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!

Critical Thinking OTF Conference 2010

Excellent critical thinking workshop presented by the OTF.  Again, high quality speakers, handouts, and exquisite hospitality (I feel like I am on vacation) but most of all, inspiration.  The strongest points that I have taken away from this experience are that it is not enough to use technology in the classroom, but because our students’ brains are wired differently, they think differently and as a result, we need to ask different questions in the classroom to assess learning.   We need to teach our students how to think critically about the world around them.  I think that this workshop compliments the new and updated “Bloom’s Taxonomy” that I have been looking at.

History will say, “They had WHAT tools? And they did WHAT with them?” – John Davitt
Shared by h011y via Twitter

Much of the presentation was supported by The Critical Thinking Consortium (TC2) by Garfield Gini-Newman and the google site for this workshop.  The converstation on twitter have been archived on Twapper Keeper Archive, which gives many outside excellent links and suggestions.  TC2 offers many free and paid resources on their site that give critical thinking projects for many subject lessons.  One example is online teaching resources for critical thinking about social sciences created in Alberta.  Also, the presentation from the conference is available here.  Again, rethinking my teaching.  At this point, I am starting new courses, so I am able to consider all of these ideas before I begin teaching.

Promethean was demonstrated and showcased for the workshop.  Promethean creates interative whiteboards and software to go with it.  It is great to see an alternative to the SMART board.  I actually really love the set up and particularly love the software, which is ACTIVE inspire.  The selling point, to me, about the software is that it is a combo between powerpoint and a whiteboard, which would be great for me.  Of course, there is no way I will able to have an interative white board in my room, but I think that this would work using a drawing tablet, ACTIVEinspire software, my projector and laptop.  Total cost would be about $150 and I am completely mobile and independant.

Moodle also has a great whiteboard option, but it is missing the pencil or brush tool, and seems to have some bugs.  This would be the perfect solution because Moodle could be used as a teaching tool and archiving tool.  It would save time because you could use the whiteboard feature to record lessons live during class time and they would be automatically saved on the course outline.  Much easier than update the website at the end of the day.

My learning was complimented by the connections I made and and the resources that were shared.  I hope to particiapte in The Global Education Collaborative and join in the discussion about collaborative teaching and learning.

Other good resources-

David Spencer is an expert user of wiki’s in his physics classroom.  Great resources for teachers.

Upcoming OTF workshops “It’s about Time”- using podcasts in the classroom.  Thanks to Jessica forintroduction to itunes!  It’s About Time, gives teachers up to three days release time to research a project in teams of three or four people- very cool-  will have to start my PLN at MCVI and recruit some members.

These workshops allow us to be self-directed and life long learners.

Wired for Success Jan 2010

After attending workshops presented by OSSTF, I was pleased to participate in discussions about technology in the classroom with participates from our board.  Congratulations to Jenn Walsh for presenting “Thinking Critically about Media” with Jaime Hunter at the conference.  The Wired for Success Conference was educational, but not as impressive as it could be.  The let down was that I didn’t touch a computer all day, so it was looking at a chocolate cake but not being allowed to eat it.  I learn by doing, so it was difficult for me.  It was most interesting to learn that DDSB is infact looking at the possibilities of technology.  The conference actually began by looking at the article written by the OPSA titled What If?  Technology in the 21st Century Classroom. A little late in having these conversations, but at least it’s happening.  If you missed what happened, the presentations will be available online at the DDSB TechTalk site.

A few exciting initiatives occuring in the DDSB:

Teacher/Laptop pilot program– which seems to be occuring mostly in elementary schools.  The comments were that it has completely changed the way teachers view teaching.  I hope that this opportunity will be made available to all of us.

Blocked Sites/Watchguard-  looking at different ways to provide access to students while still keeping students safe.  There are ways that teachers can request category changes to some sites, while others have to be approved by Admin and sent to Diane.  Instructions are on the DDSB TechTalk.

Teaching Paperless-  looking at the changing role of textbooks

DDSB Teacher Portal– pilot project used by laptop teachers to be unveiled at the end of the school year.  First phase is acccessible to some teachers.  The benefit of this portal is that you will be able to access your H: drive from home.

Moodle– a Learning Management System (online course software) is currently being used by Geoff Thompson at Uxbridge.  Is available for DDSB teachers who are interested by contacting David Rule.  What is great about this is that Moodle is connected with students had in everything online to your course at Moodle, and Moodle directs the submission to turnitin.

Great site suggestions:

Survey Monkey– online survey and questionnaire software

Today’s Meet- Create your own twitter groups for safe twittering and limited time use.

Rethinking Technology

“Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.” – Tagore

I am forever re-evaluating my methods of teaching.  Finding new ways to connect to students is what drives me, and in many ways gives me options to be a creative teacher.  Because I don’t always have the time to “make” in my personal life (especially lately), creating through lessons gets me excited about walking into the classroom everyday.  When I first begun teaching, I hoped that my collegues would share the same enthusiasm as myself- but I soon noticed that the visual arts and technology were not so well received as passionately as I hoped.  There were some of my co-workers that I connected with right of the bat and others I bumped heads with.  I soon learned that our differences in approaches to education were in fact just differences and I respected them for their own ideas.   Now, however, I am seeking role models or mentors to push my teaching methods further..I am looking for inspiration.  I have found these mentors throughout many school districts and, thanks to twitter, blogs and such, am beginning to find many experts throughout the world that I can learn from.

The biggest divide among directions to teaching seems to be the use of technology in education.  I did not grow up with the internet or computers, so I too am coming from a place where I am one step behind the current generation.  I have been persistant in seeking out techology, and this has become quite useful.  The best source to find out where to start is from the students.  From here, I wish to join forces with coworkers and develop a professional learning network to build a long term plan on how to fulfill a mandate of incorporating technology in the classroom.