Thursday, November 21, 2013

Teacher Uses Smart Phone Photography to Foster Learning

From the popular T h e  Journal (online), the following article with 9 very good suggestions for  making contemporary photography part of teaching...

" Nicole Dalesio is a fourth grade teacher in the Pleasanton Unified School District in Northern California. She's also a digital artist who uses her talents and skills to promote learning in the classroom through photography and video projects, a practice called "iPhoneography" or iPhotography (although it's definitely not limited to Apple i-devices). Here Dalesio shares nine tips for projects and practices to help you implement "iPhotography" with your students.
1. Schedule BYOD Days for Taking Photos
Dalesio's school doesn't have a device for every student. So she has cobbled together a two-prong program. The fourth grade shares a Chromebook cart, which her class gets one day a week. Plus, she has set up a small bring-your-own-device program, in which the students write up agreements that their parents have to sign in order to participate. Then on a set schedule they bring in their own iPhones, iPads, Android smartphones, and what is turning out to be the most popular device among her students: iPod Touches. For those kids without access to devices, the class provides some extras or the kids just double up. The only common denominator: Each device has a built-in camera.
2. Start with Basic Photography Skills
Dalesio wants her students to learn how to take effective photographs, so she teaches them the "SCARE" principles in a little checklist:
  • Simplify: Get rid of excess objects — the water bottle on the picnic table, the junky papers — that clutter up the background; make the canvas as "blank" as possible.
  • Close/closer: "A lot of times people take pictures too far away," explains Dalesio. Get close and closer to your subject. That doesn't mean using the zoom option; it means "Zoom with your feet."
  • Angle: Be creative as you're taking your picture. Try to find an unusual angle from which to shoot. That could mean standing on a picnic table or tree stump and looking down or lying on the grass and shooting up.
  • Rule of thirds: The best compositions are often the ones where the main subject is either in the right third or left third of the image. So shift the image that way.
  • Even lighting. "You want even lighting," says Dalesio. If there's some kind of shadow across the face, move the camera or the subject around to eliminate that. "Usually the best time to take pictures is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the lighting isn't as harsh," she notes. "Foggy days are great for taking pictures — or overcast or even rainy days."
She also advises her students to take a lot of pictures. "You better your odds and get more practice," she tells them. That also helps them to become more discriminating. They don't share every picture; they learn how to choose their favorite one..."

Read the full article at its source:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Big Shot Camera for STEAM Learning - Teaching Visual Art and Technology

The concept of STEAM (as opposed to STEM) has been around for a while.

STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math / STEAM = Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTs, and Math. It's a great concept! Sure, why wouldn't we want to harness the power of The Arts to drive meaningful, important, relevant learning across the curriculum? Unfortunately, teachers don't often find good opportunities to make STEAM learning happen in their classrooms,

Enter the BIG SHOT CAMERA. The connections, applications, and opportunities for students to learn important Technology and Engineering concepts in a hands-on fashion as they engage in Photography, a key Visual Arts skill, are obvious with this resource. Further, there are so many ways that Photography can be meaningfully integrated into English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and other subjects.

True, student access to Digital Cameras is no longer difficult. However, this one is special. It promises to teach students about the Science and Engineering involved in creating a camera, as well as providing an opportunity to easily make digital images as part of learning processes and projects... or just plain fun. Further, it offers simplicity and flexible functionality, too, with 3 image formats: Standard, Panorama, and 3D. Thus, it is  a resource that students can use for a wide variety of projects.

Check out the videos below as well as the camera's home website where some good, solid information about the art of Photography, as well as editing software, is offered: