By CUE Member Stephen Davis
Mobile photography in the classroom is quickly becoming an excellent tool teachers can use. After all, students and teachers think in images. Images in all aspects of life are increasing in number and sophistication.
We have moved from a print based society to a visual based society for much of our information. Our students will need to be able to analyze, critique, and discuss images effectively and efficiently. Instead of students passively responding to stories previously written, readily available technology has enabled students to respond actively by creating their own stories for a global audience.
In doing so, students are constructing their own voice through pixels.
Document day with seven pictures:
Students can take pictures throughout the day and then pick the seven pictures that tell a story.
Discover math concepts around school:
Students can find area, perimeter, angles, graphs, proportion, buying lunch, shapes, mile, distance/speed, various measurements in home economics, woodshop, and art.
Document group projects:
Students can document all aspects of a group project, even a gag reel.
Add a visuals to assignment directions:
Students can create images to go with each step of directions, often adding nuance not realized by the teacher.
Student created writing prompts:
Luke Neff has created amazing writing prompts. Why not challenge students to create their own?
Caption contests based on pictures relating to class content:
Humor is always welcomed in class and shows a detailed understanding of a concept.
Give students a series of images that somehow relate to your content needed to be reviewed and watch students make connections. Better yet, have students create images for the review!
Pablo Picasso is credited for saying, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” Nicole Dalesio, an amazing mobile photographer, kindly told me about the acronym SCARE to think about while composing my shots.
Rule of Thirds
I have used my own images as examples. See the examples below to see what I mean.
Hipstamatic (iOS) – Camera replacement app replicating analog films and lenses. Forces students to think through their composition, color, and lighting.
Snapseed (Android – iOS) – Essentially Photoshop on your phone. Allows students to edit images.
Lens Light (iOS) – Students can add various types of light to enhance an image or focus viewer’s attention.
Modern Grunge (iOS) – Students can create depth, mood and tone
After Focus (Android – iOS)- Focus and blur certain parts of an image to great effect.
Touch Retouch (Android – iOS) – Remove unwanted elements in images.
Backspaces (iOS) – Combine images and text to create stories.
For an example workflow of how I use and combine these apps, please check out my blog, Rush the Iceberg.
Go out and shoot pictures without abandon!
Stephen Davis has been teaching at the middle school level in Southern California for fifteen years, enjoying the middle school roller coaster through all its ups and downs (and flips). He has a Masters degree in Middle Level Education and is the originator of the #midleved hashtag on Twitter. He is a co-cordinator of EdcampLA. He has presented at the California League of Middle Schools, International Reform Symposium, CUE Tech Fest, the TELL Conference, and at his school. He has been a guest blogger on Edutopia and has even edited a fictional book for middle school students. He also loves ice cream, Pepsi Max and the band Rush.