The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

Luke Meeken

[Luke Meeken Photo]
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107 Arts Cottage
I have had the fortune to teach students in a wide variety of contexts – including teaching undergraduate pre-service art teachers about technology in art education, American high schoolers learning media arts, and Russian students in an arts-focused ESL summer camp. Across these disparate spaces, one consistent truth I’ve encountered is that students learn most effectively not as passive recipients of authoritative knowledge, but as engaged creators of knowledge. One of my motivations for focusing on the intersection of art, K-12 education, and digital media is a pressing need I see for encouraging students’ agency and criticality in an increasingly digital social and political mediascape. Rooted in part in Douglas Rushkoff’s “Program or be Programmed” ethos, and in Olia Lialina’s championing of the Geocities-era “vernacular web,” I feel it is imperative that students develop a productive – and not just receptive – digital literacy. Just as we expect literate students to not only be able to read an essay, but critique a poem and write a manifesto, we should likewise not just teach students to use the Adobe suite, but to critique the algorithms of their favorite social media platforms, and to write their own programs to solve creative problems. In my teaching and research, I have found that an effective way to foster this student agency and voice is to approach digital media from an arts mindset, framing technology as a creative medium rather than a technical skill or tool to be used prescriptively. [BFA - Fine Arts - Carnegie Mellon University, 2005 | MAE - Art Education - Virginia Commonwealth University, 2013]