Dirty Hands on the Keyboard: in Search of Less Aseptic Computer Graphics Teaching for Art and Design
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AbstractIn recent decades our society has witnessed a level of technological development that has not been matched by that of educational development. Far from the forefront in the process of social change, education has been trailing behind transformations occurring in industrial sectors, passively and sluggishly assimilating their technological innovations. Worse yet, educators have taken the technology and logic of innovations deriving predominantly from industry and attempted to transpose them directly into the classroom, without either analyzing them in terms of demands from the educational context or adjusting them to the specificities of the teaching/learning process. In the 1970s - marked by the effervescence of Educational Technology - society witnessed the extensive proliferation of audio-visual resources for use in education, yet with limited development in teaching theories and educational methods and procedures. In the 1980s, when Computers in Education emerged as a new area, the discussion focused predominantly on the issue of how the available computer technology could be used in the school, rather than tackling the question of how it could be developed in such a way as to meet the needs of the educational proposal. What, then, will the educational legacy of the 1990s be? In this article we focus on the issue from the perspective of undergraduate and graduate courses in Arts and Design. Computer Graphics slowly but surely has gained ground and consolidated as part of the Art & Design curricula in recent years, but in most cases as a subject in the curriculum that is not linked to the others. Computers are usually allocated in special laboratories, inside and outside Departments, but invariably isolated from the dust, clay, varnish, and paint and other wastes, materials, and odors impregnating - and characterizing - other labs in Arts and Design courses.In spite of its isolation, computer technology coexists with centuries-old practices and traditions in Art & Design courses. This interesting meeting of tradition and innovation has led to daring educational ideas and experiments in the Arts and Design which have had a ripple effect in other fields of knowledge. We analyze these issues focusing on the pioneering experience of the Núcleo de Arte Eletrônica – a multidisciplinary space at the Arts Department at PUC-Rio, where undergraduate and graduate students of technological and human areas meet to think, discuss, create and produce Art & Design projects, and which constitutes a locus for the oxygenation of learning and for preparing students to face the challenges of an interdisciplinary and interconnected society.