Arts, Education and Technology

Dr. David Perkins of the Harvard Graduate School of Education reminds us that, “technology in itself is neither good or bad, it is benign. How we use it is what matters.”

This field of work concerns the use and employment of aesthetic uses of technology in the arts. It is about leveraging new and emergent technology and multimedia in performance, teaching, assessment and research. Collaboration and creativity and innovation are key components in the interdisciplinary study of music, dance theater, visual art, film and video.

The arts may be scarce in many public schools, especially in disadvantaged communities. But, a strategic use of digital technologies  and media are offering young people new ways to engage in the arts – according to their interests. There are several new reports that describe these new technologies, young people’s media use and a framework for thinking about “interest-driven” arts learning.

There is a great opportunity encourage broad cultural participation and understanding through media and digital arts by developing comprehensive programs that incorporate contemporary and relevant societal issues with new technologies and advances in art education. It is not enough to recognize the vital links between the arts, humanities, social &natural sciences and mathematics. We must amplify and exploit the opportunity for holistic learning. Ideally, educators should have access and be invested in appropriate technology based trainings on arts integration and implementation in order to provide a more equitable environment in a contemporary setting.

Mr. Mc Neal is passionate about the arts, and deeply invested in exploring its meaningful application in creating greater access and equity in education.


Nutcracker Interactive Storybook App

Producer, Researcher, Writer & Project Lead

Designed for children ages 6–10 and their families, this richly illustrated storybook app features interactive animations and fun facts, photos, and videos about dance, music and San Francisco Ballet’s production of the holiday classic.

Mr. Mc Neal served as the visionary, primary creative force and project lead behind this most unique endeavor – the San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker App. Mr. Mc Neal guided the various partners and components to envision a new way of sharing this legendary story in a most innovative way.

Mr. Mc Neal advocated for and succeeded in in developing a product that was culturally and ethnically diverse in its representation of characters. This inclusive perspective would not only make the app appealing to a broad range of people, but would give inspiration to young dance students (of color) around the world.

Dance-IT, An Interactive Media Movement Experience

Co-Creator, Producer, Researcher, Writer & Project Lead

Dance-IT is a live interactive video exhibit. It was envisioned by Charles Chip Mc Neal and sponsored by by San Francisco Ballet, one of the nation’s premier dance companies, in honor of their 75th anniversary season. Like a live video “photo booth,” Dance-IT allows the public to participate with professional dancers projected on video screens inside opened-sided kiosks. Adults and children touch a screen to view, and dance along with, an expert dancer performing Afro-Cuban, Japanese, Kathak, Mexican Folkloric, Tahitian, West African, modern, ballet or hip-hop styles. The system allows participants to record their dances, which become a permanent part of the exhibit as their performance is replayed on screens outside the kiosk in a continuous montage. Visitors can view previous performances for inspiration before taking their own turn.

Hip Hop Dance
Hip Hop Dance Hip Hop Dance

West African dancers:
Borrina Mapaka and Mandjou Kone

Presented in 2008 at the San Francisco Public Library, the Orange County Performing Arts Center, and UC Irvine’s Calit2, Dance-IT has drawn enthusiastic audiences of all ages, including long-time dance lovers and newcomers alike.

The purpose of Dance-IT is to help people connect with dance by becoming active participants. Children and adults alike can experience a variety of dance styles while learning about different cultures from around the world.
Production completion date: April 2008

Showcase Venues
San Francisco Public Library. April 2008.
California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. November 2008.
Orange County Performing Arts Center. November 2008.

Charles McNeal, San Francisco Ballet – Creator and Producer
Stacey Blakeman, San Francisco Ballet – Co-creator
John Crawford – Media Consultant

Videos & Film Produced and Directed by Chip Mc Neal

 My Technology Meal: A Short Film by Chip Mc Neal