Power Point versus Interesting Visual Aids

Is power point evil or just used poorly? While I find that the Business Insider “Universities Should Ban Power Point” makes a strong argument as to why power point fails as a teaching aid. The presumption is that teachers use power point to echo or literally write out their lectures.  However, power point — as a visual anchor — can inform and enhance teaching, but the key is integrating active learning to enhance student learning.  The problem is students aren’t always aware of how they learn and ” Universities measure student satisfaction but they do not measure learning.”  Thus, if a course seems organized because of a lot of power point lectures students may, indeed, rate the course higher than one that challenges them to apply readings in active learning processes.

As someone who has taught in the classroom or in workshops across a 20 year career, I can attest to my experience pre and post power point. I will take power point over a transparency any day.  BUT I miss chalk boards and the need to slow down the process to really work through problems on a board (versus on a screen).  I believe visuals are necessary for teaching but they are not the end.  They are a means for sharing ideas and data but they do not constitute the end of learning for the student.  They are the beginning that has to include interplay with active learning, discussion and problem solving.

So, is  power point, student evaluations, or a habit of passive  learning(talk-listen) teaching styles to blame for a lack of learning?  All technology is only as good as its user.  It is not power point’s fault that teachers use it in a particular way.  But it is a university’s evaluation system that encourages continuing bad practices. And a teacher’s for not ethically focusing on learning first.

 

 

Yes, Pokémon, Again

As someone who worked from 1999 – 2012 in a theatre that included a robust arts education program and an Equity Theatre for Young Audiences, I can say that I have witnessed a lot of Pokémon obsession.  Then the obsession waned.  I admit, I was a little happy.  But today Pokémon is back to entertain many and torture some.  Pokémon GO has exploded over the last month (fun fact: It started as an April Fools joke in 2014 at Google. Niantic spun off to become an independent company). Screenshot 2016-07-14 14.18.38

As an augmented reality game, Pokémon GO is noted as actually getting generation Z out of their houses using the geo-location feature on their digital devices to play the game.  The game is also heralded as the first “nostalgia” product for millenials.  It seems to be almost everywhere. Just today I have en 5 Pokémon GO articles, 2 of which address the arts.

According to an article in the Washington Post, the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC asked Pokémon GO to please remove the museum as a pokéstop.  Yet other organizations are taking advantage of traveling packs of Pokémon hunters.  According to an article in Nonprofit Quarterly, several museums are highlighting their pokéstops in their social media and a Food Bank is mobilizing volunteers by offering by linking to a pokégym location to a volunteer recruitment incentive. In Sydney, Australia, a Facebook event was created to walk “together through the Royal Botanic Gardens and around the exterior of the Opera House. This event attracted over one thousand people under the hashtag #PokeGoWalk.”  Yet it was not coordinated by the Botanic Gardens.

This makes one wonder what opportunities exist for intersecting Pokémon GO with arts and cultural institutions and how to ensure these opportunities will actually engage the visitors with the content of the arts and cultural institution. Bringing them in means nothing if it is ancillary to the mission.

 

What Data Tells Us About The Future of Nonprofit Arts Institutions

I tend to read broadly and voraciously.  This frequently offers opportunities for cross-sector observations.  While I know that life = change and that the world is changing faster than it has before, insights into how and why it is changing can be gleaned through thoughtful analysis of dispersed data.  I offer four unique articles that provide perspectives on the mindset and values that drive some of the changes we, as a society and the nonprofits serving it are facing.  These articles reveal that organizations need to become fun, relevant and social while recognizing their theory of change and emphasizing their social impact. Furthermore, these shifts must occur against a technology backdrop enmeshed in the institution’s culture not just relegated to marketing.

1. It has to be perceived as fun, relevant and social if it is going to register with those under 40 and I would argue those of any age with a similar mindset (Generation Y is living out the dreams of the baby boomer hippies) 

Offerings in the artistic marketplace can have curatorial and artistic integrity yet are still interesting and passionately pursued by the public.  The article identifies some unique markers that any arts institution can do. For example, organizations should get rid of security guards that make the institution feel like a prison.  Accomplish the same work with individuals dressed in every day clothes who want to talk about the art increasing the meaning making and relevancy to the viewer. While the Broad has contemporary art, the same could be done with historical works. Education can be fun, why do we always want to make it dry?  At the Broad they make waiting in line fun and social not tedious. Yes, people are waiting in line to get into a museum. This statistic is noteworthy in a time when national museum attendance is flat to falling.  The Whitney Museum in NYC they stays open late for those interested in an after-work, after-dinner artistic experience thereby becoming a part of the social fabric of New Yorkers’ lives.  Hamilton has Ham4Ham (Hamming it up for Hamilton).  The show is sold out with tickets selling at over $800 so this is not a marketing ploy. The producers don’t need to do it, but it has become an ethos of the company.  Have fun and be part of not extraneous to everyday experience.

