Cal Performances and the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive are recognized internationally for their leadership in the presentation of the visual and performing arts. Both organizations also feature major education and community programs dedicated to serving the community and developing enthusiastic, informed audiences for the future. Much of this activity involves working with schools: inviting students to Zellerbach Hall for special performances by international artists and to the Museum for guided learning about exhibitions; developing interdisciplinary curricula; and bringing world-famous artists into the classroom. Given our missions and our natural inclination toward experimentation, technology presents new and remarkable opportunities for learning about the arts.
In addition to developing an arts curriculum with the Department of Art History, Cal Performances and the Berkeley Art Museum will investigate best practices in the field of technology and the arts, and work with teachers to understand its meaningful application in the classroom.
We are particularly interested in the relationship between distance and on-site learning. Although there is no substitute for the vivid experience of a first-time encounter with a Jackson Pollack painting in person, or a live performance of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company in a theater, what are the interactive possibilities for responding to a performance, understanding the process of creating a work of art, working with educational materials on-line, or comparing the live arts experience with one that is technologically enhanced or interpreted? These are some of the questions we will explore with teachers.
A limited number of teacher focus groups will be convened in order to share our process and findings; understand adaptive possibilities for a variety of classrooms; understand the technological and staff resources within the schools to implement future projects; and inform our research and practices regarding content and how it best serves students' learning about the performing and visual arts.
Past experience predicts that students (and teachers!) will not only acquire a deeper understanding of the arts, but apply a new repertoire of skills to other learning situations.
Goal of our findings: To create a report of promising practices: