My First Museum is an app that is designed to introduce young children to classical pieces of art and museums from around the world. The child enters a virtual gallery and clicks on a painting that interests them. The artwork is displayed alongside a written explanation of the work’s themes, the artist’s history and technique, and the time period in which the art was created. An audio track plays reading the text out loud or the child can pause this and read on their own and scroll through the text to move it along as they read. The text can be enlarged or shrunk down depending on the reader’s preference and the paintings can be enlarged if the user wants to look at details or wishes to see the art in a larger format while the information is being read to them.
The child can explore the app by clicking on paintings or choosing a specific museum such as the Louvre, the National Gallery, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. By clicking on the museum name, the child can then “visit” this museum by seeing works that are displayed there.
Each work has two sides to it; a modern interpretation that is interactive in some way, and the actual version of the work of art. The work has highlighted areas which correspond to the written information on the right hand side of the screen. The child can simply click on any number highlighted on the art and the app will take them directly to that portion of the text. Users can also “favorite” works of art which will be added to the home screen museum when the app is initially opened.
My First Museum is free to use but some features such as additional paintings require the full purchase of the app.
Focus: Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.
My First Museum can help younger children begin practicing their focusing skills on short-term tasks. Looking at a piece of art while listening to information about its history requires that the user block out other distractions and pay attention to what they see in front of them. For children who are able to read, looking at the text and then moving back and forth to look at the portions of the painting relevant to what they are reading requires more advanced focusing skills. For users who struggle with focus, looking at one painting a day or every other day can help practice this skill until the user is ready for longer periods of focusing time.
Flexibility: Trying something new.
My First Museum showcases works of art from all around the world and from different time periods. The subject matter and artists’ lives are also very different from one another. The user can practice their flexibility skills by choosing paintings they have never seen before and studying them closely while learning more about them by reading or listening to the audio track. For users who struggle with trying things outside of their comfort zone, start with a painting they enjoy because of its colors, its subject matter, or its style and then slowly introduce other works of art and discuss the differences and similarities between them.
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