Archive for the 'Camera' Category

Digitizing part of book For Interactivity-Camera

I have been taking some pictures of the class textbook so that I can project the image and then mark it up. I copy a speech and then we go through and identify how the speaker has introduced, given evidence, and concluded. Yesterday we went through an information speech and the students focused on every mention of an expert (person, book, or professional organization) to show that the speech has been built on facts. It took me about three minutes to take the pictures, move them over to my computer, do a simply crop, and save as a .gif file to put into the PowerPoint. It is a simple technique if you do not have a document camera, if you do not have a scanner, and if you are too lazy to retype the whole three page entry.

More on Local History & Technology

Someone emailed me that they liked the idea of having students do local history but they were not sure where to start.

Some ideas for Buildings:

Have each student pick an “old” building in town and take many pictures of it – its position among other buildings, the cornerstone , old signs on it, what it looks like from front, both sides, back, and any interesting features. Then they post the pictures to a class wiki under the name and location of the building.

The class invites many senior citizens who have lived in the community into the class. Or the class goes to a local senior citizen center. Each student, in turn, shows his/her pictures. The senior talk about the the building and its meaning to the community. The seniors are either emovied or podcast to record their memories. Someone will have to keep the conversation focused on the building since memories can extend out to many other things. A student will word process any other topics that come up as the senior talk. Another student serves as the recorder for each building; the recorder word processes the critical comments on the building such as its previous names, what other types of stores were in that building, what people owned it, what local events were associated with it.

Later on the class consolidates its information about each building with the student who selected the building as the “chair” for that building. The students read any local community histories or “old” newspaper clippings that pertain to the building. They integrate that information.

Next, the class reinvites the seniors in to hear what they have collected. After each building, they wait for the seniors to react. Again, their reactions are emovied or digitally recorded. Again, a student recorder makes notes of any new information. Later on, the chair person revises the history and reposts it to the class wiki.

Then the class works with the local newspaper to write a local history column about the community. After giving the history of a building and its role in local history, they invite the readers to add additional information, photographs, etc.

When the students finish this local history of the buildings, they give copies of this local history to the local library, the local historical society, and the town government. They have learned much about their community through real life skills of interacting with people, writing for an audience, writing and revising, incorporating various sources of information, etc.

Let’s save Local History Through our Classroom Technology

Many years ago there was a push for students to produce local histories. I’ve not noticed that recently. In my community, the last school publication on this local community was done about 1990 and then it was very superficial- more of an activity book, then a history book. Like many communities, we have WW I and II vets, the people who owned the original buildings, the people who remember what life was like back “then”, the people who saw the rise and decline of the community, the people who have new visions for the community, buildings that are falling down, cemeteries that are being overrun with weeds, local famous people who few remember anymore, local historical landmarks that are being torn down for new buildings, old documents are falling apart, old pictures are fading away, etc.

Today we have so many classroom technologies to capture quickly people’s memories–digital cameras, digital camcorders, digital recorders. Digital storytelling is a big movement. We should not wait until Veterans’ Day to have people from our community into our classroom. Let’s involve social studies, English (narratives), math (chart the population over the years) science (what technology changes have taken place and its impact on the community), health (changes in water and sewage, types of restaurants) and other subject areas to collect valuable historical information on our community before it is lost.

Let our schools save the local history before no one or no objects tells of the past history. Let’s involve our students in real learning that involves community people. Let our students be of service to the community. Not longer do we ask ” Brother, do you a dime?” but “Brother & Sister, do you have technology to save our past before it is gone?”

Digital Camera to Record Exemplars

Our classes seem to happen at a NASCAR race speed. Students produce proficient work through in class sketches, demonstrations, quick concept maps, short writings, etc. Often some or even much of the work shows above proficient work. However, as soon as the class is done, we have lost those wonderful examples of learning. If we have a digital camera, then we can capture these moments of exemplars. A quick aim and click can record these exemplars. We may have to take a second to change a setting so that the camera best captures document work if we are taking pictures of writing. Of course, we will have had our students sign a release form so that we can use their “intellectual property”. We can use those pictures in subsequent classes that day to show exemplar work. We can show those exemplars the next day in the same class and have the students review what makes those exemplars exemplary. We can have students compare their work to the exemplars and improve.

So what classroom exemplars have you capture and use to help other students to become proficient in the class learning goal?

