NEWS - GloPAC Educators' Workshop, September 17th 2005
The Workshop: Planning a TeenPARC
The workshop was a great success, bringing together a diverse group of educators interested in expanding the use of performing arts in learning situations. While some participants were looking for ways to give better access to and knowledge of performing arts, others were looking for ways to use the performing arts to enhance traditional spheres of learning such as history, social studies, and the language arts. After an initial introduction to GloPAC's projects, the workshop was divided into four working periods: a general discussion of the ways performing arts can be used in educational situations, a look at GloPAD as a resource for students, a discussion of specific types of online tools for teens, and a period of groups sketching out plans for specific activities that would be made possible through a teen-oriented performing arts resource center. Early in the day it became clear that a performing arts site devoted to a teen audience would actually have to be two sites: a site for teachers guiding teens to and through the resources, and a site for use by teens themselves.
Performing arts in the curriculum
In this general discussion we covered several issues around the cojoining of the performing arts, online technology, and teen educational audiences. Perhaps foremost amongst the attractions of online performing arts resources is the increased access to remote groups. This matter of access needs to be thought of as going in both directions: not just making accessible materials to remote audiences, but also the ability to incorporate performances and activities from afar. Another point of general agreement was that, especially with young learners, there is a great desire to not just witness performances, but to see how performances are produced. This desire becomes a stimulus to learning as the performing arts interweave so many activities and materials in production. A performing arts resource center must engage that will to learn how things are produced. Corresponding to that approach, performing arts offer many opportunities for students to be involved in production without just acting. A performing arts resource center also needs to engage those that will "perform" backstage, but not in front of an audience. Lighting, set design, and script writing are some of the activities that should be promoted through focused materials and models.
GloPAD's public interface
During this period workshop participants were asked to use the GloPAD public interface and answer a few questions about how they searched, whether GloPAD was responsive to their searches, and how the interface directed users to proper usage of the materials outside the GloPAD site.
Susan will fill in the details. One problem encountered by all was the slowness of the search and, even more annoying, the lack of any indication of whether the GloPAD search was indeed processing or whether the browser screen was just hung up. Several people asked that we put some sort of "search running" icon or text on the site.
Here we looked at some examples of "tools" on Web sites, trying to focus in on what types of online activities would be most useful for learning about performing arts. While the idea of "appropriate" tools and interfaces for the teen audience was thought to be important, the group agreed that the focus should not be simply making performing arts resources into content for attractive games. Rather, the tools should draw the teens into working with resources and reflecting on the performing arts. Once again, the bifocal split between resources for teachers of teens and the teen audience came up as the important distinction in choosing to develop online tools.
Lesson plans/Activity outlining
The workshop broke into three groups and each proceeded to brainstorm on a set of activities that would fit the needs of their particular learning environment. The groups consisted of teachers, librarians, and performing arts outreach coordinators. Each group came up with a set of activities for a lesson using performing arts materials, with the focus on what resources would be necessary in order to carry out this lesson. These outlines are linked in the "Lesson/activity plans" area (on left bar of this page) as Teacher Group, Librarian Group, and Outreach Group.