post... 

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