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April 23, 2007

Back to the Beginning

So, as I said in my first entry, the disadvantage of logging your blogs all at once, is that you run the risk of putting things out of order. At the start of the semester, when we began discussing our technology applications, I was sitting on a new technology which I had recently been trained in, but hadn't used. Enter: ArtsConnectEd. The tool that I had been trained in is called Art Collector and it allows students to do searches of all the digitally archived works from both the Institute of Art and the Walker Art Center. Students can immediately link to whatever information the museums have digitally linked to the works. Sometimes it is just the basic tombstone information... who, what, when, how. Sometimes, though, there is a write up on the artist, or the time period, or technique. So, it is a slick tool as just a search and learning tool. What I wanted to try with Art Collector, though, was the function that allowed gallery creation with text and images from elsewhere on the internet, for the purposes of writing a report on a photographer.

To start with, I introduced the task by having the students view a website I had made about a painter. Their instructions in general were to create a website (instead of a paper) on a photographer of their choice. They had to come up with 500-750 words on the biographical, factual information available about their photographer, and 500-750 words on the work of the photographer, including why they thought their work was significant, and a close look at one work. To me, this seemed a simple task that shouldn't take that long. Our kids write lengthy papers all the time, and I wasn't even going to be strict about formatting. We were, after all, in Photo class.

My hope was that the students would learn new information about a photographer that was creating or had created work that they liked or related to. I thought that the easing of formatting requirements would speed them up, and save me a few groans. I also hoped that in the end, I would have a group of websites and information that could be looked at by future students to learn about some significant photographers. I also thought that the idea of sharing websites would be interesting to them, and motivate them to do better work.