A couple of weeks ago my students and I were discussing how I could assess them for the midterm. One student had a suggestion, we had been planning a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, so — she said — why not do a “scavenger hunt” of sorts in the museum. And then it occurred to me — why not have them take pictures of what they discovered during their scavenger hunt and upload the photos to Flickr where they could tag them, annotate them (using the “notes” feature) and leave descriptions and comments. Well, they loved the idea. And they all had cellphones with cameras.
So, we went to the museum and looked at some ancient Greek and Roman art, some Early Christian and medieval art, and then on to the Renaissance. We even stopped and looked at an Ingres portrait — a little of everything. They were wonderful! One student had never been to a museum of any kind before (having grown up in a very small town in upstate NY). What a privilege to be the person who escorted her on her very first museum visit. What a great job I have.
I created a Flickr group called “Art History Class” (ok, not a very imaginative name) and their photos are there now. The idea was that they tagged their photos with the vocabulary words or things that they were looking for on their scavenger hunt, and also with their name so I could find their photos easily. If you look at, for example, all the photos tagged with “atmosphericperspective” — you get an amazing selection of images that use that technique, along with their descriptions (if you have that turned on, in the slideshow). I’m really excited about this.