Örtegren, Hans (2012)

Title: The scope of digital image media in art education. Computers and education (ISSN 0360-1315)

Department of Creative Studies, Umeå University, SE-90187 UMEÅ, Sweden



In this case study of forms 7-9 in a Swedish school, the subject conceptions of and teaching practices in art subjects of schoolteachers and pupils are studied, in particular with regard to digital media. Flow the core content of a subject is conceived is compared to the importance of digital media in the teaching practice. For three years a class was followed whose teachers taught the pupils in both the art subject and in a local optional subject called Media. The method of triangulation involving participant observations, focus talks, interviews and questionnaires was employed in order to study the role of digital media in different subjects and their actual use by pupils. The results show that the school subject paradigm in the subject of art is chiefly connected to image production for developing aesthetic-practical skills. Traditional manual production is encouraged, thereby contributing to the limited use of digital media in the subject of art. Frame factors such as time and material also contribute to the limited use of digital media in the subject of art. Unlike the subject of art, the optional subject of media is conceived of more as a communication subject, and digital technology for image production is encouraged. In general, the use of digital media in the school is mainly guaranteed by the school’s media plan. The role of the art subject is not prominent in this plan, but its teachers are active in implementing digital media in other contexts than within the framework of the art subject. In this study the representatives of the subject of art hardly used digital image processing at all in their teaching, but did so to a great extent in the optional subject of media. This made it clear that digital media in the subject of art in this school are not regarded as a prioritised media-specific competence. Offering and being able to provide a larger repertoire of digital media in the teaching of art could contribute to a change of the subject paradigm in a more clearly communicative than aesthetic-practical direction. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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