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  1. Raffaella Borasi
  2. https://www.warner.rochester.edu/facultystaff/who/borasi
  3. Professor of Education and Director of the Center for Learning in the Digital Age
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Rochester
  1. Zenon Borys
  2. https://www.warner.rochester.edu/facultystaff/who/borys
  3. Assistant Director of the Center for Learning in the Digital Age
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Warner School of Education Univ of Rochester, University of Rochester
  1. Benjamin Guerrero
  2. http://www.benguerrero.com
  3. Doctoral Student
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Rochester
  1. Blaire Koerner
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-blaire-k-s-koerner-b7456943/
  3. Assistant Director
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Eastman School of Music

FW-HTF-P: Exploring creative design at the human-technology frontier through ...

NSF Awards: 2026439

2022 (see original presentation & discussion)

Informal, All Age Groups

In today’s society, technology skills are becoming a necessary form of literacy in almost any field.  In the arts, as documented by our Future of Work project (FW-HTF-P: Exploring creative design at the human-technology frontier through the emerging “artist-technologist” occupation), technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and virtual/augmented/mixed reality (XR) are allowing for art products that could not even be imagined a few decades ago. AI and XR are also enabling artists to be increasingly self-sufficient in completing professional-quality art products, thus lowering barriers to entry for aspiring artists from under-privileged backgrounds.  Increasing young people’s awareness of these connections between technology and art could increase their motivation to acquire valuable technology skills, especially for youth with artistic interests who have not been successful in traditional school math and science.  Yet we also need to design different kinds of learning experiences to fully capitalize on this potential.

In the video, we first show some inspirational works of individuals working at the intersection of art and technology we studied in our project, to illustrate what is possible when AI/XR and art are combined. We then share insights gained from interviews with these “artist-technologists” about the technology knowledge, skills and mindsets they found most important for their work, and how these competencies can be best acquired – also drawing some implications for K-12 STEM educators. More information about the featured examples can be found in this document; also see our website for additional findings and lessons learned.

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Discussion from the 2022 STEM For All Video Showcase (21 posts)
  • Icon for: Zenon Borys

    Zenon Borys

    Co-Presenter
    Assistant Director of the Center for Learning in the Digital Age
    May 9, 2022 | 09:43 p.m.

    Thanks for visiting our project! And, we hope the video got you thinking about the intersection of arts and technology. We feel the notion that the arts can motivate learning in the STEM disciplines is compelling. We'd love to discuss any facet of the project you are curious about but are particularly interested in the following:

    • What skills, mindsets, and dispositions do artists bring to technology-use that enhance technical know-how?
    • What skills, mindsets, and dispositions do technology users bring to the arts and the creative process?
    • What experiences could be had in school that capitalize on the potential of the arts-technology intersection?
    • What other curricular implications might this intersection have?
  • Icon for: Lorna Quandt

    Lorna Quandt

    Facilitator
    Asst. Professor, Educational Neuroscience
    May 10, 2022 | 08:34 a.m.

    Hi team. This video bring out some really interesting points--for instance, I find it really compelling to think that technology + art may draw students into STEM who may otherwise not be inclined towards those fields. That convergence seems more important than ever in today's world, where even many traditional artists (painters, drawers) who I know must become proficient with digital art to keep pace with the field. I would be interested to know more about the specific activities you are undertaking as part of this project. Are you working with adults or students (what age?)? And are you conducting exploratory work with them or do you have a training program of some sort in place? 

    Lovely to see this convergence between art and emerging technology! I am excited to see what is possible at the intersection of VR/AR and artistry. 

     
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    Lorna Quandt
  • Icon for: Blaire Koerner

    Blaire Koerner

    Co-Presenter
    Assistant Director
    May 11, 2022 | 08:11 a.m.

    Hello Lorna,

    Thank you for your thoughtful response and questions. This initial research focused more on collecting insights, data, and input from current Artist-Technologists in the field today - from college students to adults. We wanted to discuss the current field today, how they received their training, and what gaps they see between education and the workplace. All of this was part of an initial planning grant. The next grant will consist of developing educational training programs, which we are very excited to implement! 

     
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    Lorna Quandt
  • Icon for: Brooke Coley

    Brooke Coley

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 10, 2022 | 11:15 a.m.

