Monthly Archives: March 2013


Using Technology to Create Educational and Interactive Art Tours at a Distance

The infamously funny film; “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” gives a comical and dramatic look around New York City, as well as a memorable introduction to the unique spiraling architecture New York’s Famous Guggenheim Museum of Art:

By doing a single Google Search; “art museum visit new york” this edu-blogger was able to find all of the following links in the sample Social-Connectivist Art and History Lesson Idea which we have created below:

The Emotions of Art: in Peace and in Conflict – (By Eileen Callejas, March 21, 2013)

Although playfully surfing down the rotunda hall of the Guggenheim would never be possible without the help of digital animation, one other playful and creative installation which gave the impression of suspending water in mid in the center of that museum was recently on display:

Gutai Exhibit: Splendid Playground:

Take a moment to listen to the Guggenheim Curator for this exhibit about its installation:

One need not go to the Museum itself to see the works of art that the museum owns, and may only see a selection of their total collection at any one time.  Many pieces from the Museum’s collection can also be viewed on their website: or carried in one’s pocket by downloading their art App:

One famous piece from the Guggenheim collection, which is exactly the opposite of the serene Gutai suspended-water installation is a work by the famous Pablo Picasso, depicting the emotion that takes place when another out-of-place water-creature is suddenly encountered on land:


Lobster and Cat by Pablo Picasso

Lobster and Cat (Le homard et le chat), January 11, 1965. Oil on canvas, 28 3/4 × 36 1/4 inches (73 × 92 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Thannhauser Collection, Bequest, Hilde Thannhauser, 1991 91.3916. © 2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

When you see this work, does it make you laugh?  Does it make you wonder how each of the animals might be feeling?  In this odd encounter, do these animals appear to be in a stance of bullying or defending?  Do you see how well Picasso is able to use simple shapes and brush strokes to depict movement, action, and emotion?  If this were a video clip, what might happen next?  How might this action-scene end?

Picaso not only has a collection of works at the Guggenheim, but a special exhibit depicting his art across the timeline of his life was displayed at a another prominent New York Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Here is a short 12 minute YouTube video with the MOMA Director and Curator discussing the exhibit:

Another Prominent New York Museum, where similar abstract and geometrically looking artwork can be seen, is the Folk Art Museum, which houses works of other Self-Taught Artists who made statements with their drawings, paintings, sculptures, and installations during their lives:

Folk Art:  Self-Taught Artists

One artist’s work in their collection, by Louis Monza, depicts a detailed image of the Conflicts and Current Events of his day; calling his work “The Comic Tragedy”:


The Comic Tragedy by Louis Monza

Read about his work, and then consider the current events in the news of your time.  Would artworks about these events depict the Comedic Tragedy of conflicts between two persons or different groups? How might you show the action and emotion of the moment, or how the situation affects others in our world.

Whether you are a famous artist, or a Self-Taught artist, you can create your statements alone, and put them on display, or you can get collaborative, like the Gutai, to make and share your art and statements around the world:




Technology Integration Ideas for a unit like this, or other Virtual Tour of an Art Museum or Exhibit Include:

Idea 1:

Notice that the Museum Collections of Picasso’s work are like Photo Links Lists or Pin Boards online:

Picasso’s at the MOMA:

Picasso’s at the Guggenheim:

Download a painting and drawing application to your computer or mobile device,

and then create an abstract depiction of the assigned current events, using your art to make a statement about the present time in history.  The class can collaborate by gathering their digital drawings together to create a class Pinterest Board: to share your “collection” of artworks.

Idea 2:

Remember the works of Picasso, Monza or the Gutai.  Work with your team to create a “Word Cloud” or “Wordle.”  Start by making a list of words that their art pieces make you think of.  Edit or select the specific colors and fonts that coordinate with the art piece you are describing, so that the two would look good hanging on a museum wall side by side.  Once your team “Wordle” is approved by the teacher, share it with the appropriate Museum’s Facebook Page or Interactive Twitter Feed Account, so that it can be viewed by the public.  Remember to list the name of the artwork and artist it is written about, and include the names of each of your team members in the sharing post.

Idea 3:

Create a team WikiSpace: where you house a piece of “progression” artwork similar to Picasso’s Linoleum Block Prints shown in the exhibit tour.  Decide as a group on a story from our current events, which is similar to what we have been learning in history class.  Use the drawing and shape tools in PowerPoint, or another Drawing App, in which each student takes turns building on to the same picture, one at a time.  Decide who gets to go first, and who will add the finishing touches on your collaborative work.  Save the image at each turn/stage as a single slide or individual .jpeg file, and post them to your WikiSpace.  Also, include a collection of notes or journal entries from each team member, explaining what it was like to collaborate on one art project. Explain, also, how your team overcame any conflicts while working together on a changing “progression” project.

Idea 4:

Use the interactive online tools provided by the Guggenheim Museum to experience the Gutai exhibit  Read more about the life and works of the Gutai group, and use the Guggenheim’s “Please Draw Freely” link to “draw” or “add to” another digital artwork inspired by their exhibit.  ( You must provide an e-mail address to interact with this site.  This Idea may only be available for a limited time; in conjunction with the exhibit.)

