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Presentation at the British Museum in January 2011

Presentation at the British Museum in January 2011

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  • Hello, I’m Koula and I’m a PhD student at the Institute of Educational technology in the Open University. I’m really happy to be at the BM today I’d like first of all to thank for inviting me and you for attending my presentation. What I’m going to present here today are the findings of a small-scale research project I carried out in 2009. This project was concerned with the potential that museum websites have in extending and enhancing school based practice. In particular, the aim was to gain a better understanding on how to support use of an art museum website in primary art education and what kind of tools can be used in the classroom.
  • It has been argued that museums are nowadays distributed networks. If we accept this argument, then it is directly implied that their content can be accessed beyond the museum walls, from pretty much everywhere & by anyone. Interesting, as we all know that schools and teachers are often reluctant to take kids out of the school, so I wanted the study to focus purely on the use of the website. There was not visit involved to the on-site museum and the children didn’t participate in any official learning programme the museum provides. In this project I was concerned with the yellow part of this graph. I was interested in examining how websites and other tools, like podcasting, can facilitate interpretation of works of art and enhance learning among young people and whether by using such tools like websites positive attitudes would have been developed among children. However, the focus wasn’t the podcasting that comes from the museum, and which keeps usually an authoritative voice, but the podcasts that are created by young people and content generated by users, in other words characteristics of web 2.0.
  • I should also add to that that there’s limited research on the nature, scope and implications of ‘web 2.0’ in museums and learning. it is a fact that museums attract a high number of users to resources for schools and teachers, these numbers do not reveal how the resources are being used in the classroom. So, it has been argued by Peacock et al. that
  • Also, saddly, research by Bartlett & Kelly 2000 showed that young people up to 16 view museums as ‘boring, didactic, unapproachable and preoccupied with the past’. I know that most of my friends think the same. However, research has shown that attitudes play a significant role in influencing and guiding action, emotions and knowledge processes” so I’d argue that is crucial to invest in promoting positive attitudes in younger age groups.
  • As I said already, among the aims of this project was to investigate whether use of museum websites promote positive attitudes among children and whether they can engage children with the website at first place the of course the actual museum.
  • so this project was based on the assumption
  • The research framework underpinned this project was the ‘Inspiring Learning for all’ which was developed in 2004 by MLA. It has been widely used in museum’s sector for measuring learning. This framework is underpinned by 5 generic learning outcomes as shown on the slide. This study focused on the three of them: Knowledge and understanding, skills and attitudes and values.
  • So, Tate Kids was chosen as a case - study. It is a part of Tate Online and it employs web 2.0 features and user-generated content. The focus was on My Gallery, which is a unique feature of the website.
  • Children can create their own accounts, make their own galleries with artworks selected from the collection, upload their own work, write comments, rate, email, search the collection. This is what we did. The participants had time to explore the website on their own This is what we did with the children, they used My Gallery to explore the collections related to ‘People’ and to provide interpretations on some artworks.
  • As I said earlier, the participants were two year 5 classes in a primary school in London.
  • Research design included classroom based activities (not a museum visit) and the format followed was some pre-tests, an intervention and some post-tests, as shown in this slide.
  • Research instruments were constructed on the basis of the Inspiring Learning for All framework and included questionnaires, interviews and observation of the participant. I will come back & elaborate more on the research instruments when presenting the data later on.
  • The analysis of the data was based pre-dominantly on qualitative techniques, such as content analysis and some basic quantitative techniques. Content analysis was preferred because it allows analysis of text into summary form through the use of pre-existing and emergent themes. As you can see, the data collected from the meaning maps (I will come back to this in the next slide’) was put together and some emergent themes were noted. The same with data from the open-ended questions from the questionnaires. The data from artcasts and activity sheets were analysed using pre-existing categories, but also emergent themes were identified.
  • I will proceed now to the presentation of the data. I will initially present data referred to Attitudes and values and then ‘to skills and Knowledge and understanding’.
