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Issue: 13

Late Spring 2011

Exploring relationships between technology and teaching and learning in art, design and media higher education.

Welcome to our thirteenth and first online issue of Networks, the magazine of the Art Design Media Subject Centre.

Up until now Networks has been a predominantly hard-copy publication distributed free of charge to those who have signed up for it and who work in art, design and media higher education. Approximately 3,000 academic and support staff received hard-copy Networks and readers tell us that the news, features, projects and reviews impact on their teaching practice in positive ways.  We hope that Networks online will reach a broader audience and that, with continued contributions and enthusiasm from the sector, it can be maintained into the future.

Fittingly, for this, our first online issue, we asked contributors to explore relationships between technology and teaching and learning in art, design and media higher education.

The articles submitted tell us that our sectors’ relationships with technology are complex.  ‘Technology’ is explored in a range of ways, as learning context or environment, object of study, tool of creative practice, means of dissemination and networking, and as a teaching, learning and research tool.  ‘Technology’ surfaces a number of tensions in our curricula, teaching and learning; between the creative and critical, information and knowledge, the social and the professional, between amateur and expert, to name a few.  

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the contributions for this issue come from media tutors for whom new technologies, particularly Web 2.0 platforms, are both objects and means of study and learning; the articles, however, present issues pertinent to the broad spectrum of art, design and media disciplines.  

Dan Laughey, (Leeds Metropolitan University) cautions against a technologically deterministic approach to Media Studies and outlines ‘five basic principles’ for a ‘revised, revamped, academically-challenging media studies – if you like, a Media Studies 1.0’.

A further prescription is offered by Tara Brabazon (University of Brighton) who recommends ‘digital dieting’ for ‘information obesity’ and provides some tools to assist students in developing effective research skills.

Jon Hickman (Birmingham City University) presents uses for Twitter in Higher Education; to aid student / institution / industry networking, to keep abreast of industry news and also as an informal research tool.

Opportunities for art, design and media educators, Richard Berger (Bournemouth University) suggests, surface from students’ existing creative engagement with technology.  Students’ prior involvement in the creation and sharing of media artefacts in the form of, for example, fan fiction, provides a platform on which to build further learning.

Julian McDougall and Richard Sanders (Newman University College Birmingham) examine access barriers to learning in virtual world contexts, in this instance, Second Life.

The impacts of new technologies on crafts practitioners and educators and  on the processes of both making and learning, is explored by Patrick Letschka (University of Brighton).  

While positions and views vary, the technological possibilities available to higher education -  the accompanying challenges and opportunities -  demand our critical attention.  We hope that you enjoy these reflections from colleagues in the sector.

Stuart Laing
ADM-HEA Subject Centre Director

ISSN: 1756-9648