SchoolArts Magazine

OCT 2013

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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@R+ Student Portfolios David Gran F or reasons I cannot explain, there are a disproportionate number of artists in my family. We each have our different medium and styles—and we each have our different ways of publishing our work online. Take my cousin Hannah, for example. She's just finished her freshman year at the Rhode Island School of Design and publishes her school work on the RISD site powered by Behance ( and her personal work on Tumblr (tumblr. com). Both sites allow her to showcase her work through social media. On the other hand, my cousin Hermine, a painter on Martha's Vineyard (and avowed technophobe) uses Flickr (, which can easily display her paintings with little upkeep needed. The Digital Portfolio The use of the portfolio has a long history in art education as a tool for critique, assessment, and validation of student creativity and growth. A digital portfolio provides students with ownership of their body of work that they can see and share online, and continue working on as they evolve as artists. When the curating of their own portfolios becomes an integral part of the artistic process, digital portfolios can continue to grow well beyond the end of class. When choosing a platform for creating student portfolios, some considerations may include cost, customizability, and usability. There are plenty of options to choose from; here are a few to get you started: Portfolio Sites An obvious place to start is at dedicated portfolio sites like Behance, Davis Digital (, and Wix ( Wix offers a free version that allows you to create quick and complex websites with simple drag and drop actions. If you have access to a web hosting service, Wordpress (wordpress. org) offers the most customizable possibilities through various themes. Sites like Theme Forest (themeforest. net) and Elegant Themes ( provide countless styles students can use to create truly unique portfolios. Customizing sites can be time consuming, but for the tech-savvy and time dedicated, this is a great option. One interesting option is to take advantage of student interest in the art-sharing website, Deviant Art. The portfolio section of the site (portfolio. is flick 22 October 2013 SchoolArts DavisA rtSpace .com extremely user-friendly, and students can create up to four galleries with up to eighteen photos each. Going the Unconventional Route Some artists and teachers have found ways to create unique digital portfolios by cleverly subverting the use of other web-sharing tools. Melissa Seidman, a social studies teacher in Cold Spring, New York ( uses Evernote (, a tool designed to help you organize information of all shapes and sizes. Because Evernote syncs with just about every device out there, her students can add information and access their portfolios from just about anywhere. If "unconventional" is your favorite convention, Prezi (, an online presentation tool, allows you to manipulate text and images with movement in a linear or nonlinear fashion. It is therefore a potentially powerful tool for creating a very different kind of portfolio. Left to their own devices, what other image-sharing websites can students turn into unique portfolios? The form that the final portfolio takes can be a meaningful choice in itself. David Gran teaches high school art and film classes at the Shanghai American School in China and is the author of The Carrot Revolution, a blog about twentyfirst-century art education (carrot

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