Indiana Teachers Redraw Lesson Plans with Art Databases
Giuliana Bullard Institute for Museum and Library Services
Eleventh graders in Suzanne Mance's geography class at Avon High
School in Avon, Indiana, get a dose of fine art in their introduction
to geography. In one lesson her students play detective and try
to determine the cultural characteristics and geographic influences
of two proto-Greek communities using only images of art. From
the imagery in the art and the types of artifacts shown, the students
often can deduct that one society, the Minoans, lived near the
water and had a protected island lifestyle, while the other, the
Mycenean, had a warfaring culture. In another lesson students
are shown a picture of Albrecht Dürer's "Knight, Death
and the Devil" and are asked to approach the etching as a
reporter, coming up with answers to the who, what, when, where
and why. It is an exercise that leads to discussions of symbolism
in art, the history of the Renaissance, and the Black Death.
Mance is one of more than a hundred teachers in a nine-county
area of Central Indiana who can access free art images on-line
through the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
(IUPUI) Libraries K-12 Community Project. Funded through an IMLS
National Leadership Grant for museum-library collaboration, the
project provides public and private schools and libraries free
access to two commercial art databases: Corbis Images and the
Grove Dictionary of Art Online. Beyond access to images, the project
supports the development of activities that focus on learning
through art by conducting workshops and testing other model collaborative
projects with elementary schools, libraries, and museums.
The project makes available to teachers and librarians thousands
of art images that can be used for educational purposes. Participants
obtain access to the databases by logging onto the project website
and providing the Internet Provider (IP) address for their organization.
Within a day or two, the school or library has a connection to
the databases, which allows staff members to search the database
for images and descriptive text, download images, and, where there
is a printer, print out materials.
Within the first three months of 2000, 16 school districts and
50 public and private schools signed on for access to the databases.
June Ward, the project director, says that the project provides
resources that would otherwise be too pricey for school libraries
or smaller public libraries and it points toward the benefits
of cost sharing among regional institutions for licensed material.
Roughly 70 schools and more than 10 libraries now access the databases.
Project staff negotiated a license for the databases that allows
them to be used for almost any educational activity. While the
arrangement was unusual for the database companies, it was noted
in a recent report to IMLS that the project may have opened new
avenues for the databases, which typically market to commercial
and higher educational users. Corbis Images and Grove Dictionary
of Art Online are interested now in exploring other pilot applications
for K-12 learners.
During the summer of 1999, the project offered mini-grants to
a dozen teachers so that they could attend a workshop on integrating
art into their curriculum. The teachers developed plans for including
art in their lessons and prepared study units for using art in
their disciplines. Ward says the teachers discovered something
that Suzanne Mance already knew: that the visual arts can be worked
into any subject-that they are multi-disciplinary. She said, "We
learned from the focus group that the workshop was a very positive
experience for teachers. They all said that they would never teach
the same way again."
Students, too, are motivated by the art in their studies. According
to the project's report, students seem to remember the images
used in the lessons, even after a long period of time. They also
love discussing the visual arts, and they even enjoy accessing
the online databases themselves.
The project continues to offer teacher workshops, many of which
are held at the partnering museums. The Eiteljorg museum in downtown
Indianapolis features Native American and Western art. In the
spring of 1999, the museum offered four workshops for K-12 teachers.
Held in conjunction with a traveling exhibition, called "Americanos:
Latino Life in United States," the workshops drew a much
larger group of teachers than the museum typically experiences.
Cathy Burton, Education Director at the museum, attributes the
success of the workshops to a number of factors, including the
involvement of the IUPUI K-12 Community project. She said, "It
seems like we knock ourselves out preparing materials and checking
with teachers on the kinds of things they need, but sometimes
we don't get the word out to everyone who could use what we have."
She noted that by telling June Ward about the workshops, she was
able to get the word out and reach more teachers than ever. "We
had such outstanding attendance, that we opened the museum an
hour earlier," Burton added.
