Connecticut Academy of Art and Design is a burgeoning international art program developed by BIA designed as a progressive "art immersion" environment for domestic and foreign students interested in an education and a career in the field of art in the digital age.
The CAD program within our international preparatory academy dedicated to both a traditional high school curriculum, followed by a rigorous afternoon of dedicated art studies and portfolio preparation. International students mingle with our domestic students to improve their English language skills while at the same time training in the digital arts, such as digital film making, graphic design 3D modeling, web design, digital printing just to name a few.
The convergence of technology, information, and media has reinvigorated and transformed conceptions of media literacy. "Schools and afterschool programs must devote more attention to fostering what we call the new media literacies: a set of cultural competencies and social skills that young people need in the new media landscape" (Jenkins, 2006: 4). These competencies and skills include: play, performance, simulation, appropriation, multitasking, distributed cognition, collective intelligence, judgment, transmedia navigation, networking, and negotiation. Two of these literacies—appropriation and transmedia migration—are largely specific to new media. The remaining competencies and skills can be understood as novel aspects of cognition and disposition that have become more essential in the new media landscape (Pinkard & Sweet, 2009). CAD has developed a short list of five core values designed to capture the essential cognitive skills and dispositions required to become productive and prosperous citizens in the 21st century.
Creativity The value of creativity emphasizes the unprecedented blurring of the distinction between consumer and producer in new media. Creativity is not limited to the arts or media, but is the basis of innovation in any domain. Creative processes may vary across disciplines, but tend to share four essential characteristics. "First, they always involve thinking or behaving imaginatively. Second, overall this imaginative activity is purposeful: that is, it is directed to achieving an objective. Third, these processes must generate something original. Fourth, the outcome must be of value in relation to the objective" (National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education, 1999: p30). Creativity involves new media literacies such as experimenting with one's surroundings to solve problems (play), constructing dynamic models of real-world processes (simulation), and sampling and remixing media content (appropriation).
Collaboration The value of collaboration emphasizes the importance of many different roles, as well as the inherently networked nature of new media. Collaboration is often the exception in schools, but it is just as often the rule for young people outside of school. In the new media landscape, collaboration means not just group work but long-distance and often multi-cultural learning communities. "Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement. The new literacies almost all involve social skills developed through collaboration and networking" (Jenkins, 2006). Collaboration involves new media literacies such as pooling knowledge with others toward a common goal (collective intelligence) and the ability to interact with technology tools that expand mental capacities (distributed cognition).
Responsibility The value of responsibility emphasizes the inherently participatory and distributed nature of new media. Of course, responsibility is not a novel concept in education. The Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (1991) identified responsibility—exerting a high level of effort and persevering towards goal attainment—as an essential personal quality for productive workers in the global economy. Responsibility is closely related to numerous other life and career skills such as initiative, self-direction, productivity, accountability, and leadership. According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (n.d.), these "soft" or "applied" skills are essential complements to cognitive skills and can be at least as important in determining both academic and career success. Responsibility is also related to the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources (judgment) and to the discipline to use technology, information, and media legally and ethically.
Identity The value of identity emphasizes the inherently multicultural nature of new media, as well as the increasingly fluid and malleable nature of the self. Buckingham (2008) argues that "a focus on identity requires us to pay close attention to the diverse ways in which media and technologies are used in everyday life, and their consequences both for individuals and for social groups. It entails viewing young people as significant social actors in their own right, as 'beings,' and not simply as 'becomings' who should be judged in terms of their projected futures" (19). Gee (2003) points out that some identities are more valued by society than others, and many individuals may have limited access to the most valued identities. A video game may invite a player to "think of himself an active problem solver, one who persists in trying to solve problems even after making mistakes; one who, in fact, does not see mistakes as errors but as opportunities for reflection and learning" (Gee, 2003: 44). Identity involves new media literacies such as the ability to adopt alternative identities for improvisation and discovery (performance) and working with diverse communities and alternative norms (negotiation).