  • So, one of the aims of this study was to investigate whether use of museum websites can promote positive attitudes about museums and art among children. Their first task was to create a meaning map of what a museum is. You can see how a meaning map looked like here. So, in terms of children’s prior perceptions 4 themes were identified. The first one and quite dominant, is that museum is a learning place.
  • The second theme identified was that museum is a boring place. This was verified by pre-test questionnaire data too, where 1/4 of the children said that museums are boring. Notice that the word boring is repeated in this quote.
  • The third theme identified was that ‘museums are about things from the past’. Please notice the word ‘old’ in the quotes. The last one refers to the tangible notion of the museums. Museums are buildings which you can visit physically, there was no reference to a virtual version.
  • In terms of children’s final perceptions about museums, I’m using interview data here, the questions was: has this project make you feel any differently about museums? The quotes are indicative, the kids made a before-after comparison on their own.
  • Also, there were some indications of engagement with the website and the museum.
  • The second aim of this study was to investigate whether the use of art museum’s website could promote positive attitudes towards art. In terms of children’s prior attitudes towards art there were three themes identified. Here I’m using data from the open-ended questions in Questionnaire I: what is art for you. The first theme is that art is a fun experience. the word fun was widely used among them. Also, other words were fantastic, inspiring, creative, exciting. The 2nd theme was art as an art making experience. Kids were using words associated with art making experiences: drawing, painting, sticking, scribbling and also a fifth of the children were referring to art as being purely a school subject or something experienced during school.
  • Moreover, it was found that children had limited experience in looking at and talking about art, they could only recall one experience, when they went to the National portrait gallery. This girl’s comment was indicative. I can see myself there, in many visits to art museums. Again the same girl made an interesting comment in relation to school visits to art museums. This might be linked to the dominant perception children share towards art, that art is purely a practical activity. This perception is empowered by school’s practice. There seems to be a gap between ‘art done at school’ and ‘art done at the museum’. For kids probably the first one is the ‘authentic’.
  • in trying to identify kids’ final perceptions about art, there were two interview questions: the first ‘Has this project made you feel differently about art?’ and you can see one of the responses.
  • Also, there was a final question ‘What is art to you?’. The same question was in the pre-test questionnaire. I just want to point out “I wouldn’t think it’s just scribbling on paper...’ in the first quote and ‘ art is for everyone’ in the second quote.
  • The second part of the data presented here is focusing on ‘Skills and Knowledge & Understanding GLOs. It has been suggested that certain groups of people use common interpretive techniques when constructing meaning from objects. These strategies should be available for people to make sense of objects. Absence leads to meaningless experiences and objects, disengagement and frustrations (Bourdieu). In this study, children’s interpretive strategies were analysed on the basis of 3 pre-existing categories and one emerged from data. I found that children were approaching artworks by referring to: visual analysis of the artwork, by the processes of art-making and by drawing on socio-cultural context‘ of the artwork and one emergent category which was children drawing on social techniques.
  • So, the first activity in the classroom was Ophelia, which is one of Tate’s highlights. Children had to give interpretations of Ophelia on a piece of paper.
  • This is one of the children’s response. Clearly, he didn’t draw on any technique.
  • This is his second attempt to interpret Ophelia. Drawing on two strategies: ‘socio-cultural’ context and visual analysis. He is describing what the scene consists of and he mentions some colours.
  • the table summarises the findings from the two activities with Ophelia. I won’t go through the table, you can see the increase in the numbers. I just want to point out the last technique, drawing on social techniques. In the first activity they were asked to provide their interpretation and they were told that it is an individual activity. Kids were very disciplined. In the second attempt, the instructions were the same, however, it was observed that they immediately turned to each other and discussed the object and reached a collective interpretation.
