Remember analogue photos and video? Taking care not to waste film, no one leaving comments on your photo of the day, inflicting pain on friends and family with living room slideshows instead of tormenting the world with them on Youtube?
I’m still amazed by this digital imaging thing. I can’t believe the ease with which we capture moments in our life. I love the fact that ‘photographer’ is now a relatively subjective title, and that ‘movie making’ can be done on a handheld device (not to mention what it means to be a news reporter). People talk about learning styles and multiple intelligences, but I don’t think it takes much rigour to come to the conclusion that virtually all of the kids walking through the halls of our schools can be called visual learners.
A digital camera is not only one of the most underrated #edtech tools around, but is also a perfect illustration of where we want all educational technology to be: normalized, mundane, at our fingertips.
I try and leverage this in the classroom at all times. I have witnessed the power of digital photos and video for reflection and metacognition in learning. Here’s an example of a simple activity I do regularly with my class:
- Take photos and video during a unit of learning.
- Do a quick edit of the clips and view them together.
- While viewing, record a voiceover of discussion reflecting on the learning. What went as planned? What surprised us? What should we do differently next time? What was your favourite part?
Some of the benefits for learning are as follows:
- It legitimizes the learning and conversations that occur inside the classroom.
- It reminds students of the importance of collaborative learning, knowledge building, and timely feedback.
- It values oral language.
- It lauds the learning process as much as its product.
- It motivates and engages students to ‘perform’ their learning.
- It is a great assessment archive.
- It makes students accountable for class talk and conduct towards one another.
- It makes the students the stars of the show. Not the teacher.
This process is something I learned while witnessing my own children’s fascination with our family’s iMovie and iPhoto library. Below is a short clip of my son Jackson’s first time riding a two-wheeler. As many parents know, teaching a young child to ride a bike can be laborious and demanding. Depending on the child, keeping their self-efficacy up is perhaps the most important part of the process. We were amazed to see Jack’s fascination with seeing his success. The effect it had on his intrinsic motivation was palpable. If you were to come over to my house tomorrow, you would like see a little boy run up to you and say, “Would you like to see my biking movie?”