Something that should be considered imperative in education is providing your students with an authentic audience. Many educators already display work in hallways, for parent nights, and encourage students to share work in small groups or local exhibitions. All of this not only shows students that their work is valued and appreciated, but give them a chance to have their work critiqued and viewed by those they value most; friends, family, and other peers. Nowhere is this more evident than through artwork, as art is one of the highest forms of self expression, and can bring students great pride. My wife entered three students’ work in a local art exhibition and when one of the pieces went on to a state-wide elementary art show, the student was elated.
So what can we do to share students’ artwork with as wide, and authentic, an audience as possible? By publishing student artwork to the Internet we give them not only one of the largest possible audiences, but also give them an audience which they perceive to be the most authentic. Many students today often value comments, thoughts, and opinions from Internet users just as much as those they’ve met in real life. Not only that, but students can also get inspirational ideas or collaborate on projects with students across the nation or globe. The great thing is that such a tool isn’t just for Art students either. Elementary teachers can use web sites to publish classroom work to show how well the class is progressing, or publish artwork done for a class project. Here are a list of a few great places to publish student artwork for free (MAGIC WORD!). I’m sure Nicole will want to talk about a few of them in the forum.
Artsonia – A great site for elementary art, it allows you to search for student work by name or school. The really neat feature? You can send eCards or order gifts (15% of proceeds are donated to the school where the art came from) using any of the images in the Artsonia online “museum.”
Wordwide Art Gallery – Great place for younger artists to share work easily. It also includes art activities, famous artist bios, and a small art encyclopedia.
VooDooChilli.net – Best suited for secondary students, this is a fantastic site dedicated to setting up professional-quality online portfolios. Students considering a career in Art can submit images, and decide whether or not they want to receive comments on their work to be displayed on the site, providing compelling and professional feedback. Works much like a blog.