Using the Power of the Internet to Connect People

Online performance artist Ze Frank's discusses his "web playroom" in the video below. Traditionally, art endevours have been transmissive and do not involve the audience, whereas Ze Frank utilizes technology to connect humans to one another. What resonated with me was his pursuit "to feel and be felt." This is not a new idea, but rather a long time need for humans which has been augmented by the development of new technologies. It is a concept I think our Generation Z students struggle with on a daily basis.

I find the idea of interactive art is very common in Asia. Around the city there are frequently art exihibtions which encourage interaction from the audience. Holiday decorations are even built as small cities meant to be walked through and experienced. Last November, there was a participatory show in Hong Kong called MURS described as an immersive, interactive outdoor Smart show.

This show really hit home with me because it brought a crowd of complete strangers together in an engaging manner. In a city like Hong Kong, with one of the highest population densities in the world, a place where you are NEVER alone (quite literally unless you are in your home) there is an overwhelming sense of disconnect among the people. I still cannot believe how lonely it can feel standing in a large crowd of people. Hong Kong is a city always on the go: people are in a rush to commute, aggressive to close a business deal, storefronts and buildings are in a constant renovation cycle, and the workforce is transient. All these factors contribute to a place where no one feels grounded and are aching to connect. I think this is one of the reasons an interactive show like this was so popular, and why art which brings people together goes viral.
In my eyes this is one of the greatest capabilities of new technologies for educational purposes. Teachers can transcend the walls of their classrooms to reach audiences around the globe. I have long been a fan of Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR Model which helps educators to think about HOW they are using technology. 

Is a technology just a different way of doing the same old task or it is adding something and transforming the learning experience? 

I often refer back to this model when working with teachers to help them move up the ladder. Technology seems a bit less daunting when there are clear goals laid out to assist tech integration.

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