Simple yet powerful technology

I believe that when a technology is simple to use, then teachers will use it.  Witness the Smartboard and the Document camera.  Simple technologies can be powerful technologies.  They do not require thousands of hours of professional development. They do not require long learning curves.  Teachers “get it” and can use them.   They can involve their students in that technology with minimal prep.  I think that often we over look simple technologies like word processing, digital camera, document  cameras, and smartboards. Let’s promote technologies that teachers can and will use instead of complex technologies that often require someone else to set things up like videoconferencing.  Let’s focus on what teachers have in their classrooms!

Digital Camera and Writing in the English Classroom

A few ways to use a digital camera in the writing class

Take pictures of things around the school to serve as writing prompts

Have students take pictures of a sequence and then write a narrative.

Pass out a different picture to all the students and have them write a description of their picture. Then they put the pictures in a huge pile that someone shuffles and turns picture up.  Students do same with their descriptions so students try to match up the description with the picture.

Have student groups  create dramatic scenes, take a picture, and have the class write about cause and effect for the picture.

Show students a picture of two fruit or two sneakers and have them do comparison writing.

Using Your Digital Camera To Copy Materials for Your Smartboard

camera

You can use your digital camera to help you copy materials (old books, magazine articles, ads, objects, etc.) for your classroom Smartboard.

When you are copying material (probably in your camera’s macro mode to get close), you might want to consider these hints:

Use a camera tripod, if possible, to steady the camera or lean against something solid like a door frame. Breathe in and hold your breathe as you snap the picture.

Remember to push the picture button half way until it locks the image and then push it the rest of the way down.

Shoot the picture in natural sunlight. Avoid shadows or changing sun patterns. Avoid noon day sun which can blanche out the material. If the sun is from an angle, you can shoot without getting your shadow in the picture. Turn off your flash.

Cover any excess material that is on the same page with a white or black paper. You only want your students to see the selected material.

Shoot parallel to the object. If you shoot at an angle, the material will look crooked and be harder to read. If you shoot at a slight angle, you may have to manipulate in an image manipulation program like GIMP.

Get in close. Try to get close enough or zoom in so that you have the page but not other things. Use a dark background just in case you cannot get in close. If you have too much background, you will have to crop the pictures in another program so shoot in tight the first time. Also, a distracting background can unfocus students.

If possible, take pages out of any binder; if you have a spare old book, cut the desired pages out of the book. Use a white paper clip to hold the pages down so the material is as flat as possible. You may need to put a heavy book on one side of a page to keep it down. Cover the book with black paper so the unnecessary parts do not show.

Take  a second picture just in case the first one was not get a great picture. The review mode of the camera probably will not show all the details.

Take the pictures in the order that you will show them.

Lower the resolution. You do not need an 8 megapixel version of the page.

When you move the images over to your computer, quickly rename them with a specific name so that you can find these images with all your other digital images. Create folders to categorize the images so you can find the material quicker.

If you have taken images from another source, move it over to an image manipulation program (PhotoShop like) and add a reference to the source.  If you do not do it immediately, you may soon forget the original source.

Once you or your students have done this, you can create a digital library that you can use in the classroom. Your students can interact with these valuable resources.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Full Engagement in Standards-Based Learning Through Technology

How engaged are our students in standards-based learning? Are they fully immersed in their learning like a Spanish student who is studying in a Spanish speaking country or are they just putting their toes in the water?

How do we use technology to fully immerse them?
Creating a PowerPoint may keep them busy but it may not fully immerse them in the standard. When students create a PowerPoint that argue their point of view and others react to their point of view, then they are fully immersed.

Doing a videoconference may be an exciting activity but it may not immerse them in arguing and debating the concepts involved in the standards.

Participating in a class blog can be a novel activity but it may lead to non-focused discussions. Doing a blog in which each student has to contribute and react to two other students in terms of the standard is a different experience.

Taking digital images of their classmates may be a fun use of a digital camera but that does not engage them in standards-based learning. Taking pictures of five different examples of geometric shapes in the school engages them in the standards.

How do you fully immerse your students in standards-based learning through technology?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Necessary Educational Tool – Digital Camera

camera

I see a digital camera as a required technology for every educator. I think that educators enjoy simply tools- tools that help promote students’ higher-level standards-based learning and tools that do what we want when we want without a lot of complication.

With it, we and our students can

-take still images that represent stages of learning in a process. Most cameras allow you to take low resolution images which work great for most classroom and web projects. If you take at the lowest resolution, then probably you do not have to use a third party program to get “small memory” images.

-make movies for our class or for other classes using YouTube. Many cameras can directly upload to YouTube type programs. For example, mine records in .mov. Check your camera manual for the format of your movies.

