"When I say artist I don't mean in the narrow sense of the word - but the man who is building things - creating molding the earth - whether it be the plains of the west - or the iron ore of Penn. It's all a big game of construction - some with a brush - some with a shovel - some choose a pen."
-Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)
Today I attended a podcasting workshop given by Ballston Spa Social Studies teacher Rick Hengsterman. Rick described a number of projects he has done with his high school students and offered practical advice on how to incorporate this tool into any curriculum. Since the necessary startup equipment is relatively inexpensive, podcasting would appear to be an excellent introduction to web 2.0 for teachers with little experience in the new technologies.
Rick's students have also created some music videos connected to social issues that they explored in their Sociology class. Believe celebrates some of the heroes of September 11, 2001; Stereo(teen)Types deals with cliques - and how to survive them; Apathy is a stark view of some of the forgotten people of the world.
All of these videos and podcasts make powerful statements and express the student voice that Clay Burell, Carolyn Foote, Sylvia Martinez and so many others, remind us is an essential element of authentic learning.
Rick Hengsterman is helping students construct knowledge by using the tools they enjoy and exploring issues that matter to them. I submit that Rick is an "artist" in the truest sense of the word, a builder and creator.