Interactive Art History

Online Art History Resources

I’m already thinking ahead to next year- mostly because I love making and designing and am procrastinating from marking.  Below are the beginnings of some great art history resources to help students understand art history and to enjoy it@

Mr. Picassohead A fun way to learn about Picasso’s abstract style by making your own Picasso Head drawing.  It can be saved and put into their online gallery.

Architect Studion 3D–  architectural design inspired by Franklin Lloyd Wright.  You can create your own building and explore it as a 3D model.  This would be great for a grade 10 perspective drawing class.

Museum Box is a really great tool not only for art, but a way to visually desribe a historical event or to make an argument.  It allows text, images, videos, links and files. Very visual and many lesson plans for teachers.

Awesome web-based tool for songwriters!   At Jamstudio You can write the music online, save it, change tempo, key signature, style, everything!  I hope that this isn’t blocked at school because this is a great intro to basic recording, song writing and music theory.

Visual Acoustics combines the familiarity of simple paint programs with the intricacy of musical production. Brushes, consisting of one of four instruments, are painted across the screen to play notes. Brushes can be built up to create complex musical visions.

Even very young kids can compose original pieces using Morton Subotnick’s Creating Music. Just draw a song using a virtual sketchpad and your song plays back in real time using a QuickTime interface.

Mad Lib is a good one for drama to get kids writing scripts.

One way to address Earth Day this week and integrate environmental science into your art curriculum is through the interactive website Phototropism. This website allows you to create your own virtual sculptures using futuristic materials that react to environmental conditions.


Panoramic Photos in Photoshop Elements

Just thought I’d give this a try.  This was really easy to do using Photoshop Elements, using their Photomerge option (see tutorial here).  All I had to do was open up the series of photographs I had taken, then go to ‘file’ and ‘new’ and select the panoramic option.  It automatically stitches my open files together!

Digital Books

I read daily with Jaxon.  I am amazed at his love for reading and how he is now reading books to me (by looking at the pictures).  He is at the age now where he is started to pretend play and make up his own stories, improvise lyrics into familar tunes and even invisible friends have started showing up, in a matter of speaking.  With my grade eleven parenting class we have been looking at favourite children’s stories and the many ways stories can be told.  I was inspired by Robert Munsch when I took Jaxon to see him in Lindsay a while back and the way that he told his stories, personalized them and involved his audience.  So, as an experiment, we made interactive digital story books by retelling our old favourites in a new way.  Additionally, with more and more books becoming digital, I thought that this would be a powerful tool for my students to learn.

I began with “Scaredy Squirrel” by Canadian Author Melanie Watts.  This and another one of her series, “Chester”, I believe to be excellent examples of how young children can interact with books by predicting outcomes and seeing others points of view.  The value of this is from how the internet has changed- our kids our now commenting, and interacting with web 2.0 so this project works on many levels.

We used Photostory and Microsoft Powerpoint transformed into Active Inspire Flipcharts (so we could scribble on them).  However, as I continue researching, I am finding more and more exciting tools for making digital books.  Here is an example of my reading of Scaredy Squirrel.

Zooburst allows you to make 3D books on their site.  I signed up for an account, but there seems to be a delay to get approved.  This would be good as interactive story telling for elementary students…or stuff like…”What does a doggy say?”.

I’ve made my own Zooburst here– it’s unfinished, but you get the point.

Mixbook allows you to create free books online, kind of in the form of scrapbook from digital photos.  This would be a great exercise for an “about me” project or even a personal journal or poetry book perhaps.  The only cost comes from printing the book, which in the end, may be a nice outcome.  What makes this site better than what Walmart has to offer or other book making programs is that there are much more font choices, more room for text, and that the program can create automatic books for you if you wish.

Bookrix is great because it offers free books online to read BUT I think the really neat thing about this site is that you can upload and advertise your own digital book.  Students could write their own book and “digitally” publish it here.  Others could write book reviews or comment on the book.

Panraven is fabulous for creating dynamic digital books.  Students can add photos, text, videos and sounds.  Beautiful templates, easy to use and students could even collaborate.  I could see how this could be useful in co-op for presenting and reflecting upon their experiences.  And, you can still order a traditional printed book.

