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 (behance.net) 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
(flickr.com), which can easily display her paintings with little upkeep
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
When choosing a
platform for creating
may include cost,
usability. There are plenty of options
to choose from; here are a few to get
An obvious place to start is at dedicated portfolio sites like Behance,
Davis Digital (davisartspace.com),
and Wix (wix.com). 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
option is to take
advantage of student interest in the
Deviant Art. The
portfolio section of
the site (portfolio.
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 (notanotherhistoryteacher.edublogs.org) uses Evernote
(evernote.com), 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 (prezi.com), 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 revolution.blogspot.com. firstname.lastname@example.org