How can I use ArtsConnectEd to teach 21st Century Learning Skills?

Q: How can I use ArtsConnectEd to teach 21st Century Learning Skills?

For more information on 21st Century Learning Skills, see the Institute of Museum and Library Services' website (http://www.imls.gov/about/21stcskills.aspx) or refer to the IMLS report titled "Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills" (PDF, 2.15 MB).

A: Use ArtsConnectEd to teach the four C's: critical thinking and problem solving; communication; collaboration; creativity and innovation.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Have students do a research project using information available on ArtsConnectEd. Here are some suggested prompts:
  • Research various cultural or regional artworks and think about their significance in religious, ceremonial, or daily practices.
  • Research a different time period and the techniques used to make art. Compare the techniques to modern inventions that have changed how artists create artwork. 
  • Use Art Collector's compare/contrast feature to display two images at once. Ask the students which artwork is older and why. Discuss the clothing, transportation, hairstyles, buildings, etc.
  • Use ArtsConnectEd as a tool to present research projects and ideas. Within ArtsConnectEd, students can create an Art Collector Set containing images, videos, and text they encountered in their research. To create a successful Set, students will have to consider sequence, transitions, and citations. Students can customize their Set by creating and attaching a PDF to supplement their presentation. They can publish their sets to share with other ArtsConnectEd users and classmates.
  • Using ArtsConnectEd images to practice VTS in the classroom is a great way to get students communicating about art. They are able to express their own ideas and share ideas with the group. What’s going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? What else can you find?
  • A research project can be structured as a collaborative effort. Take one main theme and divide the project into sub themes. Have the students combine their projects at the end and discuss as a class the overall theme. For example, if the theme is art of the Americas, the sub themes can be the different regions such as Arctic and Subarctic, Plains and Prairie, Northwest Coast, Southwest, and Woodlands. 
  • Create a class Art Collector Set: Have each student choose a favorite piece of artwork and discuss why he or she chose the particular piece. Create a set to see all the class choices together. Discuss any common themes and styles within the set. To take the project one step further, create a virtual art exhibition with the set. Come up with an exhibition name, have the students write a summary of the theme, and plan the layout of the gallery space. (This idea can also be used in small groups rather than the entire class)
Creativity and Innovation: Use images from ArtsConnectEd as inspiration to create art activities or writing projects in the classroom. Some examples:
  • Look at portraits (or “Portraits” Art Collector Set) and draw a background for the person depicted or add a thought bubble. Use the compare/contrast feature to create a dialogue between two artworks.
  • Look at artwork featuring landscapes. Draw a landscape and add items such as people, animals, and vehicles that fit the setting and time period.
  • Look at an image and imagine it is a book cover or movie poster. Write a description of the plot.
  • Look at still life paintings and recreate the still life with a new background. Either create a similar background, or place the objects in a contrasting setting.
  • Choose a piece of artwork and recreate the image but change one of the main principles or elements. For example, change warm colors to cool colors and vice versa. As a class, discuss how the change affects the artwork.
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