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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

7 Good Resources for Art Teachers and Students

I was recently contacted by a reader who wanted to know what I had in my archives for art lessons and digital art galleries that students can access. While this isn't every visual art resource in my archive, these are seven of my personal favorites.

The Art Project powered by Google features interior tours of seventeen world famous art museums. Select a museum from the list on the homepage and you can virtually tour it using the same interface style you experience in Google Maps Streetview. Inside the museum just double click to zoom to a location. You can also open a floor plan overview and click on a room to navigate to that part of the museum. The best part of the Art Project powered by Google is the option to create your own artwork collection while visiting each museum. As you're touring a museum click on the "+" symbol on any work of art see it in greater detail, to add it to your collection, and to open background information about that work of art. To create a collection you must be signed into your Google account.

Smarthistory is a free online alternative to expensive art history textbooks. Smarthistory was developed by art history professors Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker. Smarthistory features more than just images of notable works of art. Videos lessons, VoiceThread lessons, and audio lessons about eras and themes in art history are what make Smarthistory a valuable resource. Students can browse all of the resources of Smarthistory by artist name, style of work, theme, or time period. Smarthistory is now partnered with Khan Academy to deliver lessons.

Picturing America is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. Picturing America is an interactive gallery of artwork related to events, people, and themes in American history. You can browse the gallery chronologically or by theme. Click on any image in the gallery to learn about the artist and the artwork itself. Along with the background information for each image, Picturing America provides links to additional resources for learning about the artwork and artists.

The World Digital Library hosts nearly 5,000 primary documents and images from collections around the world. Sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the mission of the World Digital Library is to promote the study and understanding of cultures. The WDL can be searched by date, era, country, continent, topic, and type of resource. In my search of the WDL I noticed that roughly half of the resources are historical maps and images. The WDL aims to be accessible to as many people as possible by providing search tools and content descriptions in seven languages. The WDL can also be searched by clicking through the map on the homepage.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has a great collection of multimedia, interactive features about art and artists. In these features you can learn about styles of art, specific works, and the artists. There is a mix of videos and slideshows contained in the interactive archive. The archive contains features about Picasso and Pollock as well as artists whose works aren't quite as famous.

Art Babble is a video website designed and maintained by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The purpose of Art Babble is to provide a place for people to learn about the creation of art, artists, and collections through quality video productions. Visitors to Art Babble will find videos related to many forms of and formats for art. Browse the video channels and you'll find videos covering a wide array of topics including abstract art, European Art and Design, African Art, graphic design, glass, sculpture, surrealism, and much more.

MOOM, the Museum of Online Museums, is a list of museums that offer online exhibitions. In some cases the museums include virtual tours and in other cases the museums online exhibits are simple photo galleries. Some of the notable museums featured in the Museum of Online Museums include the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tell Your Administrators, EdCamp Leadership Happens This Summer

On Sunday I published my video interview with one of the founders of the EdCamp Foundation, Dr. Kristen Swanson. Since then I learned from Kevin Jarrett about EdCamp Leadership.

EdCamp Leadership is an EdCamp for school administrators to connect and share their ideas about school leadership. The event is going to be held on July 26th at the Foundation for Educational Administration (FEA) Administration Conference and Training Center in Monroe Township, New Jersey. Like all EdCamp events, EdCamp Leadership is free and anyone can lead a session about a topic that is important to him or her. You can register for the event here

Pace Recorder Helps Students Pace Speeches

PaceRecorder is a simple Android app that records your voice and gives you instant feedback about the pace with which you are speaking. The feedback comes in the form of three simple symbols; a turtle, a rabbit, and a thumbs-up. If the turtle appears while you're speaking it indicates that you're relaxed or perhaps a bit too slow. The rabbit indicates excitement and perhaps that you're speaking a bit too quickly. And, of course, the thumbs-up means you're right on track.

Here is a demo of PaceRecorder.



Applications for Education
One of the nervous habits that most people have when they speak to a large audience is to speak too quickly. This is especially true for students who are giving presentations to a group for the first time. PaceRecorder is a free Android app that aims to help people better pace their speeches.

Typing Club for Google Chrome & A New Teacher Portal

Typing Club is a popular website offering free online touch typing lessons for students of all ages. Recently, through an email from one the Typing Club founders, I learned that Typing Club is available as a Google Chrome Web App. The Web App functions the same way as the website. As you type you are given instant real-time feedback about your accuracy and speed. Unlike other typing lessons that make you wait until an activity is completed to determine your accuracy or speed, Typing Club recalculates that information with each keystroke.

Applications for Education
Typing Club provides a free portal service for teachers to use to track their students' progress. In addition to use of the standard lessons, the portal service allows teachers to create customized lessons for their students.

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