All News
Oct 14 2011

Bringing Arts Education to Classrooms across the Country

New York, N.Y. (October 14, 2011) – NYIT professor Stanley Silverman unveiled a program this week that uses technology to bring Broadway experiences to classrooms.

The stars of the musical The Addams Family led a live, Internet broadcast from the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway to middle school classrooms across the country. They brought the themes of the show to life, and encouraged students to pledge to be respectful of others, and tolerant of those who are different. The project is called “The Addams Family: No Snap Judgments.”

Silverman, the director of NYIT’s Technology Based Learning Systems Department, said the initiative “melds together technology, education, and humanities curriculum while bringing access to all students,” an effort that is at the foundation of NYIT.

Following the spirit of the virtually-connected event, NYIT President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., added in a video welcome that, in a time of budget cuts to arts in schools, the project adds the arts to STEM for STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).

Transforming classrooms with arts education and theater gives students richer educational experiences, Silverman said.  

During the musical, the character of Grandma asks her family to “define normal.” This line portrays the major themes of tolerance, acceptance, and celebrating differences in the show. Producer Stuart Oken, noted that the “kooky” characters of The Addams Family, originated from Charles Addams’ cartoons in The New Yorker, and were “proud to be different.”  

These themes are developed through media-rich educational projects in “The Addams Family: No Snap Judgments” module available to teachers for free on www.stagenotes.net.

Airing during national Anti-Bullying Month, the broadcast was hosted by Alexandra Robbins, author of The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth. Robbins told students to embrace their "quirks" as their best qualities now and in the future.

Dr. Joel Haber, clinical psychologist and nationally recognized parenting expert, encouraged students to “get out of their comfort zones” by embracing differences and supporting others who are bullied.

Students took the “No Snap Judgments pledge” with The Addams Family cast members Jackie Hoffman (Grandma), Zachary James (Lurch), Brad Oscar (Fester), and Adam Riegler (Pugsley). Everyone promised to “celebrate the differences among friends, family, teachers, and peers…be more accepting of each person…and make no snap judgments about them.” The “snap, snap” echoes a sound in the musical.  

From faraway classrooms and auditoriums, students asked the actors about acceptance, bullying, and encouraging diversity. Through distance learning and streaming technologies, hundreds of middle schools students were able to experience Broadway from their classrooms in Rochester, NY; Baltimore, MD; Orange County, CA; Chicago, IL; and New York, NY, among others. 

About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in more than 90 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has more than 14,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
 
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 89,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit nyit.edu.

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