Intel and Levi's collaboration, "Friends of MOCA," will support arts education by raising awareness and funds for the Contemporary Art Start program (CAS) at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA).
CAS is about instilling tools of critical thought and developing analytical skills in young people. According to Jeanne Hoel, the senior educational manager at MOCA, the visual arts present a unique way to spark young intellects.
"What we're doing with CAS is advancing a kind of learning that values open inquiry and discussion. We develop curricula for 3rd- through 12th-graders that channels the reactions that young people have when they view visual arts as a method of developing analytical, conversational, and intellectual skills."
CAS' curricula are based on a philosophy of education called Visual Thinking Strategies. The concept is simple and brilliant—the open-ended discussions that art elicits can be used to teach kids about communication, evidence-based arguments, and how to articulate reasoned opinions.
Thomas Field, a teacher at Valor Academy, a charter school in Arleta, California, has used the CAS curriculum in his classrooms for the last seven years. He told The Ultrabook™ Experience team, "School kids inherently understand the visual medium. Seeing is the first analytical way they take their surroundings in. So I've found that using a visually-based method of accessing those skills excites kids."
And the experience lasts all year for the kids. According to Thomas, "The anticipation for our trip to MOCA each year causes the kids to look forward to talking about art and describing their reactions."
In addition to providing curriculum guides, CAS also enlists museum visits, artist talks, family workshops, and group discussions to give students an opportunity to form evidence-based arguments and opinions about art in multiple forums.
Jeanne is especially happy about how CAS' online curriculum has expanded the reach of the program to schools around the world. "We've got schools in New Zealand and Hong Kong using the tools and curricula we post on our site." The distribution of digital content through the Internet and devices like the Ultrabook™ is inspiring kids around the world to develop their analytical minds, as well as their creativity.