An Arts-Based Approach

Session Description
This discussion will highlight arts-based themes that emerge in the creation and delivery of computer related courses. This holistic, arts-based approach will inspire educators to experiment with this concept: to use projects that employ storytelling, drama and art using technology. Examples demonstrate how learners to take part in a constructivist learning environment. By using computer applications and the Internet, learners collaborate to acquire needed skills to express their stories.

Students learn computer software while developing performance skills, working to solve a variety of problems in imaginative ways as success builds confidence. Projects are self-reflecting and a form of personal drama played out on the computer stage. We learn about learners lives in many respects. This approach provides opportunities for artwork as students create their own visual displays. The framing of the work, the layout and design are further forms of self-expression and communication as they create illustrations of their stories.

The instructor guides as projects graduate from simple storytelling activities then translate into more complex presentations and elaborate web page portfolios. These computer-generated forms of communication demonstrate a level of performance and exhibition of skills and expertise to be evaluated by learners and their peers. Evaluation guidelines are generated in discussions about projects criteria. A beneficial aspect of an arts-based approach to the teaching and learning of technology-related courses are the self-affirming aspects. It is gratifying to observe learners demonstrating a definitive gain in self-confidence by the end of the course.

Selia Karsten
Selia Karsten, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, U. of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Dr. Selia Karsten, retired from Seneca College School of Marketing and eBusiness, has been serving as Sessional Lecturer Level II, University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Curriculum Teaching and Learning Department since 2002. Selia’s online course: Holistic Approaches to Information Technology. Her mission: guiding learners (graduate students who are studying, teaching and working in academia around the globe) engaging them in self-actualizing, collaborative and creative processes regarding the use of computer technology and digital literacy. More information about Selia may be found at
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