Hanging Out with AHTR


Author: Ginger Spivey

This spring AHTR will begin a series of on-line discussions, using Google+ Hangouts as a way to get together virtually and talk about teaching art history.  If you’re not familiar, Google+ Hangouts are live video chats that can include up to 10 participants.  This post explains the initiative and gives information about how to participate in AHTR Hangouts. You can visit AHTR’s Google+ Community or the AHTH Hangouts Google+ page to learn about upcoming Hangouts and to suggest topics you’d like to discuss in the future.

Why Hang Out? 

The idea to initiate a series of AHTR Hangouts developed this year at THATCampCAA when a group of art historians gathered to discuss the use of digital technology in the classroom.  The conversation began with ways to crowdsource teaching resources, but soon drifted to such topics as thematically taught classes, the logistics of flipping a class, teaching students technology skills, and ways to assess learning.  It quickly became obvious–we had a lot to talk about!

AHTR Hangouts were thus born as a way to continue that conversation, and to encourage others to join in.  Another source of inspiration was the National Art Education Association’s Museum Education Division’s On-line Peer-to-Peer Initiative, which uses Google+ Hangouts on Air as a year-round forum for peer networking.  Mike Murawski, Director of Education and Public Programs at the Portland Art Museum, noted in this post on artmuseumteaching.com:

 Museums and [K-12] schools have been widely engaged in how digital media and technology can connect with their students and audiences.  But what about the potential of these same technologies to build entirely new “communities of practice” among professionals. . . .

Art history would benefit from similar dialogue and exchange outside of conference settings.  The discipline has traditionally lacked a strong community to advance pedagogical discourse, despite the number of faculty whose primary responsibilities revolve around teaching.  As more art historians incorporate technology in their research and teaching practices, we should also recognize its potential to further professional development in the field.  Peer networks have always been important to this goal, but they depend on personal connections and established communities.  Interactive technology offers a way to expand our “communities of practice” to include educators from more varied institutions, at different career stages, and with a range of pedagogical, technological, and art historical expertise.

Upcoming Hangouts!  

To pilot the program, we have three AHTR Hangout discussions planned for the end of the school year:

Teaching Thematically on Tuesday, May 13 3pm (EDT)
Art History in Summer (School) on Wednesday, June 4 4pm (EDT)
Hacking the MOOC on Tuesday, July 1, 1pm (EDT)

Although we plan to experiment with different formats, these initial Hangouts will be open discussions held live for about an hour. We invite anyone who wants to participate to join (and leave) as they like. We also have asked a few special guests with experience in each scheduled topic to drop by and add their thoughts.

Like any new technology, Google+ Hangouts presents some challenges and idiosyncrasies to learn.  To participate,  you will need to sign up for, or activate, a Google+ account (not just a Gmail account).   Find instructions here.   Once you’ve got an account, you can join the Art History Teaching Resources Community and follow the AHTR Hangouts Google+ page to learn about and participate in upcoming hangouts, or to suggest topics you’d like to discuss in future hangouts.

But wait, there’s more!  

We’ve planned a pre-Hangout “How to Hangout” workshop on Friday, May 9 at 12pm (EDT) for anyone who has never used Google+ Hangouts, or just wants more experience before participating in the discussion on May 13. Be sure to sign up for your Google+ account and add AHTR to your Circles prior to the hangout!  You might also want to check out this guide to AHTR Hangouts for basic information and links about how to use the Google+ platform.  If you would like additional information about this initiative or have feedback about the program, please contact Ginger Spivey at virginia.spivey@gmail.com.


One response to “Hanging Out with AHTR”

  1. […] spring I’ve been working with the website Art HistoryTeaching Resources to launch an on-line discussion series (held via Google+ Hangouts) for art history instructors interested in talking with colleagues about […]

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