Technology in the Arts Education Space: A Conversation with Russell Granet, Executive Director of Lincoln Center Education

On April 24, 2015, AMT Lab Contributor Jackie Shimshoni interviewed Russell Granet, Executive Director of Lincoln Center Education.  In the interview, Granet discussed arts and technology at the Lincoln Center and the role technology has played in educating audiences about their wide array of programming. He also offered valuable insight for arts managers in both performing and visual organizations who may wish to enhance their own educational offerings.

The cornerstone of Lincoln Center’s educational programming, Lincoln Center Education focuses on five areas: PreK-12, Higher Education, Community, Research, and a consultancy practice where they work with government agencies and ministries around the world to help construct quality arts programs.

This interview offered numerous tips for organizations looking to digitize their educational offerings, including:

  • There are many organizations whose digital programming consists of no more than scanning lesson plans and putting them on a website--this is not enough to be meaningful.

  • Any digital offering an organization has for teachers needs to replace something, rather than be an add-on. Regardless of how good the offering is, if all it does is create more work in the classroom, then it will not be used.

  • Arts managers need to be careful and aware of rights issues when putting performances online. Granet noted that this has been a considerable process while developing Lincoln Center’s online portal.

  • Proper training is essential in making sure that technologies will be used effectively, if at all.

  • If you are developing accessible programming, speak to the audience you’re trying to access rather than guess what they will like. If programming is meant for autistic children, go speak to and learn from autistic children. If a play is meant to appeal to teenagers, talk to teenagers. Granet noted that teenagers are also extremely helpful and knowledgable when it comes to explaining the latest technologies and how they work.

In closing, Granet shared:

“It’s not going away. We are educating kids for a future we can’t predict. So the greatest gift that we can give them is the skills needed to think... That will serve them more than learning by rote.”