Playing Around

Toonadoo is a lot of fun.  It’s free, but I think for a limited time.  It seems to offer a lot of resources for the classroom and it was easy to use.  The only citicism that I would have about the program is that it si a little limiting with the slection, but I could see the possibilites.  Here’s my first, and sad, attempt.

Technology Everyday

I haven’t written in quite sometime, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking, practicing and experimenting with technology in the classroom.  At this point, I have gone from the initial stages of being overwhelmed and excited about different tools to the point where I can actually implement what I have learned and have now seen their effectiveness.

Screenr:  Basically, this is a free web-based service that records  your screencasts.  It is meant for Twitter users, but also allows you to create a user account, link to your saved screencasts, download your screencast or upload it to You Tube.   This is great for me to get use to recording myself in front of the computer without actually having to show my face.  I have already done two live screenrs as tutorials for how to use Photostory 3 and How to Insert Multiple Images into PowerPoint.  Normally I would have to be running around the classroom helping kids as they say “how do I do this again”, or “Ms Wyatt, I need help” to having their own tools to solve problems.  Also, if students miss a class or the demonstration, they can get caught up anywhere.  The possiblities are endless when it comes to digital art tutorials.

SchoolTube: A site much like You Tube except that its audience is educators and students.  It takes all the great things in You Tube, like videos and comments and puts them into a safe environment for school.  The bonus is that it isn’t blocked and my class can have its own channel.  The site offers many tutorials and examples of how videos can be used in the classroom.  I have a few videos uploaded on my channel from two of my classes.

Quite Tube: You Tube videos are fantastic, but quite often the comments or advertisments can be distracting or right out inappropriate for students.  Quiet Tube allows you to access a You Tube video without the ‘noise’, meaning the advertisements or suggested videos.  You can even link to the Quiet Tube version for teaching.

Google in the Classroom

My first prezi!

Google is not the perfect solution for the classroom, but for now, it’s the easiest to learn and the most accessible and dependable for students.  The only obstacles that I have found with using Google in the classroom is that Blogger is blocked at school and that students have to sign up for a google account, which can take be time consuming for some students.  I found that if the class all signed up for a Google account in the beginning of the semester, Google was very easy to implment as a teaching tool.

Sites I will be using in my presentation: which is the coolest presentation software I have ever used- mostly because I think in terms of mind maps and it keeps me on track when teaching a lesson.  Also, this is a great site for students who don’t have powerpoint at home on their computer.  In the end, there are some really impressive presentations being made using prezi. This is a great URL shortener.  Most students already use this for microblogging, but it is a better solution than paying for your own domain name.  In the end, the shortened URL is customizable and you can track how often it is accessed.

MCVITechProject This is an example of how Google Sites can be used in the classroom.  I invite MCVI staff to join me to collaborate on building resources, policies and perhaps training opportunites for integrating technology in the classroom.  I truly believe that we can all benefit from our own MCVI Professional Learning Network within the school.  All of my forms, and links to creating your own Google site can be found on this page.

Google Apps for DDSB This is where you can sign up to begin using Google sites through DDSB.  This won’t offer everything that a regular Google account offers, but there is a sharing option that you can use to link your work account to a personal Google account.

Photo-Manipulation Sites

Photoshop is my all time favourite tool, however, at first the learning curve can be quite steep and not all students have access to this software at home.  There are a number of sites that can serve as excellent introductions to the capabilities of Photoshop.  Below are a few of my favourites and a few examples of what they can do. is by far my new favourite.  It’s quick and and there are many cool effects that you can add to your photos for free.  Of course, it does have an upgrade option.  The only downfall is that you can’t combine the effects, you can only choose one.  My favourite effects are the hologram effect and the cartoon effect, and I find that I would use these a lot. is another great tool and is free online, also with an option to upgrade.  This is probably one of the most popular sites on the net, and I know that many of my students already use this.  I like it because you can combine the effects together so the end result can be more original.  Also, they don’t put the picknik mark on the image.

Now if you really want to impress you friends with cool effects on photos, try  They use a special facial detection software that allows you to insert your photos into way cool backgrounds.  Some are even animated.  The site doesn’t offer a huge range of effects, but new ones are added once in a while.  The only downfall is that the program won’t accept large picture files, which are usually ones taken right from your camera, so most often you need to make the file size smaller before you can upload them to the site.  You have to admit that the results are very impressive!