  • Second source of data were the comments on the Tate Kids. Lots of expectation, that were not fulfilled. Children were not engaged with this activity, they were not involved in dialogic conversations, as my assumption was, and interview data showed that they were not interested.
  • The artcasts - equivalent of podcasts - were the last activity. Children worked in groups, chose one artwork from the online collection, wrote a script - like a label for the artwork - and by using digital recorder and a laptop they recorded their interpretation on the digital recorder. Also, using the circles that you can find on the table.
  • before we proceed, I would like you to listen to one of the artcasts. You can think of your own interpretation of this painting in the next few seconds and maybe tweet! Now, listen to what the children have created.
  • So, data from the artcasts showed that the dominant strategy was the ‘socio-cultural’ context’, they were making up a story, personal associations, they were trying to find out the meaning of the artwork.
  • also, they were drawing on ‘visual analysis’ of the artwork, not only colour, but also tone and form. However, they clearly lack relevant vocabulary on visual art. Also, they were referring to the processes of art making. I would like to point out from the two examples, the words ‘think’ and ‘looks like’, just to say that the children were not sure about the materials that the artwork was made and they could not tell from the website.
  • Last, I would like to show two examples, The reason is because none of the groups tried to put the artworks in context, apart from this group. That occured only after I prompted them to look at the date, so because they had prior knowledge on the second world war they could add a small bit to their interpretation.
  • I believe that in this case interpretation was facilitated.
  • In the second example, ‘The meeting or have a nice day Mr Hockney’ , children could not place the artwork in context. They were not aware of Hockney- perfectly understandable, but even when prompted to think why the name is on the title, who is this man, and although they did a google search, in the end their interpretation was just making up a story.
  • in this case meaning-making process wasn’t facilitated. they did not move beyond the personal.
  • To conclude, the use of art museum website can be beneficial for a holistic approach to art education, where art is not purely an ‘art making’experience but includes aesthetic appreciation and encounters with works of art. Lack of contextual tools might have an impact on level of learning and meaning-making process. Not enough to include the option for user generated content, unless tools that will enable meaningful encounters with objects are provided. And of course the question still remains, how the awareness and the excitement children felt after being introduced to the website, can be transformed to a sustained engagement with the website at first place and subsequently the museum itself.
  • I’m now building on that research and especially on the notion of collective interpretations that may lead to shared understanding (like in this case study with the artcasts) and facilitate meaning-making process & learning. My PhD research is not examining museum websites specifically, but also how other mediums, like twitter and social networks can be employed in museum learning. Although this study with Tate Kids showed that they were not interested in participating in discussions online, I’m interested in investigating this more. Here is where my first RQ comes from. I’m interesting in how use of social software may facilitate social interaction among young people around museum artifacts and thus, the process of shared construction of interpretations around such artifacts, which can enrich museum experiences and facilitate meaning making. So after this project I did a pilot study in a museum in Cyprus and now I started my main study which involves Museum of London and use of its website, Twitter and another platform called Ning. Any comment, feedback, questions, I’m more than happy to discuss this further. The study presented here (part of a PhD research project) is a case study of how school visits to museums can be enhanced by using social software tools. It is argued that the use of Twitter, a microblogging platform ( http://twitter.com ), The Museum of London ( http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/English/) (MoL) is se lected as the site of t he study. The part icipants were a Year 9 History class (13-14 years old) in a secondary school in Milton Keynes. The research project was designed around the theme ‘Get Up, Stand Up for your Rights’, which is related to the Key Stage 3 Scheme of Work ‘Equality and Beliefs’. The project included a number of classroom-based sessions and a visit to the museum in March 2011.

