UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Australian Art Education
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James Rea and Karen Knight-Mudie
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This case study investigated the learning behaviours of Year Eleven art students while they used computers in comparison with traditional two- dimensional art media to produce visual images. The central issue was to determine what effect digital technology had on developing new attitudes and approaches towards art, and in the cognitive process of creating art. After producing a drawing, a photograph screenprint, a series of computer-generated images, and a painting, each student was required to complete a questionnaire that addressed the metacognitive and affective implications of computers on learning behaviour. Observation and conversational unstructured interviews were also employed as data-gathering techniques throughout the study. The relationship of the way students think when creating digital artwork and when creating artwork using traditional two-dimensional disciplines was examined and analysed in terms of the effects on the cognitive and affective domains. While there were exceptions, the clear trend was that computers did challenge and stimulate thinking when used to create artwork, and that the attitudes of students towards using computers as a visual art medium are often more favourable as a result of their using them in this context.
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