Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Art Education


Art Education

First Advisor

Dr. Pamela G. Taylor


In response to the many demands and pressures faced by both students and teachers in public schools, the art teacher in this action research study searched for ways to change her teaching practices to facilitate active inquiry. She utilized Thinking Maps®, a specialized form of graphic organizers, and Inspiration®, a hypertext linking program to promote interdisciplinary teaching and learning. The goals of the study were to increase student engagement, improve learning, and promote higher order thinking in elementary school art classes. The target group was comprised of the third grade students at Saunders Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. Each third grade students researched the natural world through the lens of a chosen creature. The students then created personalized Inspiration® documents that described their creatures. Faced with limited time and a wide range of student abilities, the teacher used an interactive approach during the following class sessions to facilitate continued inquiry. As a result of this transition, the teaching methodology described underwent a transition from teacher-as-disseminator to teacher-as facilitator. The resulting classroom atmosphere became a student-centered community of learning. The students and the teacher collaborated to ask questions, find answers to those questions, and create relevant links within Inspiration® documents (webs). The teacher found that she could not control the design of the connections within the documents to the degree that she had previously hoped, but new revelations regarding hypertext design were assimilated. The documents produced during this study were forms of authentic assessment that held the potential for use in future teaching.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Art Education Commons