Sunday, June 6, 2010

Flickr for Homework?

I was walking around my classroom the other day and noticed some kids looking through pictures on the an iPhone. They were pictures of the weekend and were just shots of kids being kids. The phone was passed around from kids to kids and they were laughing and making comments. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I started to think about using pictures in my class. Pictures are worth a 1,000 words they say and that is perfect for an English Class. Below is an idea I have for incorporating digital photography into my class. Please leave your thoughts on my idea and any way you think it could be tweaked, improved, etc.

I have used photo essays in my class before and the kids always get a kick out of them. I have had kids create a poster board with quotes from "Walden" and corresponding pictures they would take of nature. They would take the pictures and decorate their poster board and bring it to class. I hang some in my room and it's a fun assignment overall. However, what if I could create a large collection of photos with my students and have them comment on the pictures and the quotes accompanying them?

My idea consists of creating a class Flickr account and allowing students to upload their photos and descriptions. Students could then view all of the photos and comment on the work of other students. If I give the students enough time to work on the project, about 1 week, they should have plenty of time to take and upload pictures to the site. Once the images are on Flickr, I could do many different things with them. I could take them and make  photo mosaic using Big Huge Labs and post it to the class website for everyone to see. Here is an example of a mosaic from a Spring trip I took with @JenniferPro to Rome.

I would love to give a photo assignment to my students after reading To Kill a Mockingbird or Romeo and Juliet. After spending some time discussing the themes of the stories, I could have the students recreate scenes from the story that represent the themes we have discussed. Class discussions could be held with the focus on the the pictures and how they represent the themes. Lively debate would occur as kids analyze the shots taken by other students. They could acquire a deeper understanding of the themes as they work with them in a different way. No longer would they be stuck expressing theme in essay form alone.

I think this is just another weapon to add to my arsenal as I try to connect kids to literature. As I typed this post up, I realized that I could also have the students take the pictures and post them to a Glog and they could share them with the class. I think both of these ideas would be cool and I plan to explore both of them next year.

Feel free to tell me what you think of this idea and how you might improve or tweak it.