Integrating the Arts into Early Childhood Teacher Education Through Technology: A Puppetry Arts Project

Integrating the Arts into Early Childhood Teacher Education Through Technology: A Puppetry Arts Project

Kevin Hsieh (Georgia State University, USA) and Melanie Davenport (Georgia State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4538-7.ch011
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Integrating the arts into the early childhood classroom is considered one of the effective pedagogies for children to learn different disciplines. However, most students in early childhood teacher education programs do not have experience in art, nor do they generally create art themselves. However, these future teachers and their students alike are surrounded with visual culture, immersed in technology, and grew up with television and other devices as indispensable parts of their lives, so these can provide portals for teaching them about the arts and interdisciplinary content integration. Teaching future Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers creative pedagogies for integrating the arts into their classrooms through the use of technology is essential. The purpose is not just to help them understand the connections between the visual arts and what they see around them on television, tablet, and computer, but also, perhaps optimistically, to encourage them to be advocates for the arts in the lives of their students. In this chapter, the authors contemplate some of the challenges in building those connections for ECE students. They consider the questions: How can we build their confidence with this subject matter and guide them to integrate art forms through technology into their curricula? How can we foster in these future teachers a creative sensibility that recognizes the arts as a fundamental shared human means of expressing identity, understandings, beliefs, and ideas? How can we utilize very accessible community resources to encourage this transformation? This chapter describes a hands-on approach developed for guiding ECE majors who have little or no arts experience to understand, appreciate, and engage in the arts through technology and the interdisciplinary possibilities of Puppetry Arts. They describe the philosophy, process, resources, and outcomes of the course and offer recommendations for integrating the arts into early childhood education coursework through technology.
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Picture a classroom bustling with creative activities as college students conduct research online, create digital presentations to share information about cultural populations, use software to write narrative lyrics and compose musical scores, and even utilize the videotape function on their cell phones to record themselves performing, as part of a 6-8 week in-depth investigation into cultural traditions, story-telling and puppetry arts. This describes our integrated art and music class designed specifically for early childhood education (ECE) majors at Georgia State University (GSU) in downtown Atlanta, in which we collaborate with an instructor from the Music Department to introduce ECE majors to the pedagogical opportunities of integrating the arts into their future teaching, especially by using various forms of technology. Over the past few years, this course has evolved into a very successful and popular offering that takes advantage of the resources available in our urban environment and engages students in intercultural as well as interdisciplinary learning.

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