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Friday, January 13 • 11:15am - 11:35am
"The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction; The Work of Education in the Age of Digital Reproduction"

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“The sphere of [ an artwork’s ] authenticity is independent of its copy, so through the act of reproduction something is taken from the original by changing its context.” ­ Benjamin

In his ground­breaking essay, W. Benjamin worried that our new­found ability to reproduce art would erode its impact and value. Historically art was held in controlled contexts for controlled viewers ­ either by private citizens for private viewings or by religious institutions for use in controlled and liturgical contexts.

One of Benjamin’s major anxieties was that significance could not persist without scarcity. What would it mean if the Mona Lisa could look down at you from above your toilet, or the Scream from your angsty teenage son’s bedroom door? In the same sense, does a technologically reproducible classroom and curriculum threaten a student’s perceived value and impact of their learning in the same way?

This paper explores these questions in the context of Educational Technologists such as Ice, pedagogs such as Vygotsky, Media Theorists such as Bryant and Zillmann and some prominent members of the cannon of continental aesthetes and wraps the discussion in a survey of instructional design and technology.

As technologists and educators, how do we insure that adding reproducibility and portability to our classrooms and curriculums does not strike what is most human and significant from it? How do we maintain context despite mobility? How can we use portability to increase the value of a thing and instill expectations of excellence without requiring elitism. 


Amanda Steiman

Faculty, CalStateTEACH


Friday January 13, 2017 11:15am - 11:35am PST