Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Flipped Museum: Artists in Process

The Big Picture Team would like to share another great program offered by our Education Team.

Have you experimented with a “flipped” classroom? Are you interested in blended learning and looking for opportunities to try it out in your school? The NCMA Education team is piloting a blended learning experience that flips the Museum to help deliver content and activities in a fresh way. The deadline to participate is December 1. Read below for more information about the course and how to apply.

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The Flipped Museum

The North Carolina Museum of Art seeks high school art educators to pilot an innovative blended learning program that inverts the delivery of content for a more student-centered approach. This spring, almost 300 high school students from across the state will participate in our first comprehensive pilot of the Flipped Museum called Artists in Process.

What problem does the program address?

Museum tours and studio programs have limited time to engage groups of students who have little knowledge of discussing art in galleries or the content being discussed. There may be advanced students who need to be challenged, along with students who feel overwhelmed. Teachers interested in bringing students for self-guided experiences have limited time and resources to research and design gallery experiences. How can we provide engaging learning experiences for students to deepen learning at the Museum?

What’s the solution?

Based upon the approach of the flipped classroom, the Flipped Museum puts students in control of their learning rather than teachers or docents. The NCMA seeks high school art educators to pilot a new blended learning course to “preload” students before visiting the Museum so they can apply this knowledge during their field trip. Blended learning combines online learning and face-to-face (F2F) learning in the classroom and at the Museum. Students can log in to the Museum’s secure learning management platform to watch content-rich videos that are not published outside of this platform. Teachers become facilitators, working with Museum educators as well as other teachers across the state to engage students in their classroom and at the Museum.

The Museum hopes to build on the foundations of choice-based art education by providing individualized student-centered learning so students can make choices to read content and watch videos that interest them at their own pace. Based on our initial blended learning pilot in spring 2014, we have created a new experience with increased flexibility for teachers to set the pace for students. While we recommend students have one week in the course before visiting the Museum and continue for two weeks after the visit, teachers and students will have access to the course for the entire semester.

DI24944-146What is Artists in Process?

Artist in Process is a blended learning unit that combines individual and collaborative investigation of the artistic process online, in the classroom, and at the Museum. For this course, the Museum will pair classes online whose field trip will be on the same day. Students can watch videos of contemporary North Carolina artists Beverly McIver, Thomas Sayre, and Kiki Farish discussing their process of finding inspiration, developing ideas, and making art. Classes from across the state will partner to explore the artistic process online, individually, and at the Museum.

This blended learning unit was created as a resource to develop work for the annual Teens, Inspired exhibition. Students may choose to submit their work at the end of the blended learning unit. Watch this short Prezi to see how Teens, Inspired and Artists in Process are connected.

How do you apply?

Complete this Google form by December 1. Teachers will be notified by December 11. Teacher orientation begins in early January with a 30-minute Google Hangout and access to the online course. The blended learning unit tentatively begins January 28. Visits to the Museum would be between March 3 and March 13.

Interested, but not a high school art teacher?

We’ll offer opportunities in the next few months to provide feedback on the next blended learning unit integrating English language arts, social studies, and art.

From STEM to STEAM: Reflections from our Big Picture Fellow John Scarfpin

KM_72_Scarfpin_JohnMiddle school teacher John Scarfpin finished up his fellowship with the NCMA Big Picture team this summer and wrote this reflection of his year diving into the arts as a STEM teacher. Here he shares his perspective on what it means to teach the arts. The student work that came out of his fellowship will be on display in the Museum’s education galleries through January 2015. You can also visit his website Technology, Engineering, and Design.

When I first took on the challenge of integrating art into my STEM class, I thought, “I already do this, it’ll be easy.” Then I actually began to look at what art teachers really have to teach. I never thought of art as problem solving, nor did I ever consider how much one needs to know to complete a work of art. I always thought of art as something that just happened. Someone found inspiration in something and created something they thought would be cool or expressive of a situation. My experience as a Big Picture fellow has given me a new perspective and respect for art teachers in general.

When I think of problem solving, I think of engineering, math, or science─but art, it was not even on the radar. I never thought that there was a problem in art. I have taken art classes in painting, photography, pottery, three-dimensional design, and sculpture, and never thought of the assignments as problems. I simply found them as enjoyable activities. I find great joy in creating things, and that was the way I viewed art as a class. Then the paradigm shift began to happen. I started to look at the parallels between art, engineering, science, and math. In all of these things, as with the rest of the universe, the foundation of these areas of study has to do with how the elements are arranged. The difference between wood stacked in a pile and the frame of a house, grains of sand and glass, numbers on paper and a well-formulated equation, paint on a palette and a masterpiece on the wall, all comes back to organization.

Once I began to realize this, my project began to take shape in my mind. Through the engineering and design procengineering_design_process1-2fdq4vsess, we began to integrate the elements of design from art. My students studied Vollis Simpson’s Wind Machine and began to define the problem they had. We wanted to create our own kinetic sculptures that we could display in the Museum. Originally, to give the project context, I had the students focus on creating something similar to Wind Machine, but as we began to move through the E&D process and identify constraints, we realized that wind was not on our side, given the display area. As a result, we modified our designs to use gearboxes and motors. As each team worked on brainstorming solutions to the problem, many different ideas emerged, ranging from pieces derived from perpetual motion machines and marble machines to more organic structures with spinning flowers.

As the ideas began to take shape and grow, so did the challenge of managing it all. Students had to then figure out which materials to use for their construction and how to assemble it so it would actually work. We focused on simple machines and compound machines in figuring out the mechanics needed to make the pieces work. Students began to bring in many assorted materials, such as cardboard, marbles, tubing, paint, and even a tree stump.

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For me, as the instructor, the real problem working against me was time. I thought two weeks would work for this project, and testing was coming, so I thought, “This will work out in time.” But two weeks became four weeks, and then after testing was over, another week until school was dismissed. In total the students spent five weeks working on the projects that I thought would take about two weeks of class time.

All I know is that art teachers must be some amazing people. I have done science projects that require extensive construction, but this was something else. Everyone was given the same prompt at the beginning, and every team took a different approach to the problem. Each project grew into extremely involved and detailed construction, and if school had not ended, I think the students would have spent several weeks more trying to add to each one.

In the end, even though some projects remain incomplete, I do not see this as a failure. This project is about the process and not the product. I feel that the students learned a great deal about the design process and how all the various curriculum areas go together in solving real world problems. There is a lot of room in STEM to make STEAM. The challenge I see is in most experiments and engineering activities is that when it works you are done. With art it is only truly done when you are ready to set down your tools and say it is done.