    Hi, This is such an interesting study. It is appealing that through the combination of art and technology young students can be attracted to STEM discipline. I am interested to know: where did this study take place? The video mentioned interviewing about 40 artists to explore their understanding of technology while doing art. How did the findings from those interviews help you to incorporate activities for the students to promote the integration of art and technology? What kind of activities did you plan for the student group that you studied? Also, for the student group- was it an after-school program? Thanks in advance!

  • Icon for: Zenon Borys

    Zenon Borys

    Co-Presenter
    Assistant Director of the Center for Learning in the Digital Age
    May 10, 2022 | 10:29 p.m.

    Thanks for the question, Brooke.  And you are catching us at a perfect in-between point.  The 40 we interviewed were from a planning grant project.  Now we are trying to take the lessons learned from that (and inspiration from the video) and turn them into the activities you mention - so we are still thinking through details.  A big theme we are incorporating though revolves around students gaining access to some of the high tech tools at an earlier age.  For example, since we are focused primarily on music production, developing experiences that allow students to make music with tools supported by machine learning.  By minimizing some of the technical details they would need to create music, see where they take.  Even though the details aren't fully developed yet, the idea stems from a tension we saw in our data, depth in technology fluency versus "enough" to do what you want.  Some artists described that they continually sought to learn more and go deeper with their technology medium and that allowed them to create more/new things.  Others described themselves not as experts, but willing to learn just enough to bring their vision to fruition.  It's in that space we will design the experiences for students.  Thanks for the questions!

  • Icon for: Brian Drayton

    Brian Drayton

    Researcher
    May 10, 2022 | 12:47 p.m.

    Interesting project!  One thing I've often wondered about with respect to digital tools and the arts (having been around working artists all my life):  In painting, or sculpture, or music, or even writing, there are things about the physical medium that limit what the artist can do, and thus contribute to the form of the process.  How does that work in a digital medium?  If an artist starts with a traditional medium and then incorporates digital tools, how do constraints change, and therefore how does the process of creation change?

     

     
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    Blaire Koerner
  • Icon for: Ann Bebout

    Ann Bebout

    Informal Educator
    May 10, 2022 | 05:19 p.m.

    The arts teachers in our PD program (https://stemforall2022.videohall.com/presentations/2446) were excited to modify their existing lessons to include the technology we made available to them.  I'm sure the material constraints are different, but I suspect the K-12 art teachers would say that the content of many of their arts-standards-based lessons were pretty unchanged.  For example, what they wanted their students to know and do with respect to sculpture was accomplished with 3D modeling in tinkercad.com and 3D printing; the students painted with Apple pencils and the Procreate app on iPads; a music lesson in which students were supposed to invent a notation system (that would allow someone to easily play a song) was done with Makey Makey physical-digital instruments they made with cans, pie pans, silverware, paper clips, play-doh (anything conductive).  Our project goal was to make the teachers more comfortable with technology so they, in turn, could help ALL students feel confident with coding, circuitry, fabrication technology.  The ones who really dove in and implemented technology-based lessons do not think it caused the artistry to take a back seat.  And as this project points out so well, tech is also making it possible for contemporary artists and students to do things they couldn't do before, like kinetic, interactive sculptures.

     
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    Blaire Koerner
  • Icon for: Zenon Borys

    Zenon Borys

    Co-Presenter
    Assistant Director of the Center for Learning in the Digital Age
    May 11, 2022 | 12:16 a.m.

    Thanks for the initial question and response.  The examples Ann provided are fantastic.  Our team also had many rich discussions about the creative process and how technology might influence it.  Two thoughts I took from the interviews we conducted are that most of the artist technologists enjoyed creating, regardless of medium.  As long as they found their passion and saw value/fulfillment in what they were making, the digital-analog distinctions didn't matter.  The other, and this is more my conjecturing based on how I heard the artist unpack their challenges, is that the challenges became opportunities for expression.  Finding ways to work around and through the limitations pushed their creativity in ways that were new to them and pushed them to express themselves in new ways.  

