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Digital Photography

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Kurt Johnson's Rules of 'Stuff"... There are three technology 'toys' every elementary school teacher should be provided with, regardless of their teaching ability, style, and/or ability to use technology.

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all teachers should be equal, that they should be endowed by their school with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are;

  1. a laptop computer
  2. a video projector
  3. and a digital camera

Why a digital camera? Well, that's what this topic is all about. Every teacher I know will use a camera in the classroom, if they have it. Some may only use it to take photos that are put on a bulliten board. Many find much more creative uses. For instance...

Photobooth... Once you try it, you are hooked. it may be worth saving nickles and dimes to buy a Mac computer. But, what about taking a picture of yourself to use with a writing project, "the aliens visited my classroom today."????? hmmm, suddenly a dry writing topic became so much more personal and funny. More fun ideas below.

This topic is not a seminar on how to create fabulous photos. It's not about how to use a camera. It's not about f-stops, aperature length, or white balance. It's all about the ways digital photography can be used in the classroom.

Online Photo Tools

Advantages (of digital cameras)

  • lack of film processing/developing costs
  • you are able to view the photos immediately
  • flexibility with printing photos and sending them all on-line
  • opportunity to use camera tools
  • personalizes learning
  • you can delete embarrasing pictures
  • easy to present new learning immediately

Concerns (things to be aware of)

  • school/district policy on student images & use
  • You can't hold the photos and see them in a book to pass around. You have to use a computer.
  • expensive/handle with care
  • the quality of pictures (depending on cost of camera) varies greatly

Places to Get Ideas (for the classroom)

Ideas (in case you didn't read anything above)

  • Share photos in weekly newsletters, web site, or bulletin boards.
  • Share images with parents or grandparents by creating a “Caught Your Child Enjoying... “ page.
  • Snap a shot of the latest math activity, PE lesson, or science investigation and add a message to create special reports for parents.
  • Spice up a class web page with pictures from your classroom. Save your photos to your hard drive so they will be available for your web building projects. Be sure to check out your district's restrictions on using photographs before uploading to your server.
  • Attach digital images to e-mail's to share class news with Internet pen pals or the newspaper.
  • Have your students create a “My Favorites” scrapbook with shots of various activities from the year.
  • Save pictures of their favorite projects to create a “Welcome To My Class” newsletter for next year's class.
  • Personalize awards with images of students and their award-winning creations. Combine images with cool clip art to make an award certificate that is outstanding and memorable.
  • Allow your students to take a few shots to add pizzazz to reports, projects, class presentations, or their own PowerPoint projects.
  • Use pictures of your students to personalize classroom displays for helpers or leaders.
  • Create cool birthday, thank you, or congratulatory cards complete with a photo and message from the teacher. Challenge your students to use their writing skills to create the perfect message.
  • Create a customize 'classroom' yearbook
  • Take a series of shots of the life cycle of a butterfly, insect, or frog. Create flash cards that challenge students to put the shots in order.
  • Use photos of labs, lessons, or special projects to create questions for exams.
  • Utilize images of local scenes, classroom activities, or field trips to add another dimension to journal writing activities.
  • Images of a reading collage, math manipulatives, art samples, or musical instruments can be used to create interesting worksheets or exam questions.
  • Save digital images of classroom activities and projects to demonstrate and evaluate standards-based learning.
  • Then and Now: Kind of self-explanitory
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . Johnson, K., admin. (2008, September 30). Digital Photography. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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