Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Great artists in history - Art curriculum

Click here to download the app
30th March marks Vincent van Gogh's birthday. He was born on 30th March 1853, which means he was born (as of this year: 2016), 163 years ago. His work and life story makes a big impact all these years later, and is on the curriculum of schools across the world.

We have worked with a teacher to create an engaging iPad app dedicated to Vincent and his contribution to the history of art. In celebration of what would have been his birthday, we have dropped the price of this to the lowest: 79p (UK), 99c (US) and $1.49 (AU).

Digital Mysteries: Vincent van Gogh is a unique app which allows pairs of 7-11 year olds to work simultaneously on one iPad with a task mapped to the art/English curriculum. They can also do the task alone if preferred.

Users are given illustrated slips of information which they read, organise into groups and lay out across the screen. These are all about the interesting story of Vincent van Gogh’s life, and the controversy surrounding how he came to lose an ear, to introduce students to his – and fellow artist Paul Gauguin’s – work. It can be used to contribute to the requirement to teach pupils about great artists in history.

A screenshot of Digital Mysteries: Vincent van Gogh
The 18 slips include letters between Vincent and his brother, a diagnosis of Vincent’s health by Doctor Rey, a newspaper report and statements of many of the people involved. While these are central to the story itself, the mystery also brings in many of Vincent’s paintings which can be viewed very clearly in the largest slip size. There is also a self-portrait by Paul Gauguin included too.

Click here to see on the App Store.

It is hoped that the students will be engaged in the dramatic story behind the famous artist while at the same time be able to learn about his style and whether/how it was different to others. The mystery could be used to support the development of group discussion and interaction, as well as encourage students in their development of generic thinking skills.

Once students have finished and came up with their own answer to ‘Why did Vincent lose his ear?’ they can generate a printable PDF report which outlines the session; students involved, their notes, groups and answer, as well as colourful screenshots of each stage. They can also go to a Reflection Stage in which they can playback the process and discuss it as a group, with their teacher or even as a class.

The task might serve as a spring board to further research comparing and contrasting the differing approaches and subject matters of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.

To find out more and see the full list of learning outcomes, click here or email info@reflectivethinking.com.

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