  • Icon for: Dan Roy

    Dan Roy

    Facilitator
    Research Scientist, Interest-based Learning Mentor, Learning Game Designer
    May 11, 2022 | 10:17 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing this project. I'm always interested in how people discover new interests, and this seems like a compelling way. I wonder how you're thinking about learner choice. Are you thinking to have set workshops or projects for specific tools? More open-ended time to let people tinker on their own? More mentorship, either in-house or identifying a practicing artist out in the wild? Peer learning? All of the above? 

    Another way of thinking about it is what kind of community are you imagining? Is it definitely in a school, or possibly a community makerspace, library, or studio? Who could participate? There are lots of possibilities!

     
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    Blaire Koerner
  • Icon for: Raffaella Borasi

    Raffaella Borasi

    Lead Presenter
    Professor of Education and Director of the Center for Learning in the Digital Age
    May 15, 2022 | 02:52 a.m.

    Very interesting questions, Dan. As we thought about how to best support artists to learn about technology as part of the "full" proposal we recently submitted to NSF "Future of Work at the Human-Technology Frontier", we grappled with similar questions.  What we think is needed is a program that includes complementary components to address the diverse needs we identified in our interviews. 

    Among the key "types of learning experiences" we are suggesting are: (a) awareness sessions/ presentations that show "what is possible" when technology is integrated with art (along the lines of the examples we included in the video, but going in depth about what it took to create those products and what an artist would need to know about technology to be able to do something similar) - as motivation and inspiration; (b) "scaffolded" opportunities to learn a specific technology of one's choice on one's own (the challenge here is to provide enough resources and structure for this to happen, tailored to the individual) - also as a way to develop confidence and strategies to learn other technologies even more independently in the future; and (c) experiences of crating art using technology (to allow for "tinkering"), best if part of a team (to provide opportunities for exchange of ideas, peer learning and reflection).  These are still hypotheses at this point, but what we learned from the experience of successful artist-technologists makes us believe that these types of non-traditional learning activities have great potential.      

     
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    Dan Roy
  • Icon for: Dorothy Bennett

    Dorothy Bennett

    Director of Creative Pedagogy
    May 11, 2022 | 10:41 a.m.

    Always interested in the intersections between art and technology as a means for inviting more people into STEM.  My experience in working with artists is that they usually see a deeper and sometimes unusual application of technology than technologists do.   Wondering what kinds of strategies or even programs you envision being successful for making these collaborations work? What does it take to speak the same language? How much technical knowledge is enough on the part of artists?   

     
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    Blaire Koerner
  • Icon for: Ann Bebout

    Ann Bebout

    Informal Educator
    May 14, 2022 | 09:30 p.m.

    The artists I've met who use tech would probably call themselves "tinkerers" and would probably feel at home in the Maker movement.  For example, in our PD program, we have an artist coming to train K-12 art teachers to program strips of LEDs with Arduinos to make light art.  This artist emphasizes that it's best to just dive in – borrow someone's code and tinker with it until it does what you want, and learn as you go.  She never studied computer science; you might call her a "just in time" learner.  The bravest art teachers who were comfortable learning alongside the students were our most enthusiastic implementers of tech in art class.

  • Icon for: Blaire Koerner

    Blaire Koerner

    Co-Presenter
    Assistant Director
    May 11, 2022 | 10:53 a.m.

    You've hit the nail right on the head! Some of the big takeaways from our conversations with current artists is:

    1. Sometimes it's best/easiest/more appropriate to work in a team environment. Each individual can bring their own expertise to the project and help propel it further.
    2. When in these collaborative spaces, language is KEY. The way that artists talk, the words that they use, etc. is different than how trained technologists talk. Even the mindset of how to approach work can be very different. This is both a benefit and a challenge. 

    As we pursue the next steps, we are hoping to pursue education activities and trainings to offer skill development to artist-technologist. Part of that skill building is communication, so they are better prepared for team efforts.

  • Icon for: Patti Parson

    Patti Parson

    Managing Producer, Meaningful Math Co-PI
    May 11, 2022 | 11:34 p.m.

    Hi. I love all the examples, many of which I had never heard of before. NFTs would be another area of art/tech intersection these days! I look forward to your next step, bringing this project to students.

     

     
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    Blaire Koerner
  • Icon for: Marcelo Worsley

    Marcelo Worsley

    Facilitator
    Assistant Professor
    May 12, 2022 | 07:18 a.m.

