Primary schools in June are hectic places to be. With reports to be filled out, sports days and school trips on the agenda, there isn’t usually a lot of time for anything else. So, it was probably not the best time for me to ask schools if they were interested in an experiment to see if Twitter could be used to support the Irish primary school curriculum.
When twenty schools tried out my first Twitter experiment, which simply asked schools to tell us a little bit about their local area, it was easy to see the potential educational benefits from it. Not only did we learn about each other’s areas,we found out about all sorts of different things. For example, schools began talking to each other about their own sports days and school trips. We found out about famous past pupils from schools. A couple of the schools even had pupils writing blog posts on their school web sites about their Twitter experience.
I wanted our second Twitter project to push the boundaries of text conversations. I also wanted to pick a subject that I thought might not be too obvious for a process like this. I chose Visual Arts. The theme was to be “the most expensive painting in the world.” Currently this accolade goes to Jackson Pollock’s “Number 5” which was bought for $140m in 2006.
Schools were asked to vote on whether they liked the painting, whether they thought it was worth the money and to find out any information about Jackson Pollock as they could. The schools were also invited to scan in and post up some paintings the children had made inspired by “Number 5”.
The comments came thick and fast:
We don’t think Jackson Pollock’s painting is worth $140m. We think the Mona Lisa is better!
The painting reminds me of a storm.
After a brief glance, we took a vote: 6 liked the painting; 17 didn’t!
It’s colourful & smartly done & unique to other paintings. Your eye stays on it and that’s why I like it.
I like it because it looks fun to do.You see lots of things within it.
I didn’t like it at first, cause I thought I could do it myself….maybe I’ve changed my mind now though!
In first and second class 17 liked the No. 5 painting by Jackson Pollock, 9 did not like it.
we think that a real Jackson Pollock picture would take ages to paint and we think he would needed help
junior infants are painting Jackson Pollock style paintings! Will post up photos. Only 1 junior infants liked the Pollock painting!
We also shared information about Pollock:
Jackson Pollock died in a car crash at the age of 55. His last two paintings were called Scent and Search
He was born in 1912. He would have been about 36 when he painted ‘5’.
Jackson Pollack liked to work in a warehouse and he was famous for his splatter paintings.
It was also great to see some interesting ways that schools used the Number 5 painting. For example, a school in Dublin traced images on their Interactive Whiteboard that they could see in the painting. They had great fun and said that “even our principal had a go!”
Another school, who are currently involved in a pilot programme using the iPod Touch in the classroom used them to research information on Jackson Pollock and they also wrote blog posts about their experience.
However, for me, the best thing of all was the paintings that children from different schools did inspired by Jackson Pollock. Three schools were able to upload their efforts to the Internet. I was blown away by the amazing art that the children produced. The three schools, Carlow Educate Together NS, St. Martin de Porres NS and Ransboro NS created some brilliant and unique pieces of work. Below are some examples. While Carlow ETNS and St. Martin de Porres both used the service “Twitpic” to upload paintings, Ransboro NS downloaded a “Jackson Pollock” app for their iPod Touches and created some interesting works of art.
As we come to the end of the academic year, I feel that we have proved that Twitter can be used as a tool to aid children in the primary curriculum. Using Twitter has opened up conversations between schools, which are continuing long after the project has finished and many schools are using the service to report on all sorts of events in their respective schools. I think we’ll continue to try out the use of Twitter in the next academic year and see what sorts of subjects we can focus on. A big thank you to all the schools who took part.
Last Update: August 17, 2017