Showing 6th graders how to independently maintain their Digital Art Portfolios on The Social Network.

6th graders in Yoshiko Maruiwa’s art classes are adding a sub-page to their Digital Art Portfolios on our Elgg social network (we named it The Social Network four years ago). Yoshiko and I want the students to be able to archive their work and maintain their portfolio independently. Hopefully, they will continue to do so for the remainder of the year and into 7th and 8th grades. We also talked about having a physical portfolio of their work and one that exists in the cloud.

I had each class for an hour. These were my instructions:

1. Take a good photo. Without flash if possible. From a straight and center vantage point and not too high/low/left/right.

2. Upload photo to iPhoto and crop/edit/enhance as needed.

3. Add their image to the class album on The Gallery. (The Gallery is our in-house photo server powered by Drupal.)

4. Copy the URL of the full-size image.

5. In a new tab, login to The Social Network. (The Social Network is our in-house social network powered by Elgg.)

6. Create a sub-page in their Digital Art Portfolio.

7. Insert the image by pasting the URL, adjust the dimensions of the image, add border and padding if desired. We talked about how the basic WYSIWYG toolbar is “supposed” to be idiot-proof.

8. Awesome trick by a 6th grader: Remove the last digit of the height and the width to quickly resize the picture.

9. In the body of their page, next to their image, write an Artist Statement about their piece: Discuss what it represents, the colors and design chosen, the process…

10. Add tags as needed : 6th Grade, art, portfolio, painting, self-portrait, mosaic…

11. When finished, comment on their classmates’ pieces. We reinforced appropriate commenting:

Not so great – “I like your painting!”
Great – “I like your use of color and symmetry.”
Really great – “I like how you painted your guitar. Do you play any other instruments?”

In each session, we had three stations and a pile of cameras available for the kids to take a picture of their art piece. After, a student was at the front of the room demo-ing on the classroom iMac while everone was at their personal MacBooks following along or going at their own pace. Having a gaggle of cameras, enough download wires, and 1:1 laptops was awesome but not necessary.

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