Monday, March 12, 2012

Photo Stories

I have been using my digital camera to document pre-k to grade 7 children’s learning experiences since 2002. I have also been closely following the research on documenting children’s learning experiences, mainly through journal articles.

Before I migrated over to Ubuntu, I extensively used Picasa for uploading and sharing images. Since December 2010, I’ve been using an open-source photo management tool called “Shotwell”. I am able to tag my images, publish them to Picasa so that I can share them with family and friends, and edit images. My 3 year old daughter has been taking photographs using the digital camera since she was 20 months. I now keep all of her images tagged so that we can easily retrieve her images and discuss them together.

In the context of language education, using images holds much promise. When we discuss images taken both by my daughter and I, we often use the target language (French or Portuguese). I point to images with the mouse to help her form an association between the objects and vocabulary.

Another concept I am exploring is that of creating photo stories in mathematics. This could be a very educational and fun approach to learning basic mathematic concepts, particularly for younger children. Take photographs of groups of objects, items arranged in patterns, or objects of different sizes. Demonstrate fractions in the form of images of everyday things. These stories could be saved and used with future children you teach as a springboard of ideas on how to create their own photo stories.