Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 1st - Artsonia

This isn't a sponsored post or anything... just something I really want to share.
A few years ago a friend and fellow art teacher was telling me about and how she was using it. It sounded kinda neat but like a lot of time. I spent some time using Artsonia just as a way to find lesson plan ideas.  A little more conversation and some playing around proved to me that it is a VERY neat thing and really NOT a LOT of time.  Especially since in the last few years they have made some really neat improvements that make it so easy.

At the start of each year I simply email Artsonia a list of my incoming 5th graders in an excel spreadsheet.  They put all the information into my account for me.  They also roll my old 5th graders up to 6th grade.   I then go through and group my students by homeroom teacher (that is how I see them) in 5th grade and day of the week in 6th.  This makes assigning names to the projects a lot quicker as I only have 25-75 student names to search through vs. 300. The whole prep time takes less than an hour for 600 students.

Artsonia offers a really easy to use and simple to navigate "start page" for me as the teacher to use. This helps me manage my students, exhibits, artwork, send home newsletters, track fundraising $, search for lesson plans and so much more.
I do a lot of photographing, editing and uploading of my students work but one of my favorite new features in Artsonia Classroom. Each exhibit I create is linked to an access code.  Students can enter the code, upload their artwork, create a title and write an artist statement on their own.  I use it for all my students digital work and it helps me track who has their stuff done and who doesn't.
**pssst:  They also create QR codes for every exhibit so you can print that off and your students could use an iPad (iPhone) to photograph and upload their own work. 

When navigating the museum, Norfolk Middle School has a home site, 

each exhibit has a home page,

 and each student has their own page.  

Artsonia stores all the students work from year to year and they provide awards for the students based on how many images they have, how many fan club members they have, comments they have left, etc...  They also offer some really neat things for people to purchase with their child's artwork on it.  Everything I have ever ordered has come to me in great shape and has been a quality made product.

I know there are a lot of fundraisers and websites out there but I will continue to be a huge fan of Artsonia.  They are an easy to use website that allows me to fundraise while allowing students to write about their art, curate their own web presence*, share their artwork with family members (fan club) and save their images.

* Artsonia does a great job of protecting students.  First name/number combos are used to identify students.  They check artwork to make sure they don't show portraits (I know because I had an exhibit removed for using direct portrait photographs of the students).  They also require parents to moderate any comments left for their child about his/her artwork.  

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