The most recent set of workshops included a two-day session at
the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where 25 teachers were introduced
to a concept called visual thinking strategy. Based on the studies
of museum educator Abigail Housen--who identified five stages
of art viewers, from the most naïve to the most sophisticated--visual
thinking strategy is an art-focused curriculum for developing
critical thinking skills. It helps students progress from making
the most basic personal connect to art to analyzing elements of
Troy Smythe, the manager of the Indianapolis Museum of Art's
teacher and school program, is excited about using this new methodology
to extend the reach of the museum's resources beyond traditional
art education. At the start of the session, he took a poll to
find out how many teachers were art educators. Suspecting that
most were, he was surprised to learn that only four of the 25
had formal art education and that there were math and physics
instructors in the group. He said, "We have long fought the
battle to change how we are perceived in the education community.
The visual arts reflect social issues, philosophy, geography,
as well as aesthetic and other obvious issues. It's just a matter
of seeing the links. At the museum, we are trying to figure out
how to awake teachers' yearning [for fine arts]."
The next stage for the project is to identify library-based uses
for the databases. Ward says that they are exploring applications
especially geared for seniors, home schoolers and stay-at-home
moms. The databases are currently available to public libraries
in Central Indiana; plans include expanding availability to every
public library in the state, perhaps through a connection with
Inspire, Indiana State Library's statewide network of databases.
If additional funding is secured the project will also be expanded
to include many additional partners, including additional library
networks and distance education groups.
Beverly Martin of the Johnson Public Library is an advisor for
the K-12 Community project. She says that the project is ultimately
about building collaborative partnerships that foster greater
awareness about each participating institution. "Other members
of this partnership came to see the public libraries as responsible
for lifelong learning in the community. We had always thought
our role was for lifelong learning. It's nice that other people
are seeing it as well. The project is giving us all a greater
While project developers work to take the resource statewide,
those teachers already using the database and attending the workshops
continue to voice their approval. Mance says, "This project's
a gem. It brings together technology and art, and kids love it.
The technology is important, but a lot of times it comes into
the school at the expense of the arts. The project helps teachers
brings arts into the classroom, and it is so easy to do."
Grant: 1998 National Leadership
Grant LL-89954-98 (Extended until 9/30/01)
Contact: Sonja Staum-Kuniej
Art Library of IUPUI University Library
N. Pennsylvania Street
Grant Partners: University Library, Indiana
University-Purdue University, Indianapolis
Museum of Art
Project Partners: Children's Museum
Department of Education
Dictionary of Art Online
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IUPUI Project Uses Web to Link Hoosier Students, Art Masters
For Immediate Release
February 21, 2000 For More Information Contact:
Lyn Mettler, (317) 274-7711
INDIANAPOLIS -- From Van Gogh's "Starry Night" to Munch's
"The Scream," Central Indiana K-12 students are viewing
artwork from museums and collections around the world from the
comfort of their classroom through a program offered by University
Library at IUPUI.
The IUPUI University Library Community Project is a collaboration
of Central Indiana schools, museums and public libraries, funded
by The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and is
the only project of its kind in the nation. It allows any school
in the nine-county Central Indiana area free access to databases
that include thousands of digitized art images and numerous lesson
plans. CD-ROMs containing similar information are available to
Indiana schools outside of the nine-county area.
Students at participating schools log on to IUPUI's University
Library web site at: www.ulib.iupui.edu/imls. Once at the site,
they may enter either of two databases--Corbis Images or Gorve
Dictionary of Art Online--which provide access to the digital
images and text.
The project's dual aim is to expose students to art and provide
teachers with support and guidance in incorporating art into their
lessons. The Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Children's Museum,
the Eiteljorg Museum, the Indiana State Museum, and the Indiana
Historical Society also have pitched in to help educate and inspire
local teachers by offering support and holding workshops.
