Monday, January 15, 2018

X Degrees of Separation - The Connections Between Artworks

The big news over the last few days about Google's Arts & Culture app has focused on people using the app to find their doppelgangers in the museum collections digitized by Google. While it is a neat feature, there are other Google Arts & Culture experiments worth trying. One of those is called X Degrees of Separation.

X Degrees of Separation lets you select two works of art in the Google Arts & Culture collection and then see works that can connect them. The purpose of X Degrees of Separation appears to be to show viewers how cultures can be connected through art. Each image that appears in the connections is linked to an individual page that will include a bit of information about the work. Depending upon the work that you've selected you may not get much more information than the artist's name and the museum in which the work is displayed. None-the-less, X Degrees of Separation is an interesting project.

Applications for Education
X Degrees of Separation could be a good jumping-off point for an art history lesson. Have students pick two artworks and see the connections. Since the connections are displayed as just images with minimal background information, have students research the connecting works and then create explanations of how the works are connected.

Virtual Tours of Ancient and Modern Greece

Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Expeditions all provide good ways for students to see the sites of Greece. But if you would like your students to find a bit more detail about those sites, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens has an excellent resource for you.

The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens has produced a website called You Go Culture where you can find virtual tours of ancient Greek sites. Select one of the nine tours to view videos, immersive photospheres, and to read about the sites within each tour. After watching a video overview of each site choose either "myth" or "experience" on the left side of the screen to select links to specific sites within the tour. Each of those links will lead you to text, photographs, and videos about the history of the site as well as information about the site today.

Applications for Education
The virtual tours produced by You Go Culture don't have the "wow" factor of a Google Expedition, but they are more accessible and more detailed than what you'll find through Google Expeditions. History teachers who are building reference pages in their classroom blog/ website would do well to include links to the virtual tours offered on You Go Culture.

H/T to Maps Mania

Midterm Elections - 5 Things You Should Know

2018 is a midterm election year in the United States. What's that mean? In short, it is the Congressional elections that happen in the middle of a president's term in office. But to find out what midterm elections really mean, students should watch 5 Things You Should Know About Midterm Elections. In this video produced by Keith Hughes students will learn why the party in the White House usually comes out behind in midterms, why voter turnout is low, what gerrymandering is, and the influence of independents in midterm elections.

Applications for Education
Keith did a great job with 5 Things You Should Know About Midterm Elections. It's the perfect length and pacing to use as an introduction to the topic. Six minutes is just long enough to cover the five distinct parts without being so detailed that it loses students who may not have much interest in the topic. Keith's use of graphs and charts is helpful too. Overall, I think the video is a great candidate for inclusion in a Civics course.

Use 5 Things You Should Know About Midterm Elections in a tool like EDpuzzle or TES Teach to build some questions of your own into the video.

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