Monday, March 3, 2014

Google Art Project and Google Cultural Institute Are Promising Tools for Common Core

EdTechTeam Guest Blogger 
Nicole Naditz
Google Certified Teacher
EdTechTeam Roseville Festival 
ft Google for Education Presenter

Did you know the Google Art Project can provide a way for your students to gain proficiency in Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts (ELA) in listening, speaking and writing? While at the EdTechTeam Roseville Festival featuring Google for Education this February, I attended fellow Google Certified Teacher Sean William's session on the Google Art Project and the new Google Cultural Institute and found myself updating my own presentation for later that day (below) with new features I noticed in Google Art Project during our "exploration time" in Sean's session. As a language teacher, I already loved the Google Art Project and had been sharing it with world language teachers since 2011. The project includes incredibly high-quality images from art all over the world.

For language teachers, this provides a quick, always-available source for art from the countries that speak the target language. Those artistic pieces can then be used for a variety of language activities, and more advanced students can engage in analysis or even create written or spoken works in the target language inspired by the art. To make this easier, users can create their own "galleries" by choosing artworks by theme, artist, time period, or any other means of organization the teachers prefer. What I noticed was that there has been an unannounced addition to the features in the galleries: the user who created the gallery can now add video or text annotations to the art. Teachers can use the text feature to provide written commentary for the students to read or to attach a YouTube video related to the art work for students to view.

Depending on the task assigned to students, those written or video annotations can be designed to provide students practice in the skills outlined for reading (informational or literary texts, depending on the nature of the "annotations") and also for listening. Better yet, students can create their own galleries and then add their own annotations to each work. They could even record their own videos and upload them YouTube so that they could be attached to the art works.

There are also some very compelling features that could be extremely beneficial as tools contributing to success in CCSS (in ELA and also the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards expected of all subjects). The most important of these features, in my opinion, is the use of all authentic, primary source documents in the exploration of a topic. To get a taste that will send you on a journey of exploration, try going to the Cultural Institute and in the search bar, type "Hitler" to get a taste of the types of documents available. Most are photos, but there are propaganda posters and other documents as well. Once the search returns results, a new series of options appears on the left, including a way to narrow by year or media type.

For language teachers, this will require a lot of additional exploring to see which topics include primary source documents in the target language, but the collection is quite extensive and could be easily used in social science, visual arts, ELA, and world language classes. Students can speak or write about the documents and photos, analyze multiple documents and explain connections between them, and more, helping students grow in their ability to analyze and to communicate their findings, both of which are key aspects of the ELA grade-level CCSS and the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards in CCSS.


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