Interview originally appeared in Magnet Byte with additions on this blog
Jen, tell us a little about you and your unique background?
For almost 25 years, I’ve been involved in the world of out-of-school time education, primarily leading science centers and children’s museums, as well as working with PBS and its producers. My volunteer gig for 2020 embraces my advocacy for equity, as I’m the Chair of the Board for the National Girls Collaborative Project.
How do art and STEM intertwine?
I personally have always seen them as integral to one another. And I think that design thinking is a perfect application that leverages the best of both worlds. Science is inherently painting a canvas over time with experimentation, failure and knowing.
Why now, especially?
I am constantly reading and as the Coronavirus struck, the entire museum industry and all of our out-of-school time partners (like scouting organizations, robotics clubs) and PBS started to find ways to communicate to kids.
But the communication to adults was all about calm – sharing beauty, art, photographs, and videos – and that then became a strategy we used at home. The Louvre and other art museums stepped up to make their collections available through digitally. And then, music and people playing music across the world with each other using technology. It was a universal salvo and it has become both our immediate and sustaining response to the pandemic.
So, as we find ourselves here today, among kids who thrive at their Digital Magnet school and learn design thinking and utilize technology, it’s important to talk about the inspiration of art fueling that.
What are your recommendations for other parents not only now, but for the summer?
Here are some of my favorite apps, video compilers, You Tube channels, and other resources. They aren’t in any particular order so explore as you wish!
- I’m really a fan of the video compiler “The Kid Should See This.” Every week I get the top five videos of the week emailed to me. So whether it’s a time lapse of Jeff Koons new Play Doh sculpture, a slo-mo of a beetle taking flight, silly Rube Goldberg set ups and hilarious DIY’s, there are 4,500 videos that will knock your kids socks off.
- I am enamored with Vi Hart, who started publishing her math doodles as a teen. Her YouTube is full of great videos like the Hexaflexagons (folding and geometry) or a video called Spirals, Fibonacci and being a plant. Sure to captivate.
- You might already love Garage Band, but I love the super easy Chrome Music Lab to do your music experiments and composing. You can also use tools like OIID from mathsciencemusic.org that also specializes in an App called Groove Pizza. I’m in!
- Close to home, the North Carolina Museum of Art has been putting out an amazing weekly meditation on a piece of their art. A holistic curriculum approach through the lens of one piece in their collection, it’s world class.
- Before we started back to online curriculum, our Art and Imagination day involved watching videos from the PBS of Japan, NHK. Check out Design Ah! by starting with “Chairs” and go from there as you learn exactly what we mean by a “designed world.”
- Two great new apps we’ve just started using – AR Makr (free) and Procreate ($10) for drawing and creating.
Our good friends in Pittsburgh stream a wonderful music show every Saturday called the Saturday Light Brigade. Puzzles, music, stories – all for kids and often performed by kids – pepper this internationally award-winning broadcast.
Here is a graphic to download and share on your social media from this article!!!