Teaching Philosophy

 

Every student, technophobe and technophile alike, can learn to use the computer not just as an artistic tool but as an expressive medium.

Using digital technology as a medium for expression requires a personal understanding of the inherent affordances of a computer. This understanding means learning how a computer works, what a computer does well, and what a computer does poorly. It also means being able to work with non-traditional inputs and outputs. It means learning how to program. Learning how to program does not mean learning a particular programming language, but rather learning the core programming concepts that enable you to learn any programming language.

As with any art form, utilizing digital technologies requires hands-on experience. I start classes with small structured projects that reinforce core concepts and give students a sense of achievement. As the class progresses, these projects become more challenging, requiring increased creative thought and planning. It is important to me that students finish a course with work of which they are proud. With digital technologies this often requires providing an infrastructure with which the student can work. It is common for me to prepare specially tailored software libraries, sensor networks, hardware, and other authoring tools. This teaching strength allows students to begin meaningful class work almost immediately at the start of the semester.

Acknowledging the importance of collaboration in my own work, I encourage students to work in groups while making sure that every student contributes equally. In my courses, I expect my students to be active participants contributing to the learning of the class (and myself) rather than passively receiving information.

Eitan Mendelowitz