Sunday, April 21, 2013

Milwaukee Art Museum Connects

Milwaukee Art Museum from Flickr by Bryan Chang on 9/4/2010 The Milwaukee Art Museum is our #1 "go to" place as a family.  But it is also becoming the "go to" place in the Milwaukee area for discussions about revolutionizing education and 21st century learning.  The so-called "Calatrava effect" seems to beckon not only great artists, but also great educators in recent years.  But, great ideas do not come to take shelter under the wings of the Calatrava.  Rather, they come to take flight.

On April 20, the art museum hosted a conference called MAM Connects: Creativity, Connectivity, and Student-Generated Content.  Chelsea Kelley, the museum's manager of digital learning brought together over 200 educators along with three keynote speakers: Logan Smalley (director of TED-Ed), Rushton Hurley (direction of Next Vista for Learning), and the director of the Milwaukee Art Museum, Dan Keegan.  The conference was presented FREE with the support of Kohl's Cares.  I was one of the teacher leaders who led a small-group breakout session after the keynotes.  The twitter hashtag for the conference was #mamconnects.

Some of the great ideas and questions that came out of Saturday's conference included:

How do we make problems portable?  Both Mr. Smalley & Mr. Hurley believe video is a prime way that students can make their problems portable, and since video elicits an emotional response, it also can make our solutions portable.  This is essential if we want students to succeed beyond the walls of our classrooms.

Do we celebrate creativity in our classroom?  Truly celebrate?  Sometimes creativity results in an answer that we never expected, and that can be scary as a teacher.

Do we create experiences, or are we merely curating knowledge?  Humans crave experiences.  We use knowledge to create new experiences.  Are we participants or spectators?  Dan Keegan, the director of the Milwaukee Art Museum is the most eloquent arts advocate I have ever heard, and he believes the mission of community museums have always been to create experiences.  Perhaps the transition we are going through in education is much the same.

How do we balance process with product?  Especially if you are an elementary teacher, the process of creation in not only messy, but time-consuming.  We need to strike a balance that works for all involved.

How do we hold high standards for creation as more and more students become "creators"?  It used to be that few students reached that top level of Bloom's taxonomy.  But as creation becomes more of a norm in education, how do we ensure that it does not become diluted?

Who are the "educators" in your classroom?  Students have so much to offer - to each other and to us, the traditional "educators".

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this great conference possible!  I look forward to more great discussions about education at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Here is a link to the museum's teacher page.
And here is a link to the information about the conference, at least until the museum removes it from their calendar.


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