MonCoin, which means “MyCorner” in English, is a research project that investigates the practical, curricular, and theoretical implications of teaching and learning using mobile and social media in the visual arts classroom. In the last five years, Concordia Art Education researchers have collaborated with secondary school art educators and close to 300 secondary students in four different French and English language after-school and in-school programs. Our objective is to design, test, and develop a visual art curriculum using mobile media (e.g. smartphones and tablets) and social media (e.g. Instagram) to connect students to their schools, surroundings and each other. Our data analysis has already yielded insights into the potentials and pitfalls of using mobile media in schools.
In terms of civic engagement we found that youth were initially more interested in learning how to make “good-looking” images, and once they were technically confident some used their images to look critically at their civic environments (Pariser, Castro, Lalonde, 2016). We also found that youth are invested in constructing their identity online through the multimodal documentation of the physical and temporal spaces of the everyday (Lalonde, Castro, Pariser, 2016). Further, the use of mobile media was initially hypothesized as a means for engaging at-risk youth outside of school, only to find that, when given the choice of where they could move and meet, participants expressly sought out opportunities to be together in school (Castro, Lalonde, Pariser, 2016). We have also shown how mobile media can be used to amplify peer-learning and educational engagement (Akbari, et al., 2016). In our final phase of data analysis we are investigating ways that art educators can use mobile and social media to shift students’ social relationships, and enhance teaching and learning in art classrooms through the use of mobile and social media.
The MonCoin curriculum is based on constraints that enable (Castro, 2007; Castro, 2013) and video game type motivations (Gee, 2003) framed as missions. Our missions were designed to ask students to reexamine their everyday surroundings and create images that shared her or his particular way of seeing through images posted to our social network. The missions were structured in such a way that students began with investigating themselves, then expanded to consider their school environment, branched out to explore their neighborhoods, and finally posted their own missions and responded to their peer’s missions (Akbari, et al., 2016).
Underlying the core design is an impetus for movement through spaces and places. This feature takes advantage of the networked and mobile capabilities of internet-connected smartphones. The missions are flexible and adaptable. Whenever we collaborate with art teachers, we encourage them to adapt the missions to fit the needs of her or his students and the local context. The MonCoin missions presented here are an example of how mobile media can be used as a creative tool to explore one’s environs and to connect with others.
Akbari, E., Castro, J.C., Lalonde, M., Moreno, L. &Pariser, D. (2016). “This allowed us to see what others were thinking”: Curriculum for Peer-Initiated Learning in Art. Art Education. 69(5), 20-25.
Castro, J.C., Lalonde, M., &Pariser, D. (2016). Understanding the (im)mobilities of engaging at-risk youth through art and mobile media. Studies in Art Education. 57(3), 238-251.
Castro, J.C. (2013). Teaching Art in a Networked World. Trends, The Journal of The Texas Art Education Association, 87-92.
Castro, J. C. (2007). Enabling artistic inquiry. Canadian Art Teacher, 6(1), 6–16.
Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. Computers in Entertainment (CIE), 1(1), 20–20.
Lalonde, M., Castro, J.C., Pariser, D. (2016) Identity tableaux: Multimodal contextual constructions of adolescent identity. Visual Art Research. 42(1), 38-55.
Pariser, D., Castro, J.C., Lalonde, M., (2016). Investigating at-risk youth visually examining their communities through mobilities, aesthetics and civic engagement. International Journal of Education Through Art. 12(2), 211-225.