Students study art through website

The College of Education at the University of Montevallo, the Birmingham Museum of Art and Elvin Hill Elementary School came together recently through the use of a computer program called &uot;Webquest.&uot;

Future teachers, students of UM Professor Dr. Rachel Fowler of Columbiana, who are learning to use technology in the classroom and taking a course called Instructional Technology II, used images of art provided by Dr. Suzanne Stephens, director of new media at the Birmingham Museum of Art, to create an educational computer program about art called Webquest.

Fifth grade students from Martha Bentley’s &uot;gifted&uot; program at Elvin Hill Elementary School in Columbiana visited UM to make use of the computer program to learn about landscape, still life and portrait art as well as representational, impressionism and abstract styles of paintings.

Next, using the knowledge the students gained from the computer program and working one-on-one with the student teachers as well as using the images of paintings from the Birmingham Museum of Art, the students were asked to use descriptions of art to solve a mystery.

The students had to solve a fictional crime and correctly identify a painting supposedly stolen from the museum.

Bentley said her students have &uot;benefited&uot; from the program, learning about computers, art and applying what they’ve learned to a particular situation.

Fowler said for the past two years her students have worked with students from schools in Shelby County.

According to Fowler, advantages of this project include the authentic integration of technology into the curriculum, use of community resources, collaboration with experts in the content field and the teaching field, an opportunity to work one-on-one with students using computers, research and evaluation of appropriate websites, expertise in creating an interactive instructional webpage (Webquest) and an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the project with student usage