Transcript

  • 1. The British Museum 27 January 2011 Museum Websites for Learning: a case study of the use of ‘Tate Kids’ in primary art education
    • Koula Charitonos
    • [email_address]
  • 2. ‘ Museum 2.0’: a distributed network Source: Proctor, 2009
  • 3. Gap in the research
    • Web statistics of museums’ websites often indicate a high number of users and visit sessions in on-line resources for schools and teachers
    • BUT
    • These numbers do not reveal how these resources are being used in the classroom
    • In practice, effective and sustainable bridges between the wealth of museum digital content and the classroom environment have not yet been built (Peacock et al. 2009)
  • 4. Younger age group and museums
    • Younger age groups have poor perceptions towards museums. They view museums as “boring, didactic, unapproachable and preoccupied with the past”
    • (Bartlett & Kelly, 2000)
  • 5. Aims
    • To reach a better understanding on how to support use of art museum websites in primary art education
    • To investigate:
    • to what extent can museum websites promote positive attitudes among children?
    • to what extent does the use of museums’ web-resources enhance learning and engage children with the museum?
  • 6. Assumption
    • IF
    • children are given opportunities to view the art museum and works of art on their own terms, using tools many are very familiar with (computers, websites and mp3s) and to engage with the museum processes through co-creation
    • THEN
    • any persistent ideas that art museums are uncomfortable and elitist formal spaces, and that art is ‘not for them’ may be broken down
  • 7. Research Framework
    • Generic Learning Outcomes (GLOs)
    ‘ Inspiring Learning for All’ Framework (MLA 2004)
  • 8. Case study: ‘Tate Kids’ http://kids.tate.org.uk/
  • 9. ‘ My Gallery’
  • 10. Participants
    • A co-educational school in greater London
    • Two Year-5 classes (10-11 years old)
      • Class A: 22 pupils
      • Class B: 21 pupils
  • 11. Sessions 1 st Pre-test Questionnaire Pre-intervention activity with ‘Ophelia’ 2 nd Classroom session ICT sessions (Exploring Tate Kids & My Gallery) ‘ Artcasts’ (in groups) 3 rd Post-intervention activity with ‘Ophelia’ Post-test Questionnaire 4 th Face to face interviews (participants and teachers)
  • 12. Research Instruments
    • Questionnaires
      • pre-test questionnaire (n=37)
      • post-test questionnaire (n=40)
    • Interviews
      • teachers (n=2)
      • children (n=16)
    • Observation of the participants
      • activity sheets to children
      • ‘ meaning maps’
      • use of the website
      • audio files (children’s discussions and ‘Artcasts’)
      • video files
      • field notes
  • 13.
    • Qualitative techniques
      • Content analysis
        • ‘ meaning maps’: emergent themes were identified
        • ‘ Artcasts’ and Activity Sheets: analysis using pre-existing categories and emergent themes. Frequencies of occurrence of themes were noted
        • Interviews : data was put into GLOs categories and themes were identified
        • Questionnaires (open-ended questions): emergent themes were identified. Frequencies of occurrence of themes were noted
    • Quantitative techniques
        • Questionnaires: tables of variable’s frequencies
    Analysis of Data
  • 14. Presentation of Data
    • I. ‘Attitudes and Values’
    • II. ‘Skills’ & ‘Knowledge and Understanding’
  • 15. Children’s prior perceptions about museums
    • a) ‘museum as a learning place’
    • “ Museums give us a chance to learn things…”
    I. ‘Attitudes and Values’
  • 16.
    • b) ‘museum as a boring place’
    Children’s prior perceptions about museums “ Sometimes they [museums] can get a bit boring, because there is not much to do…when you just have to read lots about a statue […] it gets a bit boring […] We are all tired when we go to museums” I. ‘Attitudes and Values’
  • 17.
    • c) ‘Museums are about things from the past’
    • “ old building”
    • “ old and retired people are there”
    • “ old artefacts are stored”
    • “ old things can be explored”
    • d) ‘Tangible notion of museums’
    • “ a building, which holds pictures, sculptures […]”
    Children’s prior perceptions about museums I. ‘Attitudes and Values’
  • 18.
    • Q. Has this project made you feel any differently about museums?
