Digital Camera Tips for Teachers
Schools are increasingly making digital cameras available for use in student projects. Follow these tips to mkae your experiences with digital cameras in the classroom a success.
This Week's Tips
Instruct Students about Digital Camera Use (Monday)
Take the time to thoroughly instruct students on digital camera use before allowing them to check cameras out. This means that you need to understand how to operate the camera yourself. Develop a workshop for small groups of students to explain how to use the camera. Allow for a hands-on demonstration as well as student practice using the cameras in class before they leave the school. You might also consider creating a handout with answers to frequently asked questions. The time spent on instruction will save you from explaining basic camera functions to students individually later.
Establish Rules for Digital Camera Use (Tuesday)
Establish clear rules for camera use on school projects. Develop a set of rules that regulate student use of the cameras. Provide a separate sheet for students to sign that they have received the rules. Make sure the rules address appropriate and inappropriate subject matter, restrict recreational use, and establish due dates for camera return. Run the rules by your technology coordinator or principal to make sure they adhere to school policy.
Set-Up a System for Managing Digital Images (Wednesday)
Create folders on the computer network to manage student images. Before students return to class with hundreds of images, create a file management system to organize class and student image files. Establish maximum file sizes and recommended image sizes (in pixels) so that the school network or computer hard drive does not fill up too quickly. Check with your technology coordinator to see if he or she has recommended limits or file management strategies. You can also recommend a file naming system for students to use so that you can easily identify ownership of files.
Help Students Learn How to Work with Digital Images (Thursday)
Teach students basic photo imaging software skills. One of the advantages of taking digital photographs is the ease with which students can manipulate images. Cropping, lightening, darkening, and special effects are all possibilities with photo imaging software. Check with your technology coordinator or the photo imaging software company to see if there is a tutorial you can have students complete. Stress the importance of the overall function of the photographs to the project itself. Manipulating images is both functional and fun but also can be very time consuming. Help students regulate their time on this task.
Teach Students Basic Rules of Photography (Friday)
Provide students with tips for taking good photographs. Not all students have experience taking pictures (digital or otherwise) and thus donít have the skills to produce a good photograph. Giving them solid guidelines for what makes a good photograph helps to level the playing field. For example, composition and lighting are two essential considerations of which many students may be unaware. Show them examples of well-framed, well-lit photographs compared to ones that arenít.