Production – Not Reproduction

While wandering around the Art Institute of Chicago this last weekend, I ran into a quote by an artist that spoke to me as an educator.  The artist was alive in the early 1900’s but spoke about the use of technology as a tool of production, and not just as a way to reproduce what others have done.  The artist was Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and what they wrote can be applied to educators just as well as it was intended for artists.

There are two big aspects to this that are important.  The first is the fact that we should be looking at our tools as tools of creation and not just consumption.  Too often people will use technology to only consume what others have done, as this is the easiest thing to do but it does not always lead to new and deep learning.  It is when we create using what we have learned that we truly learn it as we have to cognitively grapple with the understanding in order to truly create something.  We should not just use technology to have our students consume what others have written or created, but we should use it to have them write and create their own.

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Moholy also writes of collaboration as a way to learn.  We have so many ways to help our students become global collaborators that we are no longer confined by the walls of our classroom.  We can connect our students with other students from around the world or even with experts and professionals to help engage them in deeper learning experiences.

Moholy seemed to be against going along with traditional ways and roles of an artist, just like we need to be against the traditional ways and roles of teachers and students.  We are living in a digital age where we can move away from the teacher as the content expert and the main deliverer of information to students.  We can better be used as facilitators of learning and helping our students get to a deeper level of learning through applying their learning instead of just regurgitation onto a worksheet or test.

Who knew a walk through a museum of art would relate so well to the work that we are doing as educators.  Inspiration is all around us if we are observant enough and cognitive of it.

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