    • “ Before Tate’s website I used to think that museums are sometimes boring, but after the project […] I think that museums are really that good […]”
    • “ I thought that museums…you go there and look at things and that’s it…but now, I know they have websites and I can go on them”.
    • “ I love museums and [the project] made me love them better and understand them more”
    Children’s final perceptions about museums I. ‘Attitudes and Values’
  • 19.
    • All of the interviewees showed the website to family and friends
    • All interviewees would like to visit Tate Gallery
    • A fourth of the interviewees had asked their parents/relatives to take them to Tate Gallery
    • More than a third of them asked specific information about Tate Gallery
    Children’s final perceptions about museums I. ‘Attitudes and Values’
  • 20.
    • Q. What is art to you?
        • Art as a ‘fun experience’
        • Art as an ‘‘art making’ experience’
        • Art as a ‘school subject’
    Children’s prior perceptions about art I. ‘Attitudes and Values’
  • 21.
    • Children’s experience in looking at and talking about works of art was limited
    • “ […] I don’t get the picture, I don’t really get the picture…and I don’t know if the artwork is good”.
    • “ Art isn’t treated as in school. When you get to do some stuff out of school for art, you don’t get to do as much as you do at school”.
    Children’s prior perceptions about art I. ‘Attitudes and Values’
  • 22.
    • Q. ‘Has this project made you feel any differently about art?
    • “ I feel better now, I can talk about art […] It [the project] was good because we learnt about art. In art we just do art, while we can talk about it now”
    Children’s final perceptions about art I. ‘Attitudes and Values’
  • 23. Children’s final perceptions about art
    • Q. What is art to you?
    • “ […]I wouldn’t think it’s just scribbling on paper, I would say it’s something else, like looking at the picture, see if there is information or a story […]”.
    • “ Art is for everyone. You may draw a picture and you may not like it but someone else might like it and get stuff from it. You might see a picture and you might not like it but someone else might like it […]”
    I. ‘Attitudes and Values’
  • 24. Children’s Interpretive Strategies
    • The analysis of children’s interpretations is based on:
        • visual analysis of the artwork (colour, tone, composition, form, space)
        • process of art-making (materials, technique and style)
        • drawing on ‘socio-cultural context’ of the artwork (subject-matter, artist, personal associations and context)
    • (RCMG, 2001)
    • Emergent theme: drawing on ‘social techniques’
    II. ‘Skills’/ ‘Knowledge & Understanding’
  • 25. a. ‘Ophelia’ II. ‘Skills’/ ‘Knowledge & Understanding’
  • 26. Aris’ first attempt to interpret ‘Ophelia’ II. ‘Skills’/ ‘Knowledge & Understanding’ “ I thought of nothing, my mind was blank”
  • 27. Aris’ second attempt to interpret ‘Ophelia’ II. ‘Skills’/ ‘Knowledge & Understanding’ “ It’s a woman dead in the river and flowers are falling from the trees above onto her while (will) she is floating down the river colours: green, white, pink and black
  • 28. II. ‘Skills’/ ‘Knowledge & Understanding’ Pre-intervention activity with ‘Ophelia’ Post-intervention activity with ‘Ophelia’
    • Socio- Cultural context’
    • Description of the scene and children’s interpretation of it (27 out of 37)
    • Make up a story (10 out of 37)
    • Personal Associations (5 out of 37)
    • Context (1 out of 37)
    • Socio- Cultural’ context
    • Description of the scene and children’s interpretation of it (18 out of 37)
    • Make up a story (17 out of 37)
    • Personal Associations ( 24 out of 37)
    • Context (4 out of 37)
    • Meaning of the painting (8 out of 37)
    • Artist (7 out of 37)
    • Visual Analysis
    • Colour (3 out of 37)
    • Visual Analysis
    • Colour (14 out of 37)
    Process of art making
    • Process of art making
    • Materials (3 out of 37)
    ‘ Social Techniques’
    • Social Techniques’
    • Discussions among children (‘collective interpretations’)
  • 29.
