Occasional Thoughts on Educational Technology and Life by Judy Brophy

Monday, November 28, 2011

MORE Art to Experience

The great art gallery available on the web just keeps growing. While the web imposes some restrictions, it also allows additional features not available to the in-person viewer.

The University of Pittsburgh has published a digital version of its complete elephant portfolio of Audubon's Birds of America.
Prothonotary Warbler
The web version allows you to zoom in so close you cans see brush strokes. You can view metadata like the name of the engraver, and the size of the engraved plate, lest you forget that the birds were all drawn life-size.
You can even order reproductions and note cards.

To see Picasso's Guernica in an entirely new way, watch the YouTube animation Guernica 3D.

You are actually moving through the painting.

Guernica 3D
For more examples of unique ways to view art and architecture see a previous blog entry Seeing Art Better.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Case for Learning Something Entirely Different

Image by Matthew Ragan
I bumped into a listing of 9 new tools for creating music online recently. I am no musician and don’t teach or create music, but the tools tempted me. What fun it would be to try out some of those tools and see what I could create.  

Why don’t we do more exploring into areas that we don’t know?

As a technology facilitator to faculty I have noticed that most people, teachers and student, (and I include myself here) want to go only where they have gone before, perfect something rather than try something entirely new.  When was the last time you tried something entirely new?
I can hear the arguments in my own head
  •        Well, it wouldn’t be any good.
  •        It wouldn’t be professional looking
  •       It would be too difficult
  •      All I would learn is that I can’t do it

But we would be missing something. We would be missing the adventure and the joy of figuring out a puzzle with only our wits, and the combined wisdom of the group to help us.
You might not learn to create a passable piece of music using the new tools, but you might learn:
  •   How you attack a problem you haven’t seen before
  •  How others do it (and could I do that?)
  •  Where the edge of your comfort zone is for not knowing what you’re doing
  •  When confronted with something new, what is your preferred way to learn? Ask a friend, find a book, google it?

Image by Matthew Ragan
When was the last time you and your class had a learning adventure? An activity which you didn’t know how it would turn out? That had not been carefully planned and constructed and all the possible hard spots and bumps removed? When did you learn something together?

I think I’ll try some of those tools... or maybe some Morris Dancing.