Other Digital Learning Worlds: The Google Art Project

Barry Lenson

Other Digital Learning Worlds: The Google Art Project

Lots of people have discovered how StraighterLine is using online learning technology to reinvent the world of education. And here at StraighterLine, we’ve been discovering some interesting things too. We’re not alone in using online technology to reinvent institutions that have been around for centuries.

Take the Google Art Project, for example, Google’s effort to put the collections of the world’s most important art museums online. Even though the project is brand new, it is already quite incredible. If you visit the site, you will be able to take virtual tours, and review the collections of more than a dozen of the world’s greatest museums, including: the Metropolitan Museum (New York); the Museo Reina Sofia (Madrid), the Tate (London), the Uffizi (Florence) and others. Although the museums’ offerings at this point are somewhat uneven (some have better digital images than others, for example, and not all offer top-notch videos), the project already serves as a formidable resource for art students and art lovers everywhere.

Plus – dare I say it? – the Google Art Project could be a little bit better in some ways than an actual visit to some of the museums. If you visit the Metropolitan Museum and stick your face a half inch from “The Harvesters” by Pieter Breughel, for example, a museum guard is going to stop you. But on the Google Art Project, you can zoom right in and get your virtual nose right on the canvas for as long as you want. You can get in so close that you can see the artist’s individual brushstrokes.

So the bottom line is that the Google Art Project is the StraighterLine of the museum world, using online technology to bring learning to everyone, everywhere.  

In future posts, we’ll be looking for other online institutions that are breaking down traditional barriers to learning. Stay tuned, but please let us know about discoveries that you have made, so we can share them here.

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