Project SMARTArt - Students using Media, Art, Reading, and Technology - was an educational project designed to improve educational practices and academic research in the arts and media literacy. Project SMARTArt was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Arts. Participating institutions included the Center for Media Literacy, the Music Center Education Division, AnimAction, Inc., and Leo Politi Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
850 students, 25 teachers, and ten other educators participated in the project. As part of the project, innovative media literacy, technology, and the arts were taught alongside a more traditional curriculum. Program participants worked to enhance their abilities in four areas: Accessing information, Analyzing information, Evaluating information, and Creating information. A bigger emphasis on these skills is helpful in getting teachers and students to be more comfortable using and incorporating media literacy and the arts into a standard academic curriculum. The program sought to demonstrate that the arts, media literacy, and technology can and should be taught alongside and in conjunction with traditional subjects, at an early age.
A goal of Project SMARTart was to enhance teachers' use of media in the classroom, and to develop educational practices that are less reliant on rote textbook instructions and more adaptable to the use of multiple media types. Over the past few decades, educational media has developed at an extremely rapid pace. In less than a generation, smartboards and streaming Internet video have supplemented -- and sometimes replaced -- the chalk board and film strips as teaching supplements. Multi-volume encyclopedias, once a prized possession for any classroom, have been replaced by nearly ubiquitous access to online encyclopedia resources that are more frequently updated and broader in scope than their print predecessors. In all of these advances, media literacy -- the ability to analyze and evaluate information -- has become more important than ever.
For more information about Project SMARTart, please download the case study (PDF) from the Center for Media Literacy's web site: http://www.medialit.org/reading_room/casestudy/SmartArt_casestudy.pdf
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