This paper presents research perspective on how the collaboration between communication designers and teacher trainers in visual arts facilitates the development of new forms of digital visual learning. Our discussion is based on an empirical project of developing a digital visual learning design. Student art teachers and teacher trainers took part in the design process performed by communication students. The project took its point of the departure in the act of Danish teacher education where student teachers must be educated in the practical use of digital visual media for art practices aiming at achieving the necessary competences to teach visual arts in school. This, however, challenges both student teachers as well as their lecturers in how to use digital media for doing artwork that goes beyond the well-known re-mediations (image processing or editing programs) of traditional media like painting, drawing or video. Thus, the project suggested the development of a visual learning design for achieving augmented reality (AR) experiences in urban environments and sharing them on social media. The purpose was to explore adequate approaches to work with digital media in visual arts education based on practices and reflective processes. The theoretical framework for our discussion of the empirical project draws on current discussions of learning designs and digital media in visual arts education (Peppler 2010, Rasmussen 2015, Buhl & Ejsing-Duun, 2015; Buhl, 2016).
The choice of empirical design was based on the purpose of involving the future users in developing a visual learning design, and thereby drawing on visual art expertise in all phases of the design. The Design Based Research (DBR) approach (Amiel & Reeves 2008) was chosen in order to facilitate the collaborative aspect of the developing process. In DBR, a theoretical concept based on domain-specific knowledge forms the outset for forming of design principles that are tested, reflected, and enhanced. Three groups of communication students performed this process informed by: the currents in the domain of contemporary visual art education, the domain of AR and IT educational design and visual pedagogical research ((Dunleavy & Dede, 2014; Beetham, 2007; Buhl & Flensborg, 2011). DBR is a pragmatic research approach that combines iterative development of a design with research activities aimed at enhancing the design as well as developing theory and with an emphasis on the collaboration between the designer and the stakeholders.
The project design discussed here, is the result of several iterations of similar course designs at Aalborg university, in which the basic principles of a pedagogical concept involving different constellations of digital technologies and cases were designed, tested, and renegotiated on the paradigmatic level, taking the situatedness of pedagogy into account. Our discussion of the potential for developing digital learning application from a collaborative approach is based on the visual design products, interviews and written reports, as well as shared experiences from the stakeholders in the project.
The project revealed three digital visual learning designs, showing opportunities to work with AR experiences in very different formats, but beyond the traditional remediation programs. The designs showed different interpretations of subject specific didactics, which probably has to do with the interpretative positions of the two knowledge domains of the stakeholders. Furthermore, the project revealed different perceptions of subject specific didactics between student art teachers and their lecturers. Finally, the designs indicate that a collaborative approach may promote new aspects to subject didactics, where visual art didactics gain new opportunities from involving the domain of communication and digital media for developing learning resources. However, it must be concluded that more iterations of the empirical design must be conducted in order to test its usability.
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