So I’ve discovered a website/application so mind blowing, I have to climb to a top of a mountain and shout it to the world. Err, maybe we’ll just skip the whole mountain climbing business. But I simply have to share it with y’all. It’s called Google Cultural Institute.
On their About page, Google describes the project as:
Google has partnered with hundreds of museums, cultural institutions, and archives to host the world’s cultural treasures online.
With a team of dedicated Googlers, we are building tools that allow the cultural sector to display more of its diverse heritage online, making it accessible to all.
Here you can find artworks, landmarks and world heritage sites, as well as digital exhibitions that tell the stories behind the archives of cultural institutions across the globe.
This idea of sharing knowledge and making the world’s treasures available to everyone is great. I think it’s a beautiful example of how the internet can be a force of change, serving the greater good. (Not that I’m opposed the wasting hours and hours watching funny cat videos…:P ) What Google is doing here is an amazing thing for those who don’t live in areas where art museums or other cultural attractions are available. If I want to see famous artwork I don’t have to throw down a bunch of money, pack my bags, and fly across the country (or ocean) to see it. Google is bringing it to me, in the comfort of my own living room, and they’re not charging a dime for it. That’s pretty neat.
Aside from the convenience of what they’re doing, I also think it’s going to revolutionize education. Part of why I was so struck by the Cultural Institute is that it makes so very much possible for educators. In the example of an art teacher, such as myself, who uses Art Project (a subsection of the larger Cultural Project), I can show famous artwork to my students in a format that allows them to get up close and personal, zooming in to ultra-high quality photos so close they can see individual brush strokes. They can virtually tour museums. The students can also pick and choose items to compare side by side, activating higher thinking. Teachers and students can curate their own lists, whether it’s their favorite items, art from a specific period, or pieces that support a current unit in the curriculum. On top of that, they can search pre-organized sets or look at collections put together by other people. And best of all, Google has gone ahead and made print-outs and lesson plans available to educators. I’d call that more than just a nifty tool. It’s fantabulous.
(See more About Art Project.)
But I realize I’m rambling when maybe not all of you care as much about how teachers can use this. I’ll let Google’s promotional/how-to videos speak for themselves, and let you imagine the possibilities.
P.S. Expect to see more content from Art Project featured here, on my blog.
P.P.S. Google didn’t pay me anything to post this. I’m just really excited about what they’re doing (can you tell?) and want to share it with others.