Mobile digital gateways between the visual arts and social studies, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Marie-Claude Larouche, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Canada

From art to social studies, how can we help students make the most of museum artworks using mobile digital technology?
We are presenting the setup for a design-based research (Reimann, 2011) with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to develop and evaluate a prototype mobile social studies app for student visitors.
The project is structured around a first order of interdisciplinary questions. How can the visual arts foster school pupils’ internalization of the concepts of society and territory, such as those studied in the Québec Education Program? If a figurative artwork has documentary value and can be viewed as iconographic, the work offers far more than a simple reading of anecdotal elements. It communicates the artist’s perceptions, embodying a view that cannot be dissociated from the society that engendered it. As such, the work reveals a wealth of opinion and subjective interpretation that resonate with the subjective view of the child or adolescent who confronts it from the perspective of his or her own reality. Furthermore, how can we lead the student to grasp the nexus of the territory and the representation? More specifically, how can we help the student understand both how the territory was occupied or used by humans in a particular era and what art adds to the representation of that territory?
The project then turns to a second order of questions. What contribution can mobile digital technology make to this experiential and multimedia learning process in the museum? More specifically, how can the institution’s web and mobile digital resources (such as tablets) and wifi network be used to design a museum tour that invites the students to play an active role in creating meaning by accessing or creating multimedia content and sharing it with their peers?
By the time of the conference, a protype of the app will have been developed and field tested, using Jambon’s methodology (2008), with users who have a profile similar to that of the target audien

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