Last summer, a dozen Hoosier teachers received mini-grants through
the program to develop lesson plans that may be used in any classroom
connected to the project. These plans are available through the
Two of the mini-grant recipients, media specialist Diana Rennels
and third-grade teacher Jill Taylor of Brownsburg Elementary School,
found that the project had a profound impact on their classroom.
"The integration of art into my third-grade curriculum has
enriched the academic and personal lives of my students,"
said Taylor. "Like Rembrandt and Norman Rockwell, my students
painted their own self-portraits and even used a Rockwell print
as a springboard for a simulated ISTEP writing experience. Our
project, entitled 'From the Emerald Isle to Little Ireland: the
Legacy of Farming in Brownsburg,' was selected by Congressman
Ed Pease and will be part of a national database after the formal
presentation of our project to the Librarian of Congress in May.
The possibilities are endless."
Project leaders will apply for another grant from IMLS this coming
fall to continue and expand the program. They hope to eventually
digitalize artwork from local museums and expand the on-line program
to include schools throughout the state.
To sign up for the program, schools should contact Sonja Staum-Kuniej,
Community Project Director at (317) 920-2432 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Access to the database is also currently available through computers
at IUPUI libraries, Marion County Public Libraries, and public
libraries in the eight counties surrounding Indianapolis.
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Art Meets Technology at IUPUI Summer Workshops for Teachers
For Immediate Release
June 13, 2000 For More Information Contact:
Lyn Mettler, (317) 274-7711
INDIANAPOLIS -- IUPUI will help Indiana's teachers use technology
to bring art into the classroom at three upcoming workshops for
elementary teachers at University Library and the Indianapolis
Museum of Art.
During the workshops offered June 12-15, June 15-16, or June 19-22,
teachers will learn how to use the resources provided by the IUPUI
University Library Community Project that allows access to visual
art images that can then be incorporated into class projects.
The IUPUI project is a collaboration of the Indianapolis Museum
of Art and other museums, Central Indiana schools, and public
libraries funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services
(IMLS). It allows schools in the nine-county Central Indiana area
free access to databases containing thousands of digitized art
images and numerous lesson plans. It is the only program of its
kind in the nation.
Media specialist Diana Rennels and third-grade teacher Jill Taylor,
both of Brownsburg Elementary School, will lead the workshops
at University Library June 12-15 and June 19-22, entitled "Picasso
Makes a House Call." Both received mini-grants through the
Community Project to develop lesson plans and class projects that
incorporate the artwork viewed online into the classroom.
Congressman Ed Pease selected their class project entitled "From
the Emerald Isle to Little Ireland: The Legacy of Farming in Brownsburg"
to be included in the Library of Congress National Digital Database
Project. The Library of Congress and IMLS praised the project
for its uniqueness and encouraged the teachers to present the
project nationally to other schools and educational agencies.
The two-day workshop at IMA, June 15-16, will focus on Visual
Thinking Strategies, a teaching model for students and teachers
founded on the premise that finding meaning in works of visual
art involves a rich range of thinking skills.
The workshops are free and teachers who write well-developed
instructinoal plans may receive $100. Teachers can also earn three
hours of graduate credit or Continuing Renewal Units by attending
the workshop. Media specialists are welcome to attend.
Workshops begin at 9 a.m., break for lunch from noon-1 p.m.,
and conclude at 3 p.m. At IUPUI's University Library workshops
will be held on the lower level in computer classroom room UL
0106. At IMA classes will be held in the Riley Board Room on June
15 and in the galleries in the special events area on June 16.
For more information about the program or the workshops log on
to www.ulib.iupui.edu/imls or contact Sonja Staum-Kuniej at (317)
Editor's note: Media are welcome to attend any day of the workshops.
If possible, please contact Lyn Mettler at (317) 274-7711 if would
like to attend on at University Library or Amy Sorokas at (317)
923-1331 if you would like to attend one at IMA.
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