Van Gogh at school – Get to know Vincent: an online educational platform on the Van Gogh Museum website
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam houses the largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh, one of the best-known 19th century artists in the world. In the educational field it caters to schools worldwide. In 2016 it received over 50.000 pupils in its galleries and had 24.794 web visits to the Van Gogh Museum school pages, from over 40 countries. As an art museum we are very happy with numbers like these. But they also mean that we are not able to create tailor made lessons for every school. Furthermore, differences and changes in school systems ask for new strategies in museum education. Children start their school careers more and more as digital natives. Internet is an important source for children and schools, and teaching does not only take place in classrooms. Teachers are looking for new roles and are teaching 21st century skills. New digital opportunities arise when it comes to creating interactive and engaging content. Museums need to adapt – and sometimes need to loosen their control as well. The internet contains loads of information about Vincent van Gogh. So how do you stay on top as the knowledge centre on a world famous artist? How to cater to schools worldwide, with significant differences in local, national and international school systems? How to make our lessons and our collection easily accessible to teachers, who know what works best for their pupils? To keep up with all the changes and differences in school systems, the Van Gogh Museum developed a new education strategy which combines school programs in the museum, outreach to schools in the Amsterdam region, and online. Central in this strategy is Van Gogh at school - Get to know Vincent, an online platform which was developed together with LessonUp. Their online tool allows users to create, share and teach diverse lessons using elements like video, weblinks and interactive quizzes. The platform facilitates and inspires teachers working in primary education (age groups 4-12 years), in both Dutch and English. Van Gogh at school offers • ready-made lessons about Vincent van Gogh, usable in a variety of courses (not only arts & crafts, but also language skills, history, mathematics, geography, history, cultural education). Teachers can use the lessons directly on their interactive whiteboard. • the possibility to adapt lessons, reuse parts of lessons or create new lessons altogether. Teachers can share their lessons with other teachers. This gives the Van Gogh Museum input to keep on developing and to keep up with the rapidly changing demands from teachers. After a try out period of several months, Van Gogh at school was launched in August 2016. In 2017 we will start developing materials for secondary schools (age groups 12-18).

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