Google Art Project is an exciting way to bring rich works of art right into your classroom. It started with collections from 17 partner museums around the world and has grown to 151 museums. They photograph works of art in high resolution so the images yield exceptional detail and then post these images in galleries on the website. Just recently, they began adding the Art Institute of Chicago’s collections, including Sunday Afternoon.
To efficiently track the sites I’m interested in, I use Google Reader. This free online app enables you to subscribe to your favorite sites, keeping all the updates in one location. Every time I visit Reader, I immediately see all the most recent updates to all of the sites I’m interested in.
Last time, we discussed a few ways to help students search Google. Google helps us find related websites, however its ranking system does not necessarily return the most reliable pages. The final step requires our human mind to make difficult decisions that computers can only approximate. Simply choosing the top result is not enough. We must teach our students to evaluate websites.
We begin our year with an ancient tools projects. Students build the tools that early man would have access to. Naturally, many students want to build spears. We type “spears” into Google. Guess what comes up? That’s right: page after page about Britney Spears.
Merlin Mann stated that employees’ motivation increases when they get to “build a robot” once in a while. That is, do something creative beyond regular work. Can we do this at school? Offices have “casual Fridays,” can we have “curiosity Fridays?”
Do you give your gifted students room to explore personal interests? Google does. In fact they demand it. At Google, employees are expected to spend 20% of their time at work (that’s paid time) developing a project outside of their job description. This works out to one day per week spent on an independent activity.