Review by Melissa Hayes, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2016

Artsonia Kids Art Museum

Online art museum empowers students to exhibit, explain their work

Subjects & skills
  • Communication & Collaboration

  • Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Teachers and students can organize work into online portfolios, and the companon app is great for capturing and assessing students' artist statements.

Cons: It can be a lot to manage and roll out initially. Site is ad-supported.

Bottom Line: A well-loved online art museum that allows students to share work and reflect on their artistic process while helping teachers assess student understanding of artistic concepts.

Have students curate their own online portfolios with any mobile device. Teachers can upload younger student artwork easily with teacher option. Students are assigned screen names, and parents access the account, not the child. To make unit objectives visible to parents, use the description option in galleries. This allows you to advocate for your art room every time a new project is uploaded. Teachers can view the art online and assess via a school-based form, or they can utilize the integrated option to give overall feedback, as well as project-specific feedback. The progress-report feature allows for teachers to quickly assess student work -- stop lugging work home or staying late at school. To make the progress reports go faster, input your favorite, commonly used phrases. Parents access the progress reports online or via a printable option. Looking for inspiration? Check out other teachers' unit plans, which are searchable by grade level, media type, cross-subject area, and keyword.

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Artsonia is an online art museum curated by teachers, students, and parents. Teachers create a school page on Artsonia and use it to share what their students have created via galleries. Galleries can include a description of the project, materials used, and national standards addressed. Teachers can ask students in upper elementary school grades and above to complete artist statements, including specific prompts set up by teachers. Students use the companion app to photograph their work, edit, upload, add a title, and artist statement. They can earn awards, be added to the hall of fame, and become the artist of the week. Parents see their children's work before it comes home and share it with loved ones all over the world. Artsonia includes a gift shop that parents can use to buy items personalized with their children's art. A portion of the money goes back to the school, which can be used to buy much-needed supplies.

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Exhibiting work is a focus of the new National Core Art Standards, and Artsonia provides an option that isn't possible in the majority of art rooms: exhibition of all work to a wide audience. Students are more motivated to finish a piece, knowing it will be added to an online portfolio, and teachers can pose questions for students in their artist statements and assess student understanding. Teachers can also send progress reports home to parents digitally or via a printable.

Some areas of improvement have already been addressed in the last year. The back end of Artsonia was previously more difficult for teachers to use. With a major redesign, the teacher portal is much easier to navigate. It would be nice if teachers could notify students when they reach a milestone, receive an award, or have feedback from their teacher. Currently students are notified of milestones, awards, and project feedback through a printable or via their parents. These features might better be integrated in the app, so students can easily keep track of their awards and read feedback in school. Adding a feature to allow teachers to download photos of their students' work for use on school blogs/websites would be very helpful.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The companion app allows students to manage their own art gallery and exhibit their work. Through the fan club option, family and friends can see and comment on work. Students can also win awards.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Students curate their work, a focus of the new national standards. Teachers can assess learning by evaluating students' titles and artist statements and by answering teacher-added questions related to unit objectives.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Video tutorials show students how to photograph, edit, upload, title, and write an artist statement for their work. In the app, where possible, visuals accompany words, which help ESL and younger students upload to their portfolios.

Common Sense Reviewer
Melissa Hayes Classroom teacher

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