Charlie Johnson’s info on Khan Academy
Charles Johnson is not new to the world of Art education. He has taught for over 38 years, was a 2008 finalist for Maine Teacher of the Year, a Phase 1, 2, and 3 Maine Arts Assessment Initiative Teacher Leader, and teaches at Mount Desert Island High School where his leadership skills are used on a daily basis. A video was created last year for the MAAI standards-based education work of Charlie and his school. Charlie partnered with MDIHS principal Matt Haney for the workshop he presented recently at the Arts Education: Leading the Way state arts education conference at UMaine. This blog post was written by Charlie after he took a look and a second look at Khan Academy and learned what is being offered for Art education. You can use Charlie’s findings and go a step further and check it out for yourself. Thanks Charlie!
I looked at the Khan Academy web site and signed on as a member a couple of years ago after reading Inevitable (Schwahn & McGarvey) and feeling that a lot of direct instruction might be placed in the hands of students if there were some web resources that were engaging and contained quality content. On first entering the site, I was pleased by the range of content across a number of subjects, mostly math. I did find some “Art History” resources, but they left me cold for high school age students as the recordings were done over still photography of work in museums, the narration was somewhat dry, and the sound quality was varied, even within single videos.
This fall I noticed that one of my advisee students had signed up for AP Math, and so I asked him how he made such a leap from the year before. I knew he was interested in math, but had gotten a slow start at his elementary school. His answer was simple, Khan Academy. He had gone through the Algebra series on Khan and pretested for entry into advanced placement class at our school.
His experience was in the back of my mind when I got this recent notice from a “LinkedIn” group I belong to, the National Art Education Association. I would, by the way, suggest any art education professional look at these “groups” as they often have tremendous teaching help and advocacy information posts as well as many discussions around art education topics. The link this group took me to is http://ow.ly/qutGe and while it has an interesting video on the oil painting technique of Ad Reinhardt, it was the direct MOMA tutorial link to Khan Academy that really got me “all wrapped up”! https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/MoMA took me to a “partner-content” (I wish Khan would do one with the National Gallery as well) page where there are dozens and dozens of links to contemporary artists speaking about their work, seventeen videos on the 1913 Centennial Celebration of MOMA’s holdings, videos on printmaking, artistic styles and arts interviews. The deeper I got into the site, the more I discovered.
This is a new and improved Khan (Art) Academy from just a couple of years ago, with well designed (YouTube) video, interesting (and to the point) “mini lectures” on historical pieces and their contexts, and numerous “how-to” segments that give foundational information about the techniques and equipment for producing art in a variety of media. I would strongly suggest taking a tour through this collaboration between MOMA and Khan. It may not be for everyone, but it is much more student-friendly and interesting, suggesting that Salman Khan “gets it”, has a “growth” mindset, and is constantly striving to improve.