Many new-media educators point to a widespread tension between vocational training and a critical solid education. There is no stable "new-media industry" for which a static skill set would prepare the graduate for his or her professional future in today's post-dotcom era. Some departments follow a techno-deterministic approach that overlooks the fact that "we" should educate artists regardless of which media they use. Between Futurist narratives of progress with all their techno-optimism and the technophobia often encountered in more traditional cultural theorists-- how do we educate students to be equally familiar with technical concepts, theory, and art? How can new-media theory be activated as a wake-up call for students leading to radical sea change? Which educational structure proves more effective-- theme-based groups or media-based departments? Does the current new-media art curriculum allow for play, experiment and failure?
How can we introduce free software into the new-media classroom when businesses still hardly make use of open source or free software? How can we break out of the isolating walls of the university lab? This series will introduce concrete examples of meaningful linkages between media production in the university and cultural institutions as well as technology businesses. Guest speakers will also address ways in which they introduce politics into the new-media lab.
Between flattened sing-along hierarchies and the traditional models of top-down education, speakers will give examples based on their experiences that offer a middle-ground between these extremes. Further questions address anti-intellectualism in the classroom and the high demands on educators in this area in which technology and theory are with little precedence and rapidly change. As a response to the latter question several distributed learning tools will be presented that internationally link up new-media educators to share code, theory, and art in real time.
A book is planned as a result of WebCamTalk 1.0 and the conference in May.
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