This topic is a big one, so I decided to set a clear goal: find two ways to use photography in the library. I wanted one where I show pictures to students, and one where they take pictures and share them with me. So I chose option 2, Join and Explore, and explored tools I knew by using them in a new way.
For the first, I used Pinterest. I have used Pinterest since its inception as a curation tool, and it is not always the most functional for that purpose (some pages I want to save just don’t have photos). But I love the interface, and enjoy using it as an internet junk drawer, craft tutorial list, and recipe box. For this topic, I shifted and used it simply for photo display.
Sharing pictures with Students
In anticipation of NYS testing (no comment), the 4th grade team wanted to plan something fun and quick using the iPad cart for their classes during the six afternoons following testing. I thought since spring has finally sprung it would be nice to do something for Earth Day, and since persuasive writing is around the corner, we decided to do some Earth Day PSAs. Pinterest turned out to be the perfect tool to showcase some examples that I collected for a launching discussion.
Pinterest was the perfect tool because these PSAs are not free to use and share, so I would not be able to take them and make a slide show. Pinterest allows me to show just the photos without removing them from their home. It ended up having an added benefit of flexibility: I pinned many more PSAs than we needed and let the class steer the discussion by choosing which ones they wanted to talk about. Then, when the kids started working on their own PSAs, they were free to check back in through the pinterest link on the iPads to get some ideas flowing.
I wanted to have the students use the iPads to take photos as well. One K teacher was interested in letting his students use the ipads just for fun, so we had an all about me day where students tried to take pictures that showed who they were. It was lots of fun .
This went so well that we have decided to do a photo scavenger hunt for Kindergarteners in the school courtyard. We will have them look in teams of 3 for open-ended items (something red, a triangle shape, a Kindergartener making a silly face). Then we can have each team write their names and post all of their pictures to a Padlet wall and project them to see what they have found. This is a fun way to introduce the students to several digital tools, and introduce them to digital photography.
I’m like a kid in a candy store when I think of all the options for students in the camera app!
Photos to use in media texts
We have used the app PicCollage many times this year in grades 2-4. The students have created infographics, diagrams, fun fact pages, book covers, and other non-fiction text features. For their photos, we have used Creative Commons search. We have been shifting from using the feature in Google search to search by license for two reasons: first, it doesn’t filter for inappropriate content, which has been a problem for many projects (iroquois women, animal projects where the animal name is a slang term for women’s anatomical parts). Second, it is not effective in filtering for licence either. One of our grade schools lost its vimeo account for using a copyrighted image that was found using the Google search “free to use and share” option.
So, CC it is. I created a link on each of the ipads to the CC site, with Flickr set up as the automatic selection. Students have not had trouble finding appropriate images using this tool. The only exception is once in a while when a student needs a picture of a specific famous person (for example J.K. Rowling). We have to look farther afield in Wikimedia for these pictures, and students had a harder time remembering all of the steps. Training them all to use flickr allows me to work one on one with the students who need pictures that are trickier to find.