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Integrating iPads into Museum Art and Design Visits

24 April 14 -- jsuess
Example of student's work with iPads

In 2013-14 ASPIRE piloted its Innovation Fund, a pot of money to which colleagues across the museums can bid to support innovative projects not within the scope of their core budget. ASPIRE was able to support a dozen projects which came in from across the museums from a variety of different colleagues including a Head of Conservation and one of our HLF Skills for the Future Education Trainees.

One proposal came from the joint museums art education officer and the Ashmolean’s deputy head of education for a project to create an online handbook for teachers and school age students of Art and Design that demonstrates how iPads can support a museum visit. Many schools have access to iPads but are not aware of their potential. The museum aimed to provide tutorials, ideas and tips for how to use iPads to support a visit.

Material for the resource was developed over three full day iPad workshops at the Ashmolean with year 9 and year 12 students from the Marlborough School. Each day was structured as a series of three sessions that introduced pupils to three apps:

  • Pic Collage – for collecting and organising photos for research
  • 123D Catch – for creating 3D object images
  • Brushes 3 – for drawing or painting digitally, and manipulating and layering photos.

Each session included a short demo, an activity in the galleries, and a review, Student were encouraged to evaluate the pros and cons of each app, and to reflect on how their experiences compared to working with a traditional sketchbook.

Example of student's work with iPads

Feedback from the sessions was positive, with one year 9 student saying, ‘from doing the iPad project I have been able to express my art and ideas in a simple and easy way, whether it’s for homework or just for fun.’ Anecdotal evidence suggests that the sessions captured the imagination of students, with many downloading the apps onto their own iPads and iPhones and sharing ideas with other students. One teacher reported that the project significantly improved her understanding of working with digital technologies to support Art and Design.

The sessions also raised awareness of the Ashmolean as a valuable local resource with one year 12 student commenting ‘I wish we could have our art lesson here very week – there’s so much amazing stuff to see!’ Several students have been back to the museum independently, and one year 12 student attended the museum’s monthly Japanese tea ceremony as part of her A2 exam research on the theme of ‘handling objects’.

Example of student's work with iPads

Museum staff will visit students at school in May when those who participated in the project will give short presentations to fellow students about how they have been developing their use of some of the apps for their Art and Design work.

In order to roll out the learning from these sessions as a broader resource for Art and Design teachers and students the museum is now creating a series of 6 films explaining how to use the apps within museums. These will be developed with the Oxford University podcasting team and will be launched at the Oxford Art Teachers conference on 28 June 2014.

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