-do audio recording for podcasts, collecting oral interviews, recording language experiences.

Simple technologies can help our students in powerful learning.

How else do you use a digital camera to help promote students’ higher-level standards-based learning?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

Digital Camera: Low Tech For High Learning

camera

Low tech gives very high learning results. Teachers do not have to have a room full of tech gizmos to have great technology-infused learning. Whenever I hear teachers say, “I cannot do that because I don’t have xyz technology,” I emphasize what they do have and what they can do with what they have. We need to be “do-ers” and not “blockers.”

A digital camera is a universal technology that can be used in any subject area. A digital camera is fairly inexpensive, a $99 5 megapixel digital camera is more than adequate for the classroom. Digital cameras appeal to the millenial generation of sight and sound. Students can operate digital cameras with little or no instruction. If the camera has a built in megapixel sizes, many classroom pictures can be taken at lower megapixels and moved directly into other programs with no memory-reduction manipulation program.

Digital cameras can be used in any subject. Here’s a few examples:

Math – show math applied to real life such as construction; show various manipulates that add up to the same total; and demonstrate difficult concepts like add negatives

English- visualize the emotion in a poem; show the steps in a process; use as part of a persuasion speech;

Science – show the key parts of a lab; explain a science concept; see the details of plants

Social Studies – have images of the ethnic diversity of the community; show the pro and con of a debate issue; show the changes in an event.

Students can move these images into a PowerPoint slideshow; create an e-movie program; print out and add captions; make up instruction manuals; produce persuasive posters; create timelines; make history galleries; etc.

How have your students used a digital camera in your classroom?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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YouTube Video Creation From Camera Still Pictures

camera

You and your students can create a YouTube video from still pictures from a camera.

You or your students take still pictures to demonstrate the standards-based learning. For example, a Spanish teacher may take a picture of a spoon with “la cuchara” written in dark big letters underneath it (a word processed slip of paper); another of a knife with the label of “el cuchillo”, etc. A student group may take pictures of a map showing how the Roman Empire grew. Science students may explain a science concept step by step. Then you move these pictures over to Mac’s imovies or PC’s Movie Maker, add narration for each image (for the Spanish example, the teacher pronounces the word several times), add a descriptive title, give credit to your class and then save it in the appropriate format.

You might find the following tutorial helpful if you are moving items (creating a story/scene using Stop-Motion Animation movie )

If students have created a meaningful and powerful standards-based PowerPoint, take a screen shot of each frame (on Mac use the screenshot program and on the PC use the free MWSNAP), and move these shots into your movie making program, add the narration, title and credits, and save it in the appropriate format. If you know of a non-commercial program that does this conversion in an easier fashion, please leave a comment.

Please share your successes or failures in creating YouTube educational videos from camera stills.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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YouTube Instructional Video Creation from a Digital Camera

camera

You and your students can create instructional YouTube videos by using a digital camera that can record short video clips.

Most digital cameras take 30 seconds or more of video (Check your camera’s manual for the length for your camera.) Plan your instructional movie out like you would a real “movie” script- what do you say, what do you show, and what background will be seen? How will these do the best job of “teaching” or “explaining” the learning? Practice it a few times. Then capture it by changing the digital camera to movie mode and click. If you make a major mistake, then reshoot it.

Some hints for creating a better instructional video are focusing on a short burst of concentrated learning, limiting the movement, having a solid non-distracting background, having you or your students speak loudly and clearly (their outside voices), use close up shots whenever possible, using big easy to see objects, and using easy to see signs with large dark colored lettering. Most important, have something very educational to explain or show. How does this video help students learn the standard to the highest level of thinking?

If you did not include a title and credits, you can move the video over to Mac imovies or the PC Movie Maker to add a title (Make the title one that represents the content such as “The Underground Railroad in Ithaca, NY.”) and give your class credit (“Mr. John Brown’s 8th Grade Social Studies Class, ABC School, Norfolk, VA.”)

According to the YouTube Team, save your movie in “either QuickTime .MOV, Windows .AVI, or .MPG files— these are the most common formats and they work well within our system. We specifically recommend the MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid) format at 320×240 resolution with MP3.” Saving in these formats helps compress the movie to a manageable size. YouTube will not accept videos clips over 100 megabytes. Some cameras automatically save to MPEG 4 s0 check your camera’s specs. Some other programs that can help you compress your large movies for YouTube format are found on How to Put Your Camera Video Clips on YouTube .

Please share your experiences with creating instructional YouTube videos from a digital camera. If you share what worked and what did not, then we all can become better.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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RSS Education with Technology

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