At CAA in NYC a few weeks back, I attended a panel sponsored by the Visual Resources Association entitled "Practical Tips for the Classroom Instructor: Get What You Want from Digital Tools." It was a wonderful panel. The presentations were provocative and full of useful information, but what was perhaps most interesting was the reaction from the audience in attendance. It was glaringly obvious from the question and answer session how unprepared teachers seem for the digital revolution. There was a string of discussion-stopping questions like, "so if I want to digitize my slides where do I begin?"
Christine Sundt, a visual resource consultant on the panel, seemed to be speaking directly to this disconnect between those who are deep in the water and those still left standing on the shore when she said, "teachers should consider leaving the acquiring and manipulating of digital images to professionals." This is a striking comment. Does it represnt a new elitism or rather it is an honest appeal to the need to establish a standard of quality in digital images?
Of course, the question hangs like fire, where will the images come from? Are we to return to the publishing companies who are of late offering high quality images with new textbooks or pushed to licensing deals with the likes of Saskia?
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
All this digital technology also enables us to teach/reach our students outside the classroom. They can watch an enhanced podcast on their iPods, or get daily emails with art history news. And these art history learners might not even be our own students. Christopher Witcombe, who has mainted the Art History Resources on the Web site for years, has begun a series of "Art History in Just a Minute" video podcasts. The Last Supper episode has been downloaded more that 20,000 since December 2006, and the Mona Lisa episode was viewed 300 times in the first 30 minutes it was available. How far can we reach?