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.


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