The Art21 blog provides teachers with video, collaborative feedback, and articles involving ideas about teaching with contemporary art. Teachers don’t need to watch the video series, Art21, to reap the benefits of this blog. It’s education blog is unique in that it provides lesson concepts and ideas specifically surrounding current artists. It is a great tool to help bring the art world into your classroom.
It is organized by videos, guest blog posts, and education blog posts. These three main pages are set up in three columns. The first column contains the blog posts. The second contains a complete listing of blog posts categorized by contemporary artist, art medium, geographical area, and media format inserts. The third column contains outside links and archives.
Its audience focus is mainly art educators. I found Art21 really useful because its videos demonstrate ideas that we can use in our classrooms better than any written description. When I see a lesson idea played out, I have more confidence that I can recreate it myself.
Users can participate in the guest blog section of this web site. It promotes idea-exchange from all around the world. I liked this one posted by Joe Fusaro about students keeping sketchbooks to help build site-specific installations: http://blog.art21.org/2008/10/08/storytelling/.
Art Education 2.0:
Art Education 2.0 was built to help art educators use digital technology to improve their teaching. The website claims that Art Education 2.0 is meant to encourage best practices sharing, collaboration, group projects and professional development opportunities. This site is meant to appeal to every art teacher, at all levels, from the brand new techie to the experienced pro.
Art Ed’s site is organized with tab-based navigation. Content is very structured and consists of the Main page (complete with current projects and largest blog posts directory), an Invite page, MyPage, a Members page, Photos, Videos, a Forum page, a Groups directory page , Blogs, and a Chat page. At first glance, the site seems very meaty, as if it would contain a lot of resources for teachers new to technology, but I have to say that to me, the most enjoyable part of the site is the current projects on the Main page. The rest of the site is mainly filled with different ways for teachers to communicate, either through groups, blogs, online chat, forums, RSS, etc. The site mainly functions as a portal where art teachers can collaborate by using the various communication tools, and share photos and videos (hence the name 2.0). Regardless though, its current projects section alone makes the site worth mentioning in this blog.
My favorite project currently posted on the Main page is the View Out My Window Exhibition that you can also get your students involved in:
I would like to mention also that the above two cited web sites are really important to art teachers for more than just teaching resources. They contain activities for art teachers to participate in themselves, keeping their passion for their personal art practice strong, in turn keeping them inspired as teachers.
The Dana Foundation:
The Dana Foundation has an Arts Education Program section that supports professional development opportunities for art teachers, provides training to in-school arts specialists and professional artists who teach students in preK-12 in public schools, publishes periodicals and books related to the field, and organizes conferences around specific arts education topics. Dana also sponsors many public events like lectures, forums, podcasts, and radio programs. The site is set up in a three column, multi-section style, that allows visitors to jump from main headlines other specific interest areas, without a lot of mouse-clicks. It’s focus is providing arts education news to the general public, but also wants its site to be used by educators and policymakers.
Most important for art teachers is its blog on current books, news, and online journals that explores various topics of interest to the art educator. BrainWork, a bi-monthly newsletter, reprints news articles about arts education. The Dana Foundation web site also has several special publications for students and educators our field.
While this site’s Art Education section is not as large as some sites, because the Dana Foundation focuses mainly on education policy surrounding specific brain development issues, it brings me more articles based on scientific research than other sites, proving the value of arts education. It’s blog’s current top story:Arts Advocates are Left Behind Online shows that I can come to one central location or subscribe to one RSS feed, to find the latest articles on Arts Education. Journal articles and radio web casts are also free. I think it is really important for us as teachers to be aware of what is happening in education policy. More importantly, we need to arm ourselves with knowledge of why teaching art is so important. I have forwarded some of these articles to other subject area teachers in my school, hoping to shatter some ideas that they have about the value of the classes I teach.