As a first year graduate student in the MED Art Ed program at Penn State, I declare myself an emerging researcher. I envision that the environment and how it interacts with art education will be a topic of passion as I work through the graduate program. A growing concern that I have, especially after studying Landscape Architecture, is the declining relationship we (especially youth) have with the environment. Though I appreciate all the benefits of advancing technology, I have also become aware of the negative side-effects. Growing up I remember exploring the creek, creatures, and woods down the street from my house, speeding through my homework so I could play outside. My interest in gardening started early when I would help my dad with his garden in elementary school. I loved being outside and feel a special connection to nature still. Children today, captivated by technology-video games, computers, television – seem to have little contact with the outdoors. I fear that the connection to the environment is declining; an innate connection that has existed since the beginning of man and often inexplicable. Nature has an unusual ability to affect behaivor and well-being. Through my future research, I hope to foster childrens relationship with the environment. I am curious about the effect nature has on learning and classroom behaivor, and how the art classroom can help take care of our environment or raise awareness about its vulnerability (for example exploring recycled art materials). I am also interested in children’s ability to learn art skills inside the classroom verses in exploration outdoors experiencing objects of artwork first hand. A broad topic of my research interest, therefore, would be the environment and learning in art education.
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