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ArtsConnectEd: A Terrific Interative Site for Teachers of all Disciplines

ArtsConnectEd, created in conjunction with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center, is an interactive collection of art and educational resources for K-12 educators and their students. The site has two main components. Art Finder allows users to search the museums’ digital collection of art, texts, audio, video and interactive activities. Art Collector provides a platform for users to save, customize and share works from sets.

Creating a free account on the site will allow users to access all of the site’s features.

Art Finder

Art Finder offers numerous ways to search the collection- by key word, medium, artist, culture or institution. Mediums include arms and armor, prints, sculpture, textiles, drawings and watercolors, and paintings. The majority of the works are American and Western European, with a large selection of works from Japan. Other well-represented cultures include Chinese, Japanese, Mesoamerican, Native American, Scandinavian and Southeast Asian.

ArtsConnectEd’s Home Page.

The Art Finder tool is easy to use.

The site’s collection of audio/video, texts, interactive resources, art collector sets and events is also searchable. Arts educators and other teachers who seek to infuse their lessons with fine art can choose from pre-created activities. An interactive resource on African masks begins with five facts, each with a visual leading to more detailed information.

Great visuals help engage learners.

Additional support for teachers is provided by suggested activities, which can be modified easily for younger or older students.

Teaching suggestions help teachers plan.

Over a thousand audio and video files provide teachers with another entry point for teaching about art. Most of the audio files provide additional background and information about specific works of art, and are fairly short, giving good information without being too lengthy for younger students.

The site includes audio and visual resources.

Teachers can also choose from Art Collector Sets, which have been created by fellow educators, often around a theme. Some sets are organized to showcase the work of a specific artist, or artwork from a particular country.

The site has ready-to-use sets and activities.

Art Collector

Though the site has an extensive collection of sets already created by other users, teachers and students have the option of creating their own sets, using art from the museums’ vast offerings.

You can bookmark sets for future use.

Adding works to sets is slightly complicated, and requires the user to return to the Art Finder feature. Clicking the small yellow button opens a small menu, allowing the user to add the work to a set.

You can add any artwork from the site to your set.

Once works have been added to a set, the user can enhance it by organizing the chosen slides and adding additional information. There are several options for saving and sharing the sets, including e-mail and PDF.

The Edit tool allows you to add your own content.

Extra Resources and Support Materials

The site’s sheer volume of materials means there are unlimited possibilities for teachers. The Ask an Educator feature includes frequently asked questions on a range of topics, including grade-specific questions and curriculum-specific questions. There are suggestions on how to use the site with an interactive white board and ideas for using art in other curriculum areas.

Ask an Educator contains a wealth of information.

Teachers who wish to see examples of excellent collector sets can examine the site’s Featured Sets, which includes numerous excellent examples.
ArtsConnectEd is a great site for arts educators, but teachers in other curriculum areas who wish to incorporate art into their lessons and units will also appreciate the site.

Written December 3, 2012 by Tracy Derrel

Art , K-12

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