    Loved learning about this work that bridges arts and technology. Sometimes it seems like exciting applications come about when people re-appropriate technologies in ways that the original designers did not intend for. My hypothesis is that artists might be more inclined to engage in these acts of re-appropriation than more traditional technologists. Are they ways that non-traditional uses of technology are coming up in your interviews? Are there any lessons learned about how to encourage more of the non-traditional use, towards the end goal of fostering increased creativity, and more opportunities for personal expression?

     
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    Blaire Koerner
  • Icon for: Blaire Koerner

    Blaire Koerner

    Co-Presenter
    Assistant Director
    May 13, 2022 | 09:01 a.m.

    Hello Marcelo! I love your hypothesis. One thing that we discovered when talking to artists that learn technology, or technologist that love art is that the way they think, assess, and perceive the world is very different. When an artist looks at a piece of technology or starts utilizing it, their approach is very different than the person who might have created it. Regarding non-traditional uses of this technology, I think this appeared quite frequently. In particular, if an artist wants to accomplish X and a tool doesn't exist yet that does exactly that, they explore how far to push existing tools or, better yet, start thinking about creating a new tool that would help them with X. Hence, many artists become artists-technologist to solve problems! 

  • Icon for: Eric Lech

    Eric Lech

    K-12 Administrator
    May 12, 2022 | 01:26 p.m.

    As I was learning about your study and reflecting upon the connection to our project (https://stemforall2022.videohall.com/presentations/2446?panel=mc#posts_42810), it made me think about the experiences you described and how important those were in encouraging the art teachers within our project group to embrace this intersection.  Providing opportunities for mentoring, communication, and collaboration allowed for greater creative expression and less trepidation with the technology tools or resources.  While we have been working on measuring increased confidence with STEAM integration, I am now wondering if we have also increased curiosity toward traditionally conceived STEM fields from the art educators in our group.  Thanks for helping to foster additional thinking on this topic.

     
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    Blaire Koerner
  • Icon for: Zenon Borys

    Zenon Borys

    Co-Presenter
    Assistant Director of the Center for Learning in the Digital Age
    May 13, 2022 | 11:17 a.m.

    What a great thought.  Thanks, Eric.  I love the potential that you've been increasing curiosity towards STEM fields, too.  Your point made me think about another detail I'll share, the importance of teams and being able to communicate across disciplines/fields.  Many of our interviews discussed how challenging in the beginning, then rewarding and essential it was to be able to bridge the different ways traditional fields make sense of phenomenon.  Curiosity seems to be a great bridge and connector so I'm looking forward to digging deeper in that intersection.  Thanks for the food for thought.  

  • Icon for: Raffaella Borasi

    Raffaella Borasi

    Lead Presenter
    Professor of Education and Director of the Center for Learning in the Digital Age
    May 15, 2022 | 02:56 a.m.

    If you were interested in the examples we showcased in the video, I think you would really enjoy to learn more about each of them by looking at the videos/websites we included in this companion document.   It is really fascinating - and surprising! - to see what happens when creative people merge technology and art!

  • Icon for: Kristana Textor

    Kristana Textor

    Research Assistant
    May 16, 2022 | 02:33 p.m.

    Hello to the UR team! I have a question for you about best practices in video production. Knowing that you've produced video content for a couple of STEM projects now, I'm curious as to what you've found to be especially helpful in that process. What lessons would you share with people who are just getting started in the Video Showcase? What would you do differently?

  • Icon for: Raffaella Borasi

    Raffaella Borasi

    Lead Presenter
    Professor of Education and Director of the Center for Learning in the Digital Age
    May 17, 2022 | 10:15 a.m.

    Great question, Kristana. We did submit videos in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 - and each time built on what we learned from the previous experiences.  I'd say the key lessons learned were: (1) start with the key message you want to convey (and be very clear and focused about it - less is more!); (2) think of the video as a 3-part "story", each with a clear message/ take-away; (3) write a script and find visuals that support your story/script - making sure it is less than 3 minutes!; (4) choose a consistent format (we preferred voice-over); (4) be careful about matching words on the screen with what you say (but only writing the key words on the screen).  These may be obvious points for film-makers, but they were important learnings for us!

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