    • Fourteen children posted twenty-two comments on ten artworks
    • Drawing on the ‘socio-cultural context’ emerged as the dominant strategy
    • “ It looks like when I watched Tom n Jerry and there was a big explosion”
    • “ […] It reminds me of cartoons”
    • Not involved in dialogic conversations
    b. Tate Kids II. ‘Skills’/ ‘Knowledge & Understanding’
  • 30. b. Tate Kids II. ‘Skills’/ ‘Knowledge & Understanding’
  • 31. c. ‘Artcasts’
    • children in groups
    • tools: digital recorder, laptop, script
    • n=13 audio files
    • time: 30-40min each
  • 32. ‘ A portrait of a Frenchman’ Patrick Caulfield (Source: http://kids.tate.org.uk) c. ‘Artcasts’ (continued)
  • 33. c. ‘Artcasts’
    • References to the artist and title (13 out of 13)
    • Drawing on ‘socio-cultural context’ dominant strategy
    • - make up a story (13 out of 13)
    • - personal associations (6 out of 13)
    • - meaning of the artwork (3 out of 13)
    II. ‘Skills’/ ‘Knowledge & Understanding’ “ I think it is a really funny picture and I enjoy looking at it. It makes me feel this way because it has Mickey-mouse in it. It reminds me of a mouse jumping out of a box […] I think the artist was inspired by a TV series. He might had children who were watching this programme.
  • 34.
    • ‘ Visual elements’ of the artwork ( 12 out of 13)
    • (not only colour, but tone and form too)
    • “ It is like a photograph because the colours are very real and have lots of details”
    • “ It’s very bright in the face…On one of the ears he has mainly used chalk to show that one of the ears is sticking out […]
    • ‘ Processes of art-making’ (4 out of 13)
    • - materials and techniques
    • “ We think the artist used tissue paper and painted over it”
    • “ […] It looks like he copied and pasted the wieners’ sausages and the characters […]”
    c. ‘Artcasts’ II. ‘Skills’/ ‘Knowledge & Understanding’
  • 35.
    • A head of a young boy 1945 (Pablo Picasso)
    Example 1 II. ‘Skills’/ ‘Knowledge & Understanding’
  • 36.
    • “ The picture was made when the war finished at 1945. I think the reason why the artist aint’ showing the body is because the boy got executed”.
  • 37. Example 2 “ The meeting or have a nice day Mr Hockney” (Peter Blake ) II. ‘Skills’/ ‘Knowledge & Understanding’
  • 38.
    • “ The one in white would be Mr Hockney’s assistant and I think they would say: ‘Have a nice day Mr Hockney’. Mr Hockney would say ‘Thank you’”.
  • 39. Findings
    • The use of a museum’s website helped to build positive perceptions about museums among the participants
    • Participants now view art in a highly positive and broader way and not exclusively as an ‘art making’ experience
    • ‘ Artcasting’ was an enjoyable activity
    • Participants were employing a wider range of ‘interpretive strategies’
    • The use of a museum’s website can enhance learning and engage children
  • 40.
    • The use of art museum websites can be beneficial for a holistic approach to art education
    • Museum websites can be the means for museums to address young people’s negative attitudes
    • Further tools are required on museum websites that will enable interpretation and meaning-making process.
    Conclusions
  • 41.
    • How can ‘Web 2.0’ technologies alongside museum and classroom spaces be utilised to create participatory learning experiences which are engaging and meaningful for young people?
    • ( How) can social interactions online facilitate the meaning-making process and lead to a shared understanding around museum artifacts?
    • How does ‘web 2.0’ allow young people a new type of engagement with museum artifacts and museums to explore new styles of communicating cultural content to their audiences?
    Way forward: PhD research
  • 42. Thank you!
    • [email_address]
    • @ch_koula