I went to the National Gallery of Victoria a couple of weeks ago for their Italian Masterpieces exhibition and I SAW THE PAINTINGS. “Why the capital letters, bold type and red letters?” you might ask.
Because there was a large group of schoolgirls from one of Melbourne’s more prominent private schools who didn’t see a single painting. Instead, they were clustered in the middle of the exhibition room in small circles, their heads bent over their Ipads and their backs to the paintings. I’m not sure what the assignment was, but they were all typing something onto what looked like a notecard on their screen. Occasionally one or two looked at the written panel beside the painting. At no time did I see a girl turn around, look at a painting, step back to view from a distance, move forward to view close up, nudge a friend and point something out or interact in any way with anything other than her Ipad.
Their attendance at the gallery, in the presence of such beauty and treasure, was completely unnecessary. They may as well have stood in their own schoolyard.
I don’t know what the instructional design principles were of that assignment, but it failed in every regard.
By the way, the exhibition closes next weekend. Well worth seeing. Leave your Ipad at home.