One of the joys of internet browsing is discovering quietly brilliant websites that consistently deliver high quality educational digital content. Thanks to museums across the world sharing their archives in a variety of engaging multi-media formats online we now have finger tip access to huge libraries of learning material. This is a far cry from the school library where I sat hungrily scouring aging encyclopedias for visual references for school projects. Now literally the art world is our oyster. From old masters to contemporary artists we can now view, explore and be inspired by art and art history in a way not imaginable just a couple of decades ago.
Art Babble is one such website that offers a huge range of art related cross curricular video learning content that can be used not just within art classrooms but also for English, History, Geography, Religion and even STEM subjects. Founded in 2009 by a group within the Indianapolis Museum of Art, it now hosts content from over 50 cultural institutions and museums from around the world. The site describes itself as:
“an energetic place to learn for everybody who loves and has an interest in art and particularly for educators who can use it as a way to support their classroom activities.”
That’s a pretty accurate description. It’s not just the fantastic quantity and quality of the content that makes Art Babble as good as it is, it’s the way in which its navigation menu is presented. The site designer knew how educators look for content and made it very simple to search for video content on specific topics or just explore. Users can browse by Theme, Medium, Period & Style, Location, People, Museum Practice, Video Type and Language.
Searching through Themes alone brings you and A –Z lists of cross circular video content on:
Activism, Adversity, Being an Artist
Childhood, Collaboration, Color and Light, Communication, Community, Creativity, Culture
Elements of Art
Hope, Human Body
Identity, Imagination, Immigration & Migration, Individuality, Inspiration, Interpretation
Language, Learning, Learning to Look
Materials and Process, Memory, Morality
Nationalism, Nature and the Environment
Peace, Perception, Performance, Perspective, Place, Politics, Principles of Art
Religion and Spirituality, Ritual
Society, Sports and Games, Stories, Subjects, Symbols
Women and Art
You can also browse content from ArtBabble partners with each partner page offering a brief introduction to their organisation and some insight into how their collections are curated. Art Students interested in a career in art conservation for instance can learn how different museums curate and conserve their collections for future generations. The site also includes a really useful Tips Sheet on how to use Art Babble as a teaching resource with lesson ideas to stimulate and guide learning; ranging from using an Art Babble video clip to grab attention at the beginning of a class, as a student project resource or even to use as a digital scavenger hunt.
The Educator’s Page lists a number of lesson topics detailed by Age Group and Subject, each containing a series of relevant video clips:
- Adding Art to the Stem Subjects
- Points of View
- Lost Worlds
- Art from Nature
- Reusing Materials
- Role of Religion in Developing Society
There’s also a dedicated page “For Kids” which archives all video content that can be used for younger age groups. All in all Art Babble is a well designed and useful resource, perfect to add creativity to any classroom.