museums provide the environment for a wealth of experiences for children
of all ages. Through the use of the software ArtSpace, children
who are unable to walk through a museum can explore art from their computer.
ArtSpace is a series of places where art can be viewed (in a museum
with many galleries) or where art is made (in studios). ArtSpace
provides a field trip simulation without the bus travel, the frantic search
for a restroom or the never-ending walk through the long corridors. ArtSpace
can be used for preliminary museum experiences prior to an actual field
trip to a museum or to prepare children and staff for what they are likely
to experience. ArtSpace can also be used as a follow-up activity
after the field trip.
Categories for ArtSpace images include: Collage, Lines, Music,
Pottery, Sculpture, People, Cultural Diversity, Native American, Farms,
Food, Transportation, Animals, Birds, Flowers and Plants, Trees and Forests,
Water, and Weather and Seasons. The following activity is adapted from
A Curriculum to Accompany ArtSpace (Hutinger, Betz, & Cunningham,
Display reproductions of adult artists and children's work
in the computer area and other areas around the classroom. Before the
activity, attach neccessary peripherals to the computer, if needed. These
could be a switch, a TouchWindow, a Discover:Kenx, or IntelliKeys. Children
can also interact with ArtSpace using the mouse. Position the monitor
at the child's eye level and move the keyboard aside to prevent distractions.
Preview ArtSpace prior to the activity to become familiar with
the options. Open ArtSpace, select appropriate option under "Preferences,"
and have the screen ready for children to use.
When participating in this activity, children will,
- discover that their actions cause certain events to happen;
- learn that their actions with the peripherals cause the actions on
- attend to the task at hand;
- observe the images and actions, hear the music and sounds, and figure
out that their actions control the actions on the screen;
- increase their attention span while actively exploring the museum;
- collect information about the different functions of museums in the
galleries and the Studio of ArtSpace;
- examine the features of ArtSpace;
- propose explanations, such as "If I press the switch on the art work,
it will get larger, play music, and sometimes show a movie."
- take turns making choices while activating the program;
- use the knowledge gained from this experience when looking at other
- use the sequencing skills learned through ArtSpace in other
- develop increased knowledge of patterns and symbols.
- Appropriate peripherals: a switch, a TouchWindow, Discover:Kenx, Key
Largo, or IntelliKeys.
- Macintosh computer, system 7.x., 4000K of free RAM memory
- CD-ROM Drive
- 14" color monitor or larger
Encourage children to make selections by activating the mouse
or peripheral device. Model activating and making choices. Physically assist
children to do the same if necessary. Children can choose one of two galleries,
"The Adult Gallery" or "The Children's Gallery." In "The Adult Gallery,"
they will see works of art made by adults, some of them famous, some whose
importance to the art world is yet to be recognized. "The Children's Gallery"
contains art work from preschool and elementary school children. Both galleries
contain examples of two- and three-dimensional art works. See video of various
artists discussing their work or explaining a process, such as an adult
explaining print making or bronze pouring, or children demonstrating finger
painting or collage making. Listen to people's comments about each picture,
sculpture, or image and use them to generate discussions with children.
Ask questions such as, What do you see in this painting? What did the artist
say about the drawing? Where would you like to go now? Children can choose
to go to another gallery room, go back to the lobby for more choices, or
to exit the program. Encourage children to take turns when selecting images
by passing the switch around the group.
ArtSpace can be adapted for many peripheral devices
that allow children access to interacting with the software. For more
information on peripherals, see Chapter 9.
- Using a TouchWindow provides a natural and direct way to interact
with ArtSpace. Place the TouchWindow over the monitor with Velcro.
Children can position the cursor, make selections, and make choices
with the touch of their fingertip or the stylus.
- Switches with a switch interface allow one or more children to activate
- Discover:Kenx is an interface that allows children to use alterate
keyboards, such as Key Largo, or switches. It combines Ke:nx technology
with the switch.
- Key Largo is an expanded alternative keyboard for use with Ke:nx or
the Adaptive Firmware Card. Expanded keyboards are for children who
need larger key areas. Larger letters, pictures, or selection areas
are possible. The keyboard is composed of small squares that can be
grouped into keys of any size to meet individual needs.
- IntelliKeys is an alternative keyboard that can be used with overlays
for easy access to ArtSpace.
- Children can explore how scanning works. Select Scanning as input
under "Preferences." Children can become familiar with the progression
of the scanning pattern and how objects are highlighted. Once children
understand scanning, this option gives them more control as they tour
the museum. ArtSpace can also be customized for use with Key
- Select any of the seventeen categories in the software, such as "Lines,"
"Sculpture," Animals," or "Water," and design both computer and off-computer
activities around that theme.
