The Power of Pictures

We have all heard the saying that a picture speaks louder than a hundred words. We all know that a good picture is a lot more effective than trying to articulate the same in words. And with the new generation it could be a combination of pictures or a video. Show a group of people no matter what the age group, a good video and see everyone mersmerized. It is a sure shot way of calling everyone to attention whether in the classroom or otherwise.

The power of the iPad is immense for this very reason. Not just viewing videos, but because the moment can be captured through pictures or videos. One of the first lessons to do with the students is to show the power of the camera. It just so happens that I have been doing photography with a manual camera at the time since I was ten years old because my father was a professional photographer.

However, even if you haven’t learned the nuances of photography, it is important to learn some basics such as the rule of thirds including composition, correct light, zoom and focus. While giving students the iPads and having them take pictures, it is important to show them the right techniques to hold the iPad, showing the camera location, their object of focus. Do small mini-lessons adding the other concepts (zooming, lighting and the rule of a third). Not only is this a lifetime skill, students are going to use this effectively for a myriad of tasks throughout their educational lives. Cameras on devices will just keep getting better and children at a young age will realize the differences and the uses (just last week I asked the fifth graders what the difference was between having 1:1 iPads in fourth grade versus fifth and their first response was well, the camera last year was much better because they had iPad Airs while they have iPads 2 this year. They could tell the difference in resolution which lead to our next lesson).

Media by itself is great. However, media can be used for further projects, such as in apps like Explain Everything and Book Creator, in coding apps (one of the students’ favorite things is to take their selfies on Scratch). It can be used to share with parents what they have been learning in the course of a school day or week or month. It can be used to work on verbal skills, on vocabulary, on building more language, on deeper thinking and understanding, on improvising models and designs, on remembering, reteaching and reflecting on concepts, on capturing precious memories, those worth storing and so much more. Even the act of taking the pictures facilitates implanting that image in the brain. So when a teacher were to reteach or return to a subject, students have a better chance at remembering. It is also used to teach digital etiquette. When the media items at our site our uploaded on Schoology, the district’s LMS and a secure medium for the media, students comment on each others’ uploads, which leads to respectful online expected behaviors, and more.

When a student brings an iPad home, or if you wanted students to create a reflection of the week whether in the classroom or otherwise, it would be a matter of just stringing those memories together and adding language. Students feel empowered because they have control over their memories. It is one of the most rewarding things to see those lessons coming back to you, when even first grade students come and check in with an adult “Could I please take a picture of….” ? You know they have got it!

Simple, yet one of the most powerful features of having their own device. Use it over and over and over….. in every situation. Happy clicking!

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