Idea 5:

Use Skype, Google Hangouts, or the “Conferences” feature in the Instructure: Canvas CMS

to host a live video-chat or screen-sharing session with a Museum Docent or Group Tour Director, University Professor, or Art Student in New York City. Check the museum websites for phone numbers and information about how to schedule a live group tour, and inquire if someone from their staff can assist in a virtual Question and Answer Session with your students.  If docents or tour staff are not available, then inquire for contact information to nearby universities with art or art teaching certification programs, who may have volunteer students willing to chat and share an experience similar to a “Virtual Photo Walk,” of the city and the walk leading up to the Museums, as well as  through the Museum gift shops, if permissible.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 21, 2013 in Uncategorized


Defining Distance Learning as it Changes

Easily a quick Google or YouTube search can provide a reader the definition of what Distance Learning has come to mean in our modern technologically linked society, with its formal roots as far back as the postal service, while it’s informal roots may go dating back to when nomads and merchant ships carried artifacts and printed knowledge from one shore to another, leading to the spread and self-study of anything from the Phoenician alphabet, to the art of crochet (EPCOT, 2013 & Maine Maritime Museum, 2013).   The main concept of distance education being, that the teacher and student are at some separation, by time, distance, or understanding, and the knowledge or information is being transported from one to the other in some way (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zavacek, 2012).

wordle distance learning word picture pdf

Whether by sailing ship, horseback courier, or in the mail by rail, those who have desired to teach, and those who have desired to learn have managed to communicate ideas with one another.  As the technology of communication has changed, so has the advancement of distance learning.  Even in the past 5 to 10 years, the increased use of the internet, along with greater access to streaming video such as You Tube, have created international surges in crowd-sourced instruction and study, especially in areas of “making” and “doing” that have been difficult to translate onto paper and publish into books for shipping, as was necessary before for most types of “correspondence” or “self-study” courses in the few hundred years before (Edutopia, 2013).

Surprisingly, as I was doing my own You Tube search on the topic, (having grown to understand that it is now becoming counter-productive for a learner, or an educator, to un-necessarily re-invent the wheel in order provide or produce learning materials to share before first doing a literature and media review…) I came across a video segment, that for the first time, had me considering the challenges of quality and accreditation of my own studies, and the unique field in which I use distance learning; the elder and adult disabled populations; for their crafts and elective interests topics.   As it turns out, there is far more to the history of distance learning’s progress in America, and the separation of its multiple branches (edu-tainment vs. trade skills study vs. scholarly pursuits) that make distance learning so challenging to view as a single subject of study.  This historical inter-weaving, use, and maturing of distance education is eloquently presented in a lengthy but mesmerizing You Tube video by the Distance Education and Training Council, titled, The American Way to Learn:

This program not only reviewed the similar timeline and founding scholars presented in Walden University’s course media and text, reinforcing the concept that today’s definition of formal distance learning is, “institutionally based, sharing of data and multimedia, via interactive telecommunications, between teacher and student at some level of time or distance separation,” it also emphasized the value of self-regulation among the industry and its institutions (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012) & (DETC, 2011).  This is especially poignant when speaking of the value of educating a person, when it is funded by another person, institution, or government.  This led me to investigate the accrediting process that is undergone by my own University in which I am enrolled.  In a detailed video, Walden University outlines the process that it recently underwent to renew its regional accreditation:

(Walden University, 2012).

In the industry in which I work, however, the rise in open-source instructional media, and even crowd-sourced discovery and innovation, has as valuable an impact on humanity as the sense of security gained from institution-based quality of instruction, when considering the other side of the scale.  Rapid progress comes from both a fast-paced sharing of innovation to a focused group of specialists, as well as the slower collection and reflection of scholars and historians to remind society of the similarities in trends to where we have already been as a society (Edutopia, 2013) & (DETC, 2011).  It is this juxtaposition of experimental social-constructivist prototyping, which can now flow around the globe and be re-applied as new learning, worldwide, in as little as 48 hours, set side by side with the skills of cognitive reflection, which move the greater populous forward, with improved ease and a higher likelihood of experiencing success rather than experimental failure.  This was so creatively expressed in the video and related discussion posts that came across my Facebook news-feed earlier this week, from Edutopia:

So, as learners continue to apply these new communication technologies, with or without the support and structure of an institution or accrediting oversight, both the doers and the thinkers are now able to connect and progress at a more rapid pace than before.  Just as the steam-engine sparked the rapid expansion of correspondence-by-mail study, so too may the ever-increasing accessibility to media-based knowledge-sharing be to rapid expansion of open-source study and informal distance learning’s emerging renaissance.  The impact that this will have on the definition of “distance learning” and “distance education” being institution-based, may lead to re-defining either distance education, or the loosening  of the definition of what constitutes the governing “institution” in the future, to include, businesses, associations, organizations, and topic masters; all quite similar to the history that was shared in the DETC documentary.

It seems today I again learned, that history, regardless of the technology being applied, may once again repeat itself – and all of this I was able to learn through Distance Education.

1 Comment

Posted by on March 10, 2013 in Uncategorized