April 11-14, 2007
San Francisco, California

Demonstrations: Description

Using PACHYDERM to Design an Educational Web Resource for K-12 Teachers and Students

Scott Sayre, Sandbox Studios / Museum411, USA
Jacqueline Copeland, Walters Art Museum, USA

The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, working with Sandbox Studios, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has used Pachyderm to create an interactive educational K-12 web resource Integrating the Arts: Mummies, Manuscripts and Madonnas. Pachyderm is a free, open-source authoring tool developed specifically for museums and educators. This demonstration will provide an overview of the design of the site, the advantages of using Pachyderm, and some of the challenges faced by the project team.

The Walters Art Museum contains a permanent collection of thousands of objects representing a comprehensive history of art from the ancient world to the early 20th century. In 2005 the museum began the re-design of its existing website, which debuted in 2001. The Education Division worked with Sandbox Studios to repurpose content from existing Walters' hard-copy instructional materials in order to create Integrating the Arts: Mummies, Manuscripts and Madonnas, a new instructional resource for K-12 audiences, especially middle grade students and teachers, in the new Walters Web site. The site is an interactive, interdisciplinary, educational resource for arts integration that is aligned with local, state and national standards. Designed using the Pachyderm authoring tool, the site includes text, images, audio/video and flash animations and interactives for incorporating the visual arts into the core disciplines of mathematics, science, language arts and social studies.

Integrating the Arts: Mummies, Manuscripts and Madonnas is a three-phase project, initially based on the Walters Art Museum's collection of medieval art. Content relating to the ancient, Renaissance and Asian collections will be added in the upcoming phases. The goals of the project are to create a rich, interactive resource for teachers and students that would make the Walter's collections accessible to teachers throughout the state of Maryland and beyond, provide the Walters' education staff an easily maintained and updateable site, and build the museum's capacity to author other presentations using Pachyderm.

Currently Integrating the Arts features selected images from the Walters' medieval collection, including two medieval manuscripts which can be viewed page by page (re-purposed from an existing gallery kiosk), two videos, two flash interactives, and both printable and online activities that related to mathematics, science, language arts and social studies. Future materials will include rich multimedia and interactives, and a Timeline that will represent an overview of all the works of art on the site.

The medieval portion of Integrating the Arts, which debuted in November 2006, has been tested by interdisciplinary teams of teachers and is constantly updated by the museum educators to reflect user feedback. To promote its use the Walters is in the process of developing a formal two-year training program for teachers throughout the state of Maryland.

Demonstration: Demonstrations - 1 [Close-Up]

Keywords: Authoring tool, Content Management, Education, Pachyderm