Tidbits in Tech: Integration in Education/Promoting Student Artwork Through Virtual Exhibits

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Introduction[edit]

Definition[edit]

A virtual exhibit is a display of artwork on the internet. Virtual exhibits are a great way for art teachers to show their students' work in elementary school, middle school, and high school. There are many ways for teachers to set up a virtual art exhibit. Virtual art exhibits are a product of the integration of technology into schools. For the core subjects (math, science, social studies, and language arts), teachers can easily incorporate technology into their lessons. For art teachers, this can become a challenge because art class is filled with hands-on experiences that technology cannot replace. A virtual exhibit is a refreshing way for art teachers to display their students' work.

Ways to Create a Virtual Art Exhibit[edit]

  • Create a sub page off of the school's website
  • Make a class website
  • Create a class blog
  • Submit work on a media sharing website such as Youtube or Photobucket
  • Join an online program designed to display student artwork such as Artsonia

How Student Work is Added to a Virtual Art Exhibit[edit]

The instructor takes pictures of student artwork. If the teacher is using a digital camera, the teacher then transfers the photos onto a computer. If the teacher isn’t using a digital camera, the teacher then develops the film and scans the images using a scanner. Then, the teacher can adjust the size, resolution, and color of the images. The teacher can also crop out empty space in the picture so the focus is on the piece of art. Finally, the images are uploaded to the internet.

History of Student Art Exhibits[edit]

Before technology was integrated into the classroom, art exhibits were set up by hand. Art exhibits take a lot of hard work and a lot of collaboration. In the past, these were the steps needed to put on a successful art exhibit:

  1. Create a theme for the exhibit
  2. Create a name for the exhibit
  3. Create artwork to display in the exhibit
  4. Secure a gallery space
  5. Secure a time to have the exhibit
  6. Promote the art show via advertisements
  7. Judge the art show and choose a winner
  8. Organize artwork into appropriate media
  9. Hang-up and display artwork
  10. Create and display name plaques
  11. Put on art show
  12. Take down the art show

As you can see, putting together an art exhibit is not an easy task. It takes a lot of time,money, and management which a lot of teachers may not always have.

Advantages[edit]

Increases Students' Confidence[edit]

Effort is a main component of art class. Students feel a heightened sense of accomplishment when they see their finished work on display. Virtual art exhibits encourage students to take pride in their work. Also, the virtual exhibit can act as a journal for the students, marking their progress throughout the year. They can reflect on their performance and identify strong areas as well as areas that need improvement.

Fosters Parental Involvement[edit]

Not all parents have time to physically come to school and appreciate their child's artwork. In todays society, many homes have a computer with internet access which makes it possible to interact with the students. Parents as well as other family members that do not live near the student can access the virtual art exhibit.

Supports School Art Programs[edit]

Some virtual exhibit programs offer fund raisers. Artsonia, a virtual student art gallery, sells keepsakes of student work and "15% of the revenue is commissioned back to the school art program. Depending on the amount of promotion the teacher invests and the demographic of family members, this support could range from hundreds to thousands of dollars for additional equipment / art supplies for the classroom." Also, art teachers can use the virtual exhibit when introducing a new assignment to the class. The students can see past examples of the assignment and find inspiration for how they will complete the project.

Creates everlasting artwork[edit]

Not every piece of art that students make within the classroom is going to be permanent. Some projects may include natural materials found outside or materials like snow for instance which is not able to be kept for long periods of time. With the online art exhibit, students are able to take pictures of their nature based artwork and cherish it forever even when it is not still around.

Creates Space Within The Art Room[edit]

Unlike regular education classrooms, homework is not able to be packed away in folders it needs to be stored to dry in the classroom. With utilizing an online art exhibit, students are able to take pictures of their projects and then recycle the materials to make space in the classroom for future projects. With recycling of materials, students and teachers can save materials and money.

Integrate Technology into the Classroom[edit]

With the growing interest in technology, teachers are likely to get passed up by their own students which may lead to boredom and lack of interest within the classroom. Online art exhibits are a way to get the students involved with the exhibit process and promote responsibility.

Disadvantages[edit]

Compromises the Experience of Art Appreciation[edit]

For certain projects, a photo will not be able to portray the quality of the artwork. For example, a three-dimensional sculpture must be experienced in person in order get the full effect. The viewer can move around and feel the texture of the piece. But, a viewer of a virtual exhibit will not be able to move around a computer screen image or feel the texture.

Presents a Privacy Concern[edit]

Parents may not approve of having their child's work put on the internet. Jeffrey Branzburg, author of "Posting Student Work on the Web", mentions that while online exhibits serve a positive purpose, teachers need to ask for parental permission before putting any student work online. Branzburg also reminds teachers that students' last names and addresses should never be posted on the internet as doing so could risk the students' safety.

Lack of Internet Access[edit]

Students and parents may not necessarily have access to a computer or the internet. Although it is possible to go to a local library or use a friends computer, some parents/family members may not be willing to go through the hassle.

The Future of Virtual Art Exhibits[edit]

Children are gaining technological experience at very young ages. As virtual art exhibits gain popularity in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools, the students will be able to create and manage the exhibits on their own rather than the instructor doing it. Also, as advancements in technology continue to be made, image quality will increase. This will overall improve the experience for visitors of virtual art exhibits. Usually, the art department is the first to be affected by school budget cuts. Virtual exhibits can be created with little to no costs and, with fund raising opportunities, can actual make money to support art programs.

Conclusion[edit]

Art exhibits have been being put together for many years and will continue for many years to come. As long as art is around to be exhibited, art shows will continue to thrive. Whether it be professional artists or student artists, art work will always need to be shown;because after all what is art without people to enjoy it? With the compliment of technology in the classroom student art exhibits are easier than ever.

References[edit]

Artsonia: Benefits. (2010). Retrieved November 29, 2010, from http://www.artsonia.com/teachers/docs/

Branzburg, J. (2001). Posting Student Work on the Web. Retrieved November 30, 2010, from http://www.techlearning.com/article/18068

Clayton, M. (2002). Displaying Student Work. Retrieved November 30, 2010, from http://www.responsiveclassroom.org/newsletter/14_4nl_1.html