An interview with ThingLink Certified Educator Karsten Steiner, a passionate iPadagog and music teacher from Åland Islands and the author of “Motion pictures at an exhibition MoPic” on iBook.
“As a music teacher I’ve been inspired by Modest Mussorgsky’s famous piece “Pictures at an Exhibition” in which he describes his friend’s paintings in a musical way. This gave me the idea to contact my colleagues in different countries and create a virtual museum that gave old pictures a new life, with help of film, theatre, new art and digital technologies.”
What is the Mopic project?
MOPIC is a digital history museum for students, made by students. It was done as a two-year ERASMUS project in collaboration between four countries: Lithuania, Catalonia (Spain), England and the Åland Island (Finland). During the two years, each country organized a one-week long creative workshop, the results of which were documented for the virtual museum. The students from the participating countries were between the age of thirteen and sixteen, 8th and 9th grade. Altogether, the project involved directly and indirectly over 1,000 people.
Together with my colleagues, we organized the project into six phases:
1: TEST RUN WITH TEACHERS (CRITICAL)
In the beginning of the project eight teachers came together for a week to think about the learning goals and desired end results for the project.
2: FINDING HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS
Next step for each student group was to discover three interesting local historical projects and the stories behind them. For each project, students had to find images, photographs or archeological materials. These pictures were the start for three virtual project rooms in each countrys’ exhibition space. To keep all materials in one place the groups used Padlet.
3: ART WORKSHOP IN ÅLAND
The historical pictures inspired the first workshop in Åland, during which students they learned
different ways and techniques to create new art based on the local stories.
4: MUSIC WORKSHOP IN CATALONIA
This workshop gave students an opportunity to interpret the collected materials with music using creative instruments like water bottles, Makey Makey kits and GarageBand.
5: THEATRE WORKSHOP IN LITHUANIA
Here, students chose a photograph that they wanted to bring to life by acting in front of a green screen. Students learned to design and sew their own costumes and apply theatre makeup to finalize their historical character.
After this workshop all countries had the needed materials for their own virtual museum room. The tools for organizing the different tasks and sharing the materials included Trello, Dropbox, and Google drive. The students communicated with each other using Facebook groups and Flipgrid videos. The virtual museum was created with ThingLink.
6: VIRTUAL TOUR CREATION WORKSHOP IN ENGLAND
Finally, each of the country teams collected their materials from the previous workshops and combined them into a 360 degree virtual experience using ThingLink. The local stories came together in the MOPIC exhibition that gave the audience an option to use VR headsets and walk through the museum experience in each country.
What kind of learning goals did you set for the project?
As much as the end result, we were interested in the journey leading to it, and getting answer to questions like:
- What did the students want to learn about their own local history?
- What can historical photos tell us about our present?
- How can we use our knowledge about history to build something new?
These questions opened up great opportunities for students to learn about:
- Research methods for making art inspired by different materials and role models
- Creative expression in making music, acting, masking, and costume design
- Use of digital tools for filming, interviewing, audio recording and green screen
- Visit other countries and learn about their culture
- Communicate in English, socialize and have fun together
What is the value of the 360 degree presentation of project results?
The additional value of 360 viewing is the experience of being inside the virtual museum world and to be able to focus and walk around without distractions. For students, it also gives a new kind of opportunity to be an active part of the production and the whole educational process. Both students and teachers got an opportunity to extend their creativity, social and digital skills.
What comes next?
I am very grateful for being able to bring so many different professionals together with the students and everyone was open to learn from each other! The students feel very proud about the outcome of the project and many of them got unforgettable experiences and friends for life.
Going forward, I hope that Mopic can be an example for learning and collaborating in multi-cultural environments, and that in the future I will have the possibility to work with more schools from different countries. In fact, I would like to invite any school, no matter what grade or level to try this out! I’m welcoming every new idea with open arms, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!