Supplement Your Analog Textbook with smARThistory

With the cost of textbooks sky-rocketing and students looking to technology to feed their interactive learning styles, it was only a matter of time before some clever professors came up with a web-based platform to bring the content of those flat pieces of paper to digital life. smARThistory.org was founded as a way to leave behind the clunky art history books in favor of a site that could introduce students to the art works with more context but also to the scholarly discussion that is surrounding those works. It covers all of time and place in a growing catalog of free videos and is continuing to grow through contributions by leading scholars. As a stand alone system it is a great wealth of information but I think that the potential doesn’t end there.

One creative way to utilize this resource is by making it just a leg of a learning platform. smARThistory provides the introduction and discussion to the objects but the importance of the written word and of images can not be overlooked. By using OAK (Vanderbilt version of Blackboard) you can build each lecture to link to videos from smARThistory, articles from the library’s extensive databases, and finally images from ARTstor, MDID, and Flickr. Not only does this provide a more in depth learning environment but it is also very flexible allowing you to change and add at a moments notice.

Of course this isn’t my idea. This is how smARThistory was founded. “Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker began smARThistory in 2005 by creating a blog featuring free audio guides in the form of podcasts for use in The Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Soon after, we embedded the audio files in our online survey courses. The response from our students was so positive that we decided to create a multi-media survey of art history web-book. We created audios and videos about works of art found in standard art history survey texts, organized the files stylistically and chronologically, and added text and still images.” With the waters already tested visit http://smarthistory.org to see how this great resource can supplement or even replace that art history textbook.

-Chris

All quotes and information found on smARThistory’s website.

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