Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Do we agree that this will be an asset in our teaching, especially at the community college level? 

Why the Google Art Project is Important

Posted on by Steven Zucker
by Beth Harris, Ph.D. and Steven Zucker, Ph.D., Deans, Art and History, Khan Academy
Our schools and libraries are being radically re-imagined for the digital age, but what about our museums? The New York Public Library, for example, is bravely (and controversially) rethinking its Fifth Avenue flagship building. Last month, MIT and Harvard announced edX, a partnership to offer free online courses, and last fall, Stanford offered three massive open online courses (MOOC) to hundreds of thousands of students for free, and Khan Academy provided 6.1 million unique users with free instruction in March 2012 alone. Museums, on the other hand, have remained largely insular and focused on their institutional identity. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the most recent digital innovation comes not from the museums themselves but from Google, which launched the second iteration of the Google Art Project last month.
Google faces numerous challenges among academics; nevertheless, we should recognize that Google’s Art Project has done something extraordinary for both museums and for education. A small team based in London persuaded more than 150 museums from around the world to share more than 32,400 high-resolution images beyond their own institutional boundaries.
This is a really big deal.
For the first time in history it is easy for non-specialists to explore and closely examine art from museums across the globe on a single website. There have been other initiatives that have moved in this direction, but never with the scope or functionality of the Google Art Project. The Art Project isn’t finished. It needs more museums and more art. It needs improved search and filtering tools. And the public needs better ways to discover and contribute new narratives about art’s history. Despite these weaknesses, the educational potential is tremendous.


No comments:

Post a Comment