Scottish School Pupils to Exhibit Art in a Virtual Gallery

Long gone are the days of school children creating minor masterpieces in art class only to take them home for mum to pin on the fridge. Pioneered as part of a wider initiative to discover innovative ways of bringing new technologies and computer games-based learning into the classroom in Scotland, CANVAS (Childrens Art at the National Virtual Arena of Scotland) will allow Scottish school kids the chance to display their work to thousands of other pupils in a specially-designed, safe and secure online domain. Better still, theyll then be able to create their own avatars and discuss their creations in-world.

CANVAS operates via Glow, the world’s first national intranet for education, on the application Open Sim the same platform used for Heritage Keys King Tut Virtual. It was developed through Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS)s Consolarium programme, in conjunction with Aberdeen-based company Second Places, who have worked with clients as varied as British Petroleum, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and comedian Jimmy Carr. The initiative arrives at a time when innovative thinking in the classroom is becoming increasingly de rigeur in Scotland, with an Edinburgh primary school having recently created a “living museum”featuring real exhibits linked to the Vikings and the ancient Egyptians.

Long gone are the days of school children creating minor masterpieces in art class only to take them home for mum to pin on the fridge.

Each of Scotlands 32 local authorities will have a separate room within the gallery, and each authority will be left to decide individually how best to make use of the space. CANVAS will additionally feature areas fulfilling other functions, such as transmitting curriculum information to pupils and teaching good practice in online domains. There will eventually be a seminar space too, capable of seating up to 150 avatars. Not all kids will be able to remain in-world at all times, so a function is being setup whereby pupils can record and upload a short video introducing their work. The creation of these videos in itself is expected to prove a rich learning experience. Each artist will also have their own forum, where they can pick up and respond to comments on their work.

We believe, writes LTSs New Technologies Development Officer Derek Robertson on the Consolarium blog, that the participative nature of the (CANVAS) design will offer a context in which young learners experiences, thoughts and understanding of their own work and development can be enriched and enhanced by the proposed opportunity for dialogue and discussion that the world offers.

Picture by Derek Robertson. All rights reserved.