Alt Title

Student learning through situated use of three-dimensional modeling and animation software in a high school art class

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Freedman, Kerry J.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Teaching and Learning


Art--Study and teaching--United States; High school students--Effect of technological innovations on--United States; Maya (Computer file)


In the United States today, students in some secondary art programs are beginning to utilize professional grade 3-D modeling and animation software to create original works of visual art. Teachers creating and teaching such courses have almost no pedagogical guidance available to them in the art education literature or from the literature of other fields such as computer science. This study addresses this deficiency by investigating student learning in one public school secondary digital art classroom utilizing the Maya 3-D modeling and animation software to create original animations. Drawing on Constructivist and Postmodern art education theories, this pragmatically designed thematic case study examines the learning outcomes of five groups of students working collaboratively for one semester to create 3-D digital animations. In response to the first research question, the influences of visual culture on student attitudes and motivations were examined. This study found that student experiences with popular visual culture motivated and guided their efforts in the course, and participation in the course likewise affected how they view 3-D computer graphics in popular visual culture. In response to the second research question, the types and qualities of student learning in art were explored. This study found that in addition to technical learning about computer technology and the Maya software, students demonstrated meaningful learning in critical, formal, and expressive areas of art, as well as learning to sustain inquiry in a difficult project. Responding to the third research question, this study examined the modalities that enabled student learning of the Maya software. Findings included both details about student inductive and collaborative learning during creation and student development of strategies for utilizing learning resources based on probabilities of success and time management. This study responded to the fourth research question by utilizing empirical means to test students for cognitive benefits of participation in the course, but could not conclusively identify any. This study shows how students construct meaningful knowledge about art in the digital technology art classroom through interactions with visual culture outside the classroom. The study concludes with practical applications and suggestions for future research.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 454-472)


xi, 518 pages




Northern Illinois University

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