Smarthistory featured in Education Week

Siphnian Treasury, c. 530 B.C.E., Sanctuary of Apollo, Delphi, Greece

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 8.38.46 PM

We wanted to highlight the terrific article by Leo Doran in Education Week on changes in the art history classroom, “Tech Tools, Image Libraries Transforming Art History Classes.”

Leo’s article highlights the way that new tools and gorgeous high-resolution images can make art history so much more engaging for students.

Figuring out how to virtually “transport” these creations to the classroom, through photos, prints, and other means is a challenge for educators that dates back decades—even centuries. Teachers of art history have continually adapted to incorporate changes in image technology. Most recently, an array of new tools, particularly high-resolution digital images, immersive technology, and multimedia textbooks, have brought about a fundamental shift in how the discipline is being taught.

Doran quotes Professor Stephen Murray (Columbia University) on how gorgeous digital images can make students gasp. In fact, we’ve quoted Dr. Murray on these pages before on the challenges of the art history classroom:

The paradox in the enterprise of the professor of art history is that we spend most of our time as teachers in the classroom talking about what is not there—the absent work of art, represented by a surrogate image projected onto a screen. I believed from the start that the way that we bring the image of the work of art into the classroom is not a passive factor in the representation of the work of art and the history of art, but rather that it has the potential to change the way the student sees and comprehends. However, in some ways we have simply traded in our slide carousel for our PowerPoint and our slide room for ARTstor. The computer has the potential to be so much more than an intelligent slide carousel, and the interactive medium of the Internet should, I think, provide a stimulus for new explorations and collaborations.

We were also so pleased to see that the article put a spotlight on the important work being done by Greg Bryda at Wölff.  We look forward to the day when all art historians have left Powerpoint  and its terrible limitations behind and are using technology to make the art history classroom more engaging and dynamic.

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