Two Beaufort County, S.C., teachers have earned awards for their work to share students’ art online.
Karen Beltz of Bluffton Elementary School and Donna Sams of Coosa Elementary School both use the website www.artsonia.com to build a gallery of their students’ projects. The website enables family and friends to log on to see the children’s art.
“We have so many military children with family in other states or fathers who are overseas. [This way,] they can see their [children’s] artwork,” Sams said.
Last week, Artsonia presented Beltz and Sams with leadership awards, given to teachers who have created large galleries and encouraged interaction with users.
Both teachers have built some of the largest online art galleries in the state. Last year, both uploaded more than 2,000 pieces of student work.
Five other schools in the district also are using Artsonia, which includes more than 12.5 million pieces of art from students worldwide, according to a company spokeswoman.
Both teachers said maintaining the online galleries takes time. Student work has to be photographed, uploaded to the site, and edited before it’s published. Both said they spend several hours maintaining the gallery each time they add a batch of projects.
The work pays off when they see how much their students enjoy it, they said.
“It motivates the kids, for one thing. It makes them proud of their work,” Beltz said. Both Beltz and Sams said students know their work is going online, and they want to make sure it’s ready for display.
On the website, friends and relatives can comment on students’ work, which is posted with their first name and an ID number. Last year, work posted by both Sams and Beltz elicited more than 400 comments.
Friends and relatives can also sign up to get alerts when their students’ new masterpieces are uploaded.