- Create an Art Gallery in the classroom. Display and label children's
art work in the classroom. Feature a child as the "artist" of the week.
- Schedule a field trip to an art gallery. After the field trip encourage
children to talk about what they saw. Encourage discussions and comparisons
of their "real" museum tour and both the adult and children's galleries
in ArtSpace. Talk about the people they saw at the museum.
- Make a classroom museum. If space permits, connect several large cartons
or movable screens to make a child-size art museum for dramatic play.
Include the people seen in a museum (other visitors, security people,
tour guides, shop keeper, the director, a curator, and others). Make
the museum space accessible to children in wheelchairs. Decide what
to put into the museum for its opening. Children may decide to include
original child art, printouts from "The Studio," art posters from museums,
three-dimensional work, or other objects.
- Develop the concept of "collecting" and what might be included in
a collection. Arrange collections on an "exhibit" table. Objects in
the collection might be groups of block sculpture, clay images, materials
to make marks with, books, sea shells, plants, toy trucks, dolls, or
any number of groupings that interest children. This may lead to interest
in categories, groups, and attributes. Children may want to establish
their own "collection" of art or the art work of others in a book. Collections
of images from ArtSpace can also be discussed. Search for the
collections shown in the "Categories," then identify reasons why they
were included. Other kinds of collections may also be displayed, including
objects from nature walks.
- Provide props in the dramatic play area so children can play at taking
on the various roles of people who are found at an art museum. Some
props might include blocks and toy people, and a small table with "gift
shop" items. The art area can be used to make posters and brochures
of the latest exhibit. ArtSpace is contains Trevor, the gallery
guide, two people who are viewing the images, artists, and children
making art. A number of people oversee the day-to-day operation of a
museum: the director, the curators (or keepers), the educators or tour
guides, security officers, people who work in the cafeteria or restaurant,
people who sell things in the bookstore or shop, conservators (who take
care of the objects), publicity and publication staff, and the registrar.
It takes a lot of people, each doing their own job, to run a museum.
Visitors are also important to a museum. Without them, where would a
- Although ArtSpace does not include a museum shop, children
who have visited a museum may decide to set up a shop in a part of their
museum or in another part of the classroom. Dramatic play might include
deciding on appropriate merchandise, "selling" works of art, using pretend
money, cash registers, making change, deciding on prices, stocking shelves,
and planning appealing displays. In real life, class products such as
tee-shirts (with iron-on designs made with a computer and printer or
painted on designs with washable paint) might be "sold" in the shop.
- Museums often have special opening parties for a new exhibit. When
children finish their museum, or mount a new exhibit, have a real opening,
inviting families, or another class of children, or have a pretend opening
for class members only. An opening is a good time to explain the importance
of art to families. Decide on special music or any special effects you
may be able to secure for the opening. Children can take the role of
docents, taking guests on a tour of the museum exhibit. Incorporate
snack into the opening party. Children might dress in fancy costumes
from the playhouse for the opening. Encourage "opening parties" during
free choice time. After a real opening, children may want to relive
it with a "pretend" opening. With the teacher recalling the event, the
whole group can participate. Each child can add to the activity by acting
out the sequence of events of the opening.
- Create a book of museum images for the library corner. Print images
from "The Studio" or the "Children's Gallery" in various sizes and laminate
them. Use double sets for matching games, or for more complicated games.
The images can also be put together into a class book of favorites,
or into books for individual children, depending upon interest. Scan
children's art and print it out to make an art book. Make a group book
of art that children create in the classroom for use on the library
table. The books may be group efforts or books made by individual children.
Include commercial books about art and artists in the library corner
- Collect other museum software on CD-ROM such as With Open Eyes from
the Art Institute of Chicago or look what i see from the Metropolitan
Museum of Art. The software can be used in conjunction with ArtSpace,
providing further information about art and extending the number of
images viewed by children and adults.
- Visit an artist's studio or invite artists to come into the classroom
to share their work and ideas. If the artists are members of the children's
extended family, that's even better. Ask the artists to demonstrate
a short process. For example, if the artist is a potter, ask him or
her to make a coil pot with clay. Prepare the artists ahead of time,
requesting that they simplify the processes they show, without talking
down to the children. Answer any questions the artists may have about
the visit. Children prefer doing to watching others do; if possible
extend or follow up (on another day) the artist's visit with an activity
related to the demonstration. If the activity or project takes several
days, invite the artist back to see children's finished work.