Teaching Arts is a site devoted to the visual and performing arts. Under each heading of Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts, users can access articles and other points of information in the areas of Advocacy, Career Planning, Current Information, General Resources, Model Programs, Professional Development, and Standards - Assessment. Users may also provide feedback about the site, click on links to arts and dance news from around the world, and participate in online discussion groups in each of the visual and performing arts. The California Visual & Performing Arts Content Standards can be accessed through this site, as well as a number of professional organizations and interest groups for teachers. There are monthly updates, discussion groups, and a Virtual Arts Center featuring video clips from dance, drama/theatre, music, and visual art.
Educators will have ready access to current and up-to-date arts education information that addresses teaching, advocacy, model program development, assessment, and professional development. Educators will have access to concrete examples of arts processes, models, and performances used in schools and based on the state expectations for arts education in California.
Target Student Population:
Teachers and prospective teachers of the arts at all grade levels.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic website operation skills.
Type of Material:
This site could act as a reference point for prospective teachers of the visual and performing arts. It seems most appropriate for teaching methods courses.
Acrobat Reader is needed for viewing selected arts documents found within the site. In the Virtual Arts Center you can view the rooms as still pictures or with Apple's QuickTime plug-in which is a free download at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/
Evaluation and Observation
While limited in scope to the arts, this site does a credible job of covering all areas of the visual and performing arts. Discussion boards and links to professional organizations are invaluable tools for learning. This site can be used to establish the foundation of why the arts play a critical role in Pre-K--12 education. Implementation strategies, networking opportunities, and examples are provided through several venues including an e-mail news bulletin, discussion groups, a Virtual Arts Center, California's recently adopted Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards, advocacy, career planning, and curriculum development resources. Access to information for bringing artists into the schools, visual/audio examples in dance, drama/theatre, music, and visual art, and professional arts organization links within California are included. This is a fairly new site and is still growing and developing. It does have its own peer review system for what is and is not included.
This site is based on the California Standards. A comment should be included that indicates it could be a valuable resource for individuals who reside outside of California.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Having a vast amount of credible arts education information for the state of California in one place makes this site very effective and very efficient. The newsletter and discussion group aspects of the site provide some very good learning opportunities for educators to exchange thoughts and ideas about arts education with teachers already incorporating the arts in their instruction. Under each of the four arts areas you can find specific information on assessment both for California and the National level,
copyright issues, English Language learners, resources for standards-based instruction, and links to online units demonstrating the implementation of the California state content standards for the arts. The link to the California Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards is an integral part of the site.
Some the lessons linked to this site in related units are not actually complete lessons which have assessments of the arts standards included.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This site is well organized and it is visually attractive. Navigational buttons across the top and links down the side of the page are easy to read and use. Links appear to be working and are up to date. The information is clearly labeled and done in an appropriately artistic way. When QuickTime is needed to view a portion of the site, it is clearly indicated.
This site has not been Bobby Approved. When viewing the video clips within the Virtual Arts Center the download time is long because of the length of the clips, so viewers should be prepared to wait. The clips do provide good examples of students learning and performing in each of the four arts.