In Praise of the Digital Camera
I have been travelling around the country and asking principals about the ICT
resources they have in their schools. I am surprised at the lack of some basic technology I consider essential for every classroom. While schools are very keen to purchase interactive whiteboards few have considered more humble technologies. Most schools have a digital camera and I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that most keep them locked in a press or in the office. It is used rarely and mainly for special events such as sports day. My view is that every classroom should have at least 3 digital cameras, one HD video camera of the flip variety and 3 sound recording devices like podcasting microphones. After all these are the tools for learning pupils should have access to. For example when a class do any kind of investigative activity in or outside the classroom they should bring these devices with them to record their learning. They should then use the media they record to make their own podcasts, videos and slideshows of their work. This is authentic learning for the digital generation and is highly motivational. I’m reading a book called New Digital Media and Learning as an Emerging Area and “Worked Examples” as One Way Forward by John Paul Gee. He poses some very interesting ideas. But I want to suggest that every teacher should be using digital cameras as an everyday tool. There are so many simple ways to use them from simple photo displays to slideshow type movies with text, sound and added effects. Consider how children might use photos to stimulate oral language or creative writing in English and Irish! No advanced technical skill is required for such basic work. Here are some links you could investigate for other ideas – all free!
Picasa is great software for cataloguing images and doing some editing. This link has ideas about using Picasa for student creativity.
Photostory 3 for Windows may be familiar to you and is wonderful for creating multimedia rich presentations form digital images. It can be downloaded from Microsoft from the following link
Here is one more great resource, very simple to use and very effective and with a fantastic iPhone app version also. It’s called Animoto and you can check it out athttp://animoto.com/
I’m sure many of you may have lots of fantastic ideas about the use of digital images. Like to share some?