Museum Education and Visitor-Centered Exhibitions (MEX) doctoral student Anthony Woodruff attended and presented at the 2016 Kentucky Art Education Association (KyAEA) Conference, which took place on September 30th and October 1st at the Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY.
Before enrolling at the Florida State University (FSU), Woodruff completed his undergraduate studies and initial art teaching certification at the Kentucky Wesleyan College. He then conducted and finished his masters thesis research at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington, KY, where he worked exclusively with students with autism in the art room. During this period, he was also a high school arts history teacher. Being in his second year of the FSU MEX doctoral program, Woodruff is currently interning at The Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL.
His professional interests in the museum field focus on factors that enhance visitor learning, specifically on facilitating museum accessibility to all audiences regardless of disability and/or disenfranchisement. Although the specific focus of his dissertation remains in an evolving process as he advances through the MEX program, Woodruff is particularly interested in measuring the learning experience of museum-disfranchised visitors using both qualitative and quantitative research methods.
The KyAEA is a non-profit organization that promotes knowledge development, leadership, professional growth, and service with the goal to foster and expand art education. The association hosts an annual fall conference in which art education professionals, students, and advocates come together for two days to share and advance their knowledge, exchange ideas and initiatives, engage in networking, and encourage quality art instruction.
At this year’s KyAEA Conference, Woodruff presented on his masters thesis research, “Video Modeling in the Art Classroom: Enhancing the Learning of Students with Autism.” During the presentation, he highlighted the findings of his 2014 study, which aimed to examine whether video-based teaching methods, compared to traditional in vivo teaching methods, can improve and strengthen the learning of students with autism in visual art-based lessons. More specifically, it evaluated the effectiveness of video-based instruction in enhancing art skill development and art knowledge retention when used in a series of art lessons (color wheel, value scale, and pinch pot). The presentation addressed strategies consistently used in the special education classroom and the beneficial impact they have on this population when integrated into the art room.
When asked about his experience at the conference, Woodruff stated:
It was great to reconnect with teachers I’ve worked with previously and meet a number of new teachers. One of the biggest questions I got was “Why are you here?,” after telling them that I am currently a doctorate student at FSU. I would typically answer by telling them I was previously an art teacher in Kentucky and came to present some great information you should try in your classroom. KyAEA was a smaller conference when compared to the other conferences I’ve presented at this year, but that didn’t take away from the learning that took place there. It was filled with amazing ideas and awesome people. I will return again in the future.