SOESD / Newsletters / The Source / April 2005 Source: Steve Boyarsky, Superintendent / Digital Images Complement Instruction
Digital Images Complement Instruction
U• biq • ui • tous (adj) Present everywhere at once, or seeming to be.
I’d say that’s an accurate word to describe digital cameras these days. But are they really “everywhere?” Schools? Classrooms? And should they even be in classrooms?
We recently asked teachers throughout Oregon how they integrate digital technology into the core curriculum:
- To record events (e.g. the growth of plants, a yearbook, personal portfolios).
- To "illustrate" acted out scenes for student’s written stories.
- To create clay animations to illustrate chapters or scenes from books.
- For treasure hunts related to subjects -- for example, team of students work a problem, get a clue, take a picture of the item when found, go on to the next problem, etc. All the pictures must be in correct sequential order to be successful.
- Document learning during field trips and post images to class website.
- For math concepts -- finding shapes in everyday scenes, etc.
- To make graphs more meaningful by using a photo depicting the item that the column represents.
- To make concentration games.
- For riddles -- Take a close-up of something and paste it into a word processing document. Write a riddle to go with it. (ex. Photo: fire hose up close. Riddle: “I look like a snake but when I wake up, I stretch out straight”).
- To document the process of trial and error in developing working prototypes.
- To document component locations when building or repairing something.
- Student-created posters with many versions of the same photo of themselves. Begin with a standard photo, cropped and enhanced. Each of the other photos demonstrate different effects (watercolor, pen & ink, etc) applied to the same photo.
- Students create a series of photos showing the letters of the alphabet shaped by items in our surroundings, similar to the picture book Alphabet City
- Kindergarten kids spell out the letters of the alphabet with their bodies and the resulting photos are put in a PowerPoint slideshow and mini-book.
- In a high school chemistry classroom, digital cameras and cell phone
cameras are used to take photos of experiment processes and results so students can talk about their results and include the photos in their lab reports.
- Science students use digital photos of their experimental setups and procedures on posters to explain their work.
- Project student papers via a digital projector. Kids all over the classroom can read a student's work and watch the teacher make notations on the paper.
- Make QuickTime movies of picture galleries (complete with sound effects and music).
And this edited list doesn’t begin to tell the story. Many articles and websites are devoted to exploring ways to use digital cameras effectively in the classroom.
How should we think about using this technology in our classrooms? Research from 3M has shown that we process visual information 60,000 times faster then text. This is because we take in data from an image simultaneously while we process text sequentially. It seems our brains are wired for images. Shouldn’t this influence the way we teach?
Visual Literacy (the ability to interpret, use, appreciate, and create images and video using both conventional and 21st century media in ways that advance thinking, decision making, communication, and learning ) is a term that comes up when one gets serious about exploring where digital images fits in with education. For more on Visual Literacy and the use of digital cameras in the classroom, check out the resources we’ve compiled at http://www.soesd.k12.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=465
Here at SOESD we explore the latest digital technology and provide opportunities for teachers and support staff to use digital cameras in the classroom. Throughout the year, we offer a series of digital camera workshops (both still and video) with that goal in mind and maintain web resources to support your interest: http://www.soesd.k12.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=354