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Release Date: December 31, 2018

National Gallery of Art Launches First Online Course: "Teaching Critical Thinking through Art"

A Gallery educator uses critical thinking strategies to engage students in a lesson filmed at the museum and available anywhere in the world.

A Gallery educator uses critical thinking strategies to engage students in a lesson filmed at the museum and available anywhere in the world.

Washington, DC—The Gallery's first-ever Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for educators of all grade levels, subjects, and locations is open for enrollment. Featuring a variety of demonstration videos and interactive tools, this five-unit course prepares teachers to incorporate works of art into classroom practices with Artful Thinking routines—critical thinking strategies developed by Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This free, self-paced course begins January 22, 2019 and will remain open indefinitely.

"We are excited to facilitate a global dialogue on fostering a culture of thinking through art in the classroom—a culture that values student voice, curiosity, and conversation," said Lynn Russell, head of education. The online course grew from the success of the Gallery's Art Around the Corner program, which has successfully introduced Artful Thinking strategies to students and teachers at DC Public Schools for more than ten years.

Shari Tishman, Senior Research Associate and former Director of Project Zero, and the lead researcher who developed the Artful Thinking pedagogy, says, "We are thrilled that the National Gallery of Art has so skillfully integrated Project Zero's Artful Thinking into their education programs and that such an esteemed institution is sharing their practice with the world, free of charge."

Produced in partnership with The Smithsonian Institution, the course is hosted under the SmithsonianX collection on the edX platform. The Gallery commissioned Howes Studio Inc. to innovate a next-generation MOOC incorporating engaging digital practices such as looking at art through a high-powered zoom tool. Participants can closely examine works of art from the over 90,000 collection objects available online at via the new iiiF (International Image Interoperability Framework, Mirador image viewer integrated into the course.

Because the five-unit course is self-guided, participants can pace themselves through the course as their schedule allows. The course is free; participants can opt to purchase a verified, instructor-signed certificate for $25.

For more information on "Teaching Critical Thinking through Art with the National Gallery of Art," visit To register, visit

Press Contact:
Christina Brown, (202) 842-6598 or [email protected]

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Press Release

Christina Brown
(202) 842-6598
[email protected]