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Smarthistory.org is a free award-winning multimedia web-book designed as a dynamic enhancement (or even substitute) for the traditional art history textbook. We are interested in delivering the narratives of art history using the read-write web's interactivity and capacity for authoring and remixing. Publishers are adding...
Smarthistory.org is a free award-winning multimedia web-book designed as a dynamic enhancement (or even substitute) for the traditional art history textbook. We are interested in delivering the narratives of art history using the read-write web's interactivity and capacity for authoring and remixing. Publishers are adding multimedia to their textbooks, but unfortunately they are doing so in proprietary, password-protected adjunct websites. These are weak because they maintain an old model of closed and protected content, eliminating Web 2.0 possibilities for the open collaboration and open communities that our students now use and expect. In Smarthistory, we have aimed for reliable content and a delivery model that is entertaining and occasionally even playful.
The Smarthistory site is a very impressive collection of resources covering over 2000 years of art. Comprising high quality videos and clearly written and informative text-based resources, the site is organised around four main areas: Time, Style, Artist and Themes.
The video and text resources available range from beginners level guidance on intrepreting and describing artworks, through to chronologically ordered overviews of specific time periods and much more narrowly focused case studies of individual works. The works chosen often differ from those commonly found in art history texts and offer a stimulating and engaging access point to the context in which each work was produced and the themes and issues addressed in the work.
Educators should find Smarthistory offers great potential as a source of resources for use in classroom teaching. Smarthistory could also be useful for educators wishing to set learners a guided research task using the site. Independent learners should also find Smarthistory easy and rewarding to use. The content is academically credible and of a high standard.
The site navigation takes a little getting used to due to the quantity of information available.