I've blogged before about the benefits of teaching digital photography skills to children and thought I'd follow it by sharing a pair of lessons that I've just done with Year 3 to teach them how to properly: shoot, edit and use digital photographs.
In the first lesson, I began by having a discussion with the children about their experiences of using digital cameras - Why might you want to take photographs? What cameras have you used? What have you taken photos of? How have you tried to make sure they were good photos? What have you done with the photos afterwards?
As the children have already been taught how to take simple shots lower down the school (see this lesson), I felt that just a brief recap on the basic steps to follow was needed before I could then teach them how to do some more advanced techniques, such as: when/how to use the flash, how to zoom in/out, how to use the macro function to focus on near-to subjects and how to properly align shots so that they catch the viewer's interest (e.g. using a grid).
Next, the children then went off into groups around the school to have a go at putting these skills in practice, taking photographs of different things that caught their attention. Each group had their own camera to pass around (I borrowed them from other classes) and the adult working with each prompted/reminded them to have a go at trying out the various advanced tools/features they'd just been shown. Why have you used the zoom/macro tool? Why did you choose that focal point? Why did you need to re-take that photo? Why do you want that photo? Are you pleased with that photo?
After about 15 minutes, everyone returned back to the classroom and turned on their laptops. Whilst they were doing this, I quickly transferred all the photos they had taken onto the school network. Since each camera was helpfully labelled, I created a folder for each camera into which I could import the photos from it.
I then showed the children how to manipulate their photos using the Pixlr O-Matic website. There are many other similar sites out there but at the moment this is my personal favourite for using on a PC because it offers just a nice amount of effects to apply and has a wizard that is extremely easy for children follow - load a photo, add a colourisation, add a light effect, add a border and then save. For the remainder of the lesson, the children just had a go at applying different effects and borders to their pictures to create a collection of edited photos on the network. (For information, Pixlr O-Matic is also available as a free app for iOS devices.)
In the second lesson, I asked the children to create a document instructing somebody how to shoot good photographs with a digital camera. They'd already had lots of experience using PowerPoint to do this sort of work so the aim of the lesson was to consolidate these skills whilst also recapping on the understanding of how to use a digital camera.
To say that the children worked well would actually be an understatement. I gave them a clear set of four steps to follow to achieve success and with the incentive of the 'Independent on the Computer Tokens' that I've been using recently they all worked very independently to complete the task - even the less confident children hardly needed any support! The only help that I actually needed to give was to a couple of children who were having technical problems with their laptops that I soon solved.
Here is the prompt sheet that I made for the children to help them with their writing/spelling:
I would honestly say that these two lessons were literally fantastic - not only did I enjoy delivering them but the children also enjoyed doing them to! They were all motivated by the topic, keen to develop their understanding of how to properly use a digital camera and liked being given the opportunity to practice their PowerPoint skills with a bit more independence. When you see children excited by doing ICT lessons like these it reminds you what a lovely job you have!