Digital Camera during Activity Time
The uses for the digital camera in the classroom are endless. Both the teacher and the child can easily integrate this simple piece of technology into their everyday classroom activities. As the saying goes; “A picture speaks a thousand words”, and this is certainly something that we as teachers need to exploit this in our classrooms. The phrase refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single image and enables our students to absorb large amounts of data quickly.
The children can then discuss the activity and reflect on their own and others’ work. The pupils can note their own and their peers’ progression over a period of time. The use of the digital camera is particularly useful in my own multi-grade school setting. The infants are engaged in activities such as imaginative play, construction or sorting and counting. The older pupils then get the opportunity to photograph their classmates both during and after their activity. The infants really enjoy the affirmations and encouragement from their peers and are motivated in their task.
The act of capturing a digital image is only the tip of the iceberg as to the potential of this piece of technology. This is where the teacher’s role is paramount in scaffolding, shaping and enriching the learning process. It is my own experience that children often focus more on the photograph taking than the reflection of the subject and content of the images themselves. In truth as adults it is not too uncommon to take hundreds of photos on our own cameras and never upload them onto our computers. The technical aspects are picked up very quickly by pupils as is the terminology such as ‘USB storage device’ or ‘eject media’. Hibernate mode is no longer restricted to hedgehogs in the e-Learning classroom!
The children eject the memory card from the slot in the camera. They plug in the USB memory card reader into the laptop and insert their memory cards. They create folders and copy and paste the photos taken into their relevant folders depending on the activity. This in itself is real life sequencing, classifying and sorting that stretches beyond the infant curriculum giving valuable life skills to our students.
Over a number of weeks this integrated digital literacy activity has served as an excellent motivator for learning. The activity is differentiated according to ability and each participant is valued through either using the technology or having their work affirmed on the interactive whiteboard as a whole class reflection and share session.
The following is a list of simple activities using digital cameras that can be adopted by even the most reluctant of teachers.
- photographing the school environment with a focus on the seasons; continuity and change over time
- photographing baby clothes from when a child was a baby; a digital class timeline
- use of images for classroom visual timetable or to promote class rules; this method is very effective in promoting and rewarding positive behaviour in pupils with Special Educational Needs
- Maths Trails such as a number, colour or shape hunt
- Spot the difference game where one item in an area of the room is removed and the two pictures are compared