Carrie Jeruzal: Storing the Data  (i.e. Keeping Digital Photos of Student Artwork)

By Carrie Jeruzal

Arts educators who are interested in using MAEIA assessments to assist in tracking student growth often ask the question, “What do you use for storing all the artwork?”  Being that the photos of student artwork become the digital data of learning, this isn’t always an easy question to answer.  Modern technology offers a plethora of digital image data storage and sharing resource choices that each have their own strengths and weaknesses, their own quirks, limitations, special features and user learning curves.  Also, as in the nature of all technology, each choice I present here has a “shelf life”, that may or may not be easily predicted.    

To help arts teachers with the research needed to make this decision, I have first compiled a list of relevant questions that are important to ask when selecting a method and a vehicle for visual arts data storage and second, a list of what seem to be the top contenders. 

10 Questions to Determine your Arts Data Storage Needs:

  1. How long do you need to store the data (a year, two years, a student’s entire K-12 career)?  Some methods of storage have time limits, some newer apps or clouds may not have the “staying power” you need to rely on, and not every school will support all kinds of tech.  For example, my school stopped offering MS Office this year and now I have to pay for it on my own!

  2. How are you going to collect the data?  Will you be taking and uploading all the photos?  Do you intend for students to collect and submit the data?

  3. What device(s) do  you plan to use to take and transfer the photos?  Are you going to use digital cameras, tablets, iPads and or Smart phones?  Is your storage method compatible with your selected device? 

  4. Do you plan to share the artwork with administration, other art teachers, parents, the world?  Do students need open access to the files?  Check out the sharing capabilities and limitations of each choice.

  5. Does your data include video art or other time based media?  Do you plan to include written documents, any recorded audio or visual artist statements?  Some storage methods are strictly for photos.

  6. What are the security and privacy features?  Who can access the data and who is restricted?  If open to an online gallery, who can comment and are comments filtered?

  7. Is the storage method free or require a fee?  This may depend on the amount of storage you need and the fee may be a subscription that requires yearly renewal. 

  8. Do you need back-up?  Check with your tech support to see how your school handles file back-ups in the case of media failure.  Does the program allow old data to be archived?

  9. Once stored, who owns the data?  Fair Use and Intellectual Property Rights may matter.

  10. What are other art teachers in your district already using?  It may be be beneficial to keep data storage streamline between teachers in your school. Does your school or district already have a policy on data storage?    

Data Storage Choices:

Popular Online Learning Platforms For Your Virtual or “Flipped” Classroom:

  • Google Classroom 

  • Schoology

  • Edmodo Moodle

Cloud Storage:

  • Google Drive

  • Dropbox

  • Box

  • Microsoft OneDrive

  • Amazon Drive

  • Flickr

Great for Sharing on Social Media, Offers Online Gallery, Some Offer Product Sales:

  • Artsonia

  • Creatubbles

  • KidBlog 

  • ArtKive

  • Keepy 

  • Canvasly

Online Portfolio Sites (Easy Website Builders):

  • Digication E-Portfolio 

  • Adobe Spark

  • Weebly

  • Wix

Developed Specifically for Educator Data Collection:

  • Sesame 

  • Seesaw

  • Remini

 Other blog posts that may be helpful:

Carrie Jeruzal is a MAEIA Leadership Fellow and Visual Arts Educator in Pentwater, MI. She was recently honored by the National Art Education Association as the 2017 Western Region Middle Level Art Teacher of the Year.

A downloadable version of this article is available here: Carrie Jeruzal_Storing the Data

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