Example 2: Interactive Tours

A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students?


            Even though I am an art teacher, this can be a real challenge.  There are several things to consider when figuring the correct learning technologies for the arts.  I assume these students will not be physically taking the “tour” from the museums curators.  The first step I would take would be to see if each museum offers any time of virtual tours since many of the larger museums do.   If that is not the case, Google offers one powerful alternative.  Which brings me to my first technology tool. 

Google Art Project   Image

Google has teamed up with several museums to create one massive online library that is very interactive.  This web tool not only gives students access to thousands of pieces of artwork, but also allows students to share with friends.  “Once you’ve discovered a special piece or collection, you can easily share your finds with friends across your social networks” (Google, 2013).  Below is a teaser trailer on YouTube provided by Google on how the website works. 


I wasn’t able to find real examples of this project used in distance learning.  I found a lot of information on how it “could be” used in distance learning.  Below is a link on instructions on how to navigate through the project.  This would be very useful to provide students, given the detailed instructions.  In the article Matthews also explains “By signing in to a Google account, users may create a collection of their own paintings, include comments, and share it with friends”  (Matthews, G.)


TodaysMeet  Image

Another tool I would introduce to the history teacher is Todaysmeet.  The teacher can setup a Todaysmeet and allow access to the curator.  The curator could then direct students to pieces of artwork located within Google Art Project and have discussions about each piece.  Each group would then be able to create their own Todaysmeet and critique the pieces each selected.  Communication is an important part of distance learning.  Simonson (2012) states, “effective instructional messages are designed according to the situation, experiences, and competencies of the learners” (p. 90)

Several articles gave praise towards the simplicity of todaysmeet.  This short article explains, “While I have seen a number of note taking and response gathering tools, this one was new to me and I was impressed at its simplicity and usefulness” (Minnesota Literacy Council, 2013)



Google. (2013) Google Art Project: About.  Retrieved from www.google.com/culturalinstitute/about/

Matthews, G. (n.d.) How to use Google Art Project to visit museums around the world.  Retrieved from http://www.lessonpaths.com/learn/i/virtual-field-trips/how-to-use-google-art-project-to-visit-museums-around-the-world-artpromotivate

Minnesota Literacy Council. (2013)  TodaysMeet on Opening Day.  Retrieved from http://mnliteracy.org/blogs/2013/09/20295

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.


Distance Learning: Two sides to the coin

Distance Learning: Two sides to the coin

             Dr. Michael Simonson states “technologies, instructional media and communication technologies are used to link the resources between the teacher and learning” (Laureate Education, n.d.).  This statement by Dr. Simonson is the critical part in why I think distance learning is always changing and going to continue to change.  Advancements in technology will continue this change as we see web interfaces grow and multimedia gain momentum.  Today, I checked the weather, made a Skype call to my dad in Arizona and my boys and I watched Wreck it Ralph for the hundredth time all from our smart TV.  This is an example of something that was not possible or proficient five years ago.  Imagine what the next five years hold.

My personal definition of distance learning prior to starting this class was exactly what I have been doing for the last year here at Walden.  Participating in discussions, writing assignments, and posting information on my blog sums up my definition of distance learning.  However, after week one, this mindset has changed a bit.  I really understood the distance-learning portion but did not put much thought into the distance-teaching portion.  Pretty pathetic that this thought process before this course comes from a teacher and I didn’t think about the distance teaching part.  Dr. Simonson spoke about two heads of a coin (distance learning & distance teaching) all connected through technology. (Laureate Education, n.d.)  This is a great way to define distance education, and it is one that I will refer to each week as I proceed with this course.

I also did not put much merit in what we do at Springfield High with distance learning.  One of my classmates mentioned that some of the things we do are more along the lines of self taught lessons.  (Which I agree)  However, there are several teachers that are incorporating videos of the lessons being taught onto our servers for students at home to view and keep up with the course load while out of school.  Now that I see the impact this can make on a student, I will try to incorporate this more into my online lessons.

I see distance learning continuing to grow as technology advances and bandwidth becomes more available in all households.  I also see contacting instructors and student introductions through online video as not just an option but also a requirement as we see this technology become more apparent in TV’s, smartphones and even game systems.  I think this would add a new dimension of getting to know the instructor and our classmates.  It would also help me put a face to the name as we continue this journey during the next seven weeks.




Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.) Distance Education: The Next Generation. [Video Podcast].  Retrieved from: https://class.waldenu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_4775279_1%26url%3D

Anyone Anyone Anyone

I felt I needed to add this video to give everyone a laugh after a long week!


Hello class

My name is Jake Stapleton.  I live in Chatham, Illinois.  My wife and I have some new additions to our family.  Two boys, Wyatt (17 months) and Walsh (3 months).  I currently teach high school art in Springfield, Illinois. (Central Time) Some of the classes I teach are drawing, painting, art history, glassworks and graphic design.  I also coach both golf in the fall and softball in the spring.  I also like to do some of my own artwork, focusing on emotion in sports.  Link attached and a picture of my current drawing.



I look forward to this class and what it will do to enhance my current teachings.  I find it hard to connect with students who are out for long periods of time and hope this course may offer some alternatives. 

I have read all the announcements and enrolled in Learn2Learn.