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Digital Cameras in the Classroom

In today’s world, a working knowledge of technology is often essential. Most jobs require some level of technical know-how. Technology isn’t stagnant, but rather dynamic: always changing, updating and making older equipment and software obsolete. For students today, having hands-on contact with technology in the classroom is a must. Not only is learning the skills necessary for future employment, technology is often a required component of the curriculum.

Digital cameras are a type of technology that are always improving and evolving. They are also easy to access and less expensive than many other things. Most schools can obtain at least a few digital

cameras that can be checked out by teachers. There are a variety of ways in which digital cameras can be used to enhance the content in a class while at the same time allowing students to become more familiar with and fluent in an important aspect of technology.

Elementary

Digital cameras can be used across the board in terms of grade levels as well as subject areas. Both younger kids and teenagers will enjoy using the cameras in projects and lessons.

  • Take pictures of items throughout the school and send the kids on a scavenger hunt to find them.
  • Print out pictures of daily routines and post on the bulletin board. This gives students a graphic representation of what is required of them throughout the day.
  • When learning the alphabet, have students take pictures of objects that start with the letter of the day.
  • When learning colors, have students take pictures of “things that are blue or green, etc…”
  • For geography, have students research a country and include a picture of a famous location in that country. They can take a picture of themselves and cut and paste themselves in to the picture of the country.
  • For a science project, have students take pictures of several life stages of an animal (frog, butterfly, etc…) and create a presentation of the life cycle.
  • Use photos of students to make seating charts, nametags and labels for coat hooks, lockers and cubbies.
  • Photograph student activities and send home brochures to parents informing them of what goes on in class.
  • Have students take pictures of a scene of their choice. The students then exchange pictures and write stories to go with the scene.
  • Take pictures of various objects and have students organize them by some classification scheme. For example, they can pair items that are alike or items that are different.
  • To help learn parts of speech, have students take pictures of nouns, proper nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Have them explain their reasoning for each picture.
  • Challenge students to find and take pictures of as many symbols around the school as they can.

Middle School

Many projects can also be created or adapted for middle level students. They can begin to develop more complex skills with the cameras, while still learning the proper content.

  • Students can use photographs to supplement almost any report they write in middle school. For a book report or a history report, they can stage scenes from the book or from history to photograph. For science reports, they can take pictures of their project as it progresses.
  • Use pictures as creative writing prompts. Have students take pictures of anything they like and then write a story based on it.
  • Have students write the story first and then illustrate it with photographs.
  • For learning local history, take photographs of important places around town. Have students use the photos like a scavenger hunt. They have to find the places and also find out their importance.
  • Use digital cameras for a photography lesson in art classes. Have students create portraits, landscapes, black and white photos and other compositions.
  • Start a school newspaper. Students can write articles and take pictures to accompany them.
  • Students can take pictures of what they do in classes and create documents, virtual or printed out, that can be sent to parents.
  • For science class, create a weather project. Students take pictures in the same place, several times a day, over several days to document weather patterns.

High School

Some of the ideas for middle school can be adapted for higher level learning. Projects can use similar ideas but require more time, effort, and complex ideas.

  • Use digital cameras in science labs. Have students take pictures of each step of a procedure. They can make a poster board or digital presentation of their step-by-step lab techniques.
  • Use photographs of play, musical, concert, and talent show rehearsals. Students can use them to create advertising for their upcoming events.
  • In physical education, students can take pictures to illustrate the rules of various games and sports. They can present these to the class to teach others.
  • In foreign language classes, students can create comic strips with pictures. Have them photograph several scenes that in order create a multi-panel strip. They can then create word bubbles in a foreign language to accompany the strip.
  • Forensic science students can recreate a crime scene and act as investigators, including photographs of the scene and the evidence.
  • Create projects to accompany school trips abroad. Have students take pictures of the culture and history of the country visited and create a presentation upon return. They can use their presentations to teach a lesson to a lower level foreign language class.
  • Use photographs to give students a launching pad for creative writing assignments.
  • Connect digital cameras to microscopes to take pictures of cells, cell structures, bacteria, and other things observed in biology.
  • Use cameras in art class to create a digital portfolio of each student’s work

The potential for digital cameras in the classroom is boundless. There are many different things teachers can do to integrate this ubiquitous technology into already existing curriculum. Adding cameras into the mix not only teaches students a new skill, it also allows them to be creative and have fun.

 

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