2. Technology is a part of almost every individual’s values, lifestyle, and identity that cannot be ignored.

While the SXSW article focuses on a perhaps over-the-top aspect of how the tech set is making tech part of everyday life from food to clothing it is critical to note that the tech set is the same market that the arts used to serve (well-educated with leisure time and money to spend).  While the tech elite may be beyond the scope of almost any organization aside from the MET and SFMOMA, the recognition that technology permeates every aspect of people’s lives must be embraced by organizations or those markets will move elsewhere. This is not a push for tweet seats and art-works that allow for tech engagement but rather a call for organizations to work with their mobile audiences. Over 65% of US citizens have a smart phone and the demographic aligns even more directly with the arts-going public.  Thus institutions  must maintain or create websites with responsive design (don’t just make another app to sell a ticket), use social media as a space for conversation not advertising, and, when necessary, respect and educate audiences and support their ‘turning off’ for the 2 hours to enjoy a performance.

3. The workplace  and marketplace are increasingly driven by values, fulfillment and social impact.

The magic words for both the workplaces environment and artistic offerings seem to be collaboration, transparency, and impact. Working is no longer about bringing home a paycheck and moving up the ladder but “making a difference”.  Whether in fundraising or investing (time or dollars) impact on society is also the them. 64% of those under 35 want to work to make the world a better place.

When trying to attract donors, organization must know their theory of change then identify and report their social impact. “. . . the area nonprofits can improve the most is identifying and reporting outcomes. Identifying and reporting outcomes was most important to Gen Xers, 61 and 29 percent, followed by Baby Boomers, 47 and 27 percent, matures 44 and 30 percent, and Millennials 41 and 10 percent.”  While these numbers are reported from a survey of high net worth individuals, HNWs are not alone in their values, they just have the money to give.

The arts change lives every day.  It’s time to demonstrate that transformation bluntly, in numbers and stories, and share the good times we all have creating it.

 

Mega-Cities and the Arts

A recent article from QUARTZ notes that the creative, economic, and social power of the globe is centered on 20 urban connected hubs. http://qz.com/666153/megacities-not-nations-are-the-worlds-most-dominant-enduring-social-structures-adapted-from-connectography/.  As someone who spent 25 years in the Easter Corridor, I recognize the dynamics the author notes.  What isn’t noted is the quality of life disparity between the 1% and those that keep the motor running. Nor does it note that these corridors are increasingly un-affordable to those who serve as the bedrock for the creative sector — the artists.  Even silicon valley mega-giants are investing across the USA in smaller urban centers where cost of doing business is lower and life has greater bandwidth for experimentation.

Yet, there is a direct connection between the mega-cities and the mega-art institutions.  This is essentially the driving force behind what Michael Kaiser notes as the split in the sector.  As global and local economic forces at play for the arts follow the money and the people, where will the arts be in 20 years? Being a “Creative” does not make you and artist but artistry and innovation are indelibly linked.  If emerging artists can’t live in the global connective hubs, will the economic power begin to fueled from the outside? Will there be a new model of connectivity with new modes of transportation or technological connectivity? We are witnessing the beginning of a shift that will have intense impact on the arts.  It will likely feel like a g-force roller coaster at times.

 

LEDs that communicate could create ‘smart’ environments

Disney researchers have demonstrated that light bulbs can do more that just illuminate our rooms — they could communicate with each other, with objects and with the Internet, to create ‘smart’ environments.Transmitting

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.thehindu.com

The IoT is something all arts technologists need to consider adding to their world.  Beacons were a start.  Google Glass was interesting.  Disney is clearly moving into new arenas with RFID and now using light as a stream of information.

See on Scoop.itArts Management and Technology

Google Analytics Bounce Rate Reference Guide

Do you understand what is meant by ‘bounce rate’ in your Google Analytics? Do you want to know how to reduce it? This post explains everything

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.razorsocial.com

It could be that your site is designed with all the information on the home page, but that would be rare.  Bounce rate is a useful analytic point for arts organizations wanting to increase engagement online.  The strategy is to have content feeders on the home page.

See on Scoop.itArts Marketing