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Picture Learning

Recently I got to have some fun by helping out with a camera club at one of our elementary schools.

This group of kids stay after school to learn how to take good pictures using their digital cameras. With the emphasis on “good pictures” rather than technology.

Our goal for this session was to understand using the “sports mode” to freeze action. And what better action than flowing water.

What was most enjoyable wasCameraclub2 watching the kids experiment with little or no direction from adults. What happens if we change the placement of the cups? How about adding soap to the water?

But watching them also reinforced for me two big points about the impact of instructional technology.

First, despite all the expensive hardware and software we’ve poured into the classroom, I’m convinced the technology with the most potential for teaching and learning is inexpensive digital photography.

With good still cameras selling for well under $200 and (free, easy to use editing software), every classroom should have at least one and use it every single day.

Second, these cameras are just one example of the pocket-sized devices that are student-directed, anywhere, any time tools, allowing students to have more control over their own learning.

And in the end, they will have far more impact than all the interactive boards, clicker systems, even laptops. All those tools whose use is directed largely by adults.

cameras, education, technology

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4 Comments

  1. Great post. With many students having camera phones these days, I like the idea of teaching them how to use this tool effectively.

    Obviously they are not going to get the results from a camera phone that they would from a DSLR or evan a $200 point-and-shoot, but they can learn what makes a good photograph (again, not focusing on the tech, but the teach).

    I have found a couple of books on using the camera phone to take good pics, but they have fallen a bit flat in my opinion.

  2. I hired a photographer to teach me how to use my camera and have enjoyed it so much more than I did. Having a camera for every class is an awesome idea, but I’ll bet a lot of teachers would have to buy them. Maybe cameras could be a good idea for a PTA fundraiser.

  3. Chico minus the Man

    Justy to pick one example, how would you design a lesson using cameras to teach students about heat transfer?

  4. Tim

    I don’t know much about heat transfer but science is a subject where digital photography can be most useful. Students can take pictures of their lab experiments as well as attach cameras to microscopes and telescopes to capture images for their lab reports.

    It’s a little more expensive, but thermal imaging for the heat transfer lesson is still possible in the budgets of most high schools. And the fact that the students themselves are the ones taking and analyzing the pictures makes it far more powerful for the kids than examples created by someone else.

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