Report on SECAC 2012

Report on SECAC Southeastern College Art Conference 2012: “Reflections on Where We Are and Where We Are Going with Technology in the Art History Classroom,” chaired by Marjorie Och, University of Mary Washington.

AHPT sponsored a demonstration-workshop at the annual meeting of the Southeastern College Art Conference in Savannah in November 2011. SCAD hosted the event, and we were particularly grateful to Sandra J. Reed (professor of painting at SCAD) and her colleagues for offering AHPT a classroom at SCAD’s Jen Library that accommodated our session’s need for computer work-stations and internet accessibility. The session, “Reflections on Where We Are and Where We Are Going with Technology in the Art History Classroom,” introduced SECAC members to some new technologies and tools, offered opportunities to try these out with the presenters, and established AHPT in SECAC as a vital group for discussion, networking, and sharing pedagogical insights. The presenters were Fran Altvater (Hillyer College, University of Hartford) on Wikis, Podcasts, and Blogs; Oh, My! Technology and Pedagogy in Parallel in the Art History Classroom, Janice Robertson (Pratt Institute) with VoiceThread Class Projects Turn Text-Based Teaching Practices On Their Head, and Saul Zalesch (Louisiana Tech University) on Ephemerastudies.org and Bringing Original Art Ephemera into the Classroom.

Fran talked about ways we might use technology to address “real deficiencies our students have in fundamental academic skills, time management, and academic culture” so our students might achieve greater success in degree programs. She showed us how wikis can be used for group note-taking, and audio casting of her lectures can help her work with a variety of student learning styles. Janice, art history’s VoiceThread guru, walked us through the steps of developing a VoiceThread and demonstrated her students’ academic revelations in their study of sculptural details on the façade of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC. Janice also discussed how she uses VoiceThread to present works to students in a survey-level class that they probably don’t know, and then challenges them to figure out what they are looking at based on her lectures, their readings, and their pursuit of knowledge as they work to identify objects in small VoiceThread groups. Saul presented his website, Ephemerastudies.org, dedicated to his personal collection of American ephemera (destined for the Winterthur Museum) that he uses in his art history classes to teach, among other things, how “high style” is echoed in a variety of popular media, and how we can study art and history in such objects as late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century posters, advertisements, and music sheets; as an added treat he brought objects from his collection to show the group.

This was AHPT’s first session as an affiliate of SECAC, and we’re looking forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship in the coming years. AHPT will sponsor a session at SECAC in 2012…so be looking for this! If any members wish to chair a session at SECAC or CAA in the future, please contact me at moch@umw.edu or Sarah Scott at sarah.scott@wagner.edu..

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