Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Art at a Distance, Learning from a Master

A great deal of fol-de-rol is made over the way technology has made it possible for students formerly isolated in their school buildings can now reach out to others--topic experts, teachers, museums, distant classrooms full of kids more like them than unlike them--but seldom does the mainstream media join in on that discussion.

Enter public radio, in the guise of Susan Knowles from Nashville's own WPLN. Early one morning just prior to our artclectic, Susan came into our school with a recording team and witnessed New York and Memphis artist Pinkney Herbert interacting with our high school artists, both faculty and student, at a distance.

The resulting story has been featured at the WPLN website for days now, and it occupies its own archival space at the website. Visit for an uplifting and encouraging audio moment.

Our school has participated off and on for years in Interactive Videoconferencing, and you can see some of the ways we've done so at This past year and last, I had become so discouraged by the slow adoption of the technology that I all but stopped promoting it. This instance of IVC was completely teacher motivated and intrinsically integrated into the curriculum, not "delivered," but rather inspired. Maybe that's what it really takes. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to high school art teacher and department chair Liz Mask, (pictured above, right, with student David Stein and journalist Susan Knowles) for the wherewithal it took to execute this collaboration, which I hope is the first of many in our art department. I'm still standing back and staying out of the way, though I am here to help.

My dear departed mom always reminded me that "the best love is held in an open palm." That's my current stance on our school and distance learning. Look out, though, for an announcement about our Tandberg Connections professional development offerings in the winter and spring. That's another story.


Kevin said...

Great story Scott, thanks for sharing it. It is a powerful and inspiring example of a positive use of technology to accomplish something great for kids.

Bettina Tizzy said...

"The best love is held in an open palm... " I'm going to meditate on that. Good stuff, all around.

Prince said...

Nice Post Scott,

Thanks for sharing it with us.
Great Stuff

distance learning