I recently had the opportunity to speak about the museum’s digital initiatives to quite a specialised audience: secondary Visual Arts teachers.
Organised by the Catholic Education Archdiocese of Parramatta, the 100 Mile Art conference brought together arts teachers from across the state, in a day that focused on technologies for the Visual Arts classroom.
The audience was a blend of technologically savvy (hearteningly with a range of devices, no one operating system dominated) and those still coming up to speed with how they can integrate technology into their teaching practice. One thing they all had was an open mind and a keen interest in what the Digital team at the MCA had available to support them.
My presentation encapsulated the ways in which they could engage with us onsite (stop animation and new media workshops), offsite (Digital Excursions) and supporting resources they could find online (digital resources, MCA Insight, our mobile app and e-publications).
Of particular popularity was MCA Insight, the museum’s location aware mobile app. The suggestion of using the ‘My Gallery’ function (where users ‘star’ a work and it gets collected into a group which the app sends the user an email about with more info on each of the works) as an assessment tool generated some excited murmuring and I could see several teachers quickly downloading it as I spoke.
I was also fortunate enough to be in the audience for other presenters on the day, my particular favourite being Sarah Eyles from Caroline Chisholm College who demonstrated a selection of web based resources she uses in the classroom. All of them were free, many didn’t require signups and most promoted online collaboration. Three standout platforms, which offer my team great potential include FlockDraw (online collaborative drawing), Zopler (online collaborative storytelling) and Today’s Meet (online meeting space). I’m looking forward to finding ways to integrate them into our digital learning programs!
Melinda Garcia is Digital Learning Coordinator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. She has a Master of Arts in e-Learning from the University of Technology, Sydney and a keen interest in the possibilities offered by new technologies to make the visitor/learner experience richer. Melinda works across the Learning Team to design experiences for a range of audiences in the Digital and Multimedia Studios in the National Centre for Creative Learning. Within the Digital Media team she produces content for MCA digital platforms including the website, Online Collection, mobile app and social media, and oversees the MCA’s Digital Excursions program which connects the Museum via video conferencing to remote audiences. Melinda has also worked with the Biennale of Sydney, the Art Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Modern Art New York.