Have you ever had a great idea, but then you find yourself lost in a world of resources, many of which cost money or are just poor quality? This happens to me all the time, especially when it comes to finding the right piece of art to pair with a lesson.
Right now, I’m working on Ekphrasis Poetry with my seniors. (Ekphrais means writing that comments upon another art form, for instance a poem about a photograph or a novel about a film.) This is one of my favorite lessons because it takes the art of language and pairs it with actual pieces of art. Before students are ready to tackle the depth found in the poems I’ve selected, they need to begin by analyzing classical pieces of art and speculating about the story behind what they see. As they do this, it helps them visualize language in a whole different way. Though this lesson can be approached in a few ways, the fact remains that high quality pieces of art are critical to the lesson’s success.
To my complete amazement two weeks ago, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art announced they would allow over 375,000 public-domain artworks to be available for free and unrestricted use under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) License, according to an article published on edSurge.com. Even more important is what this announcement ushers in by a community who once held the belief that access to art remained a privilege of those who visited museums in person. In a press release, Loic Tallon, the Met’s Chief Digital Officer, addressed the importance of widening the museum’s current viewership from 6.7 million to an internet audience in excess of three billion. In order to make such an extensive collection available, the Met partnered with Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley who just released a new CC Search beta.
What an exciting development for people everywhere, including teachers! Even better? This sets a great precedence for other organizations to jump on the bandwagon and broaden the variety and quality of items available for use in the classroom.
Media or digital literacy needs to be at the forefront of every lesson you teach.
Check out part two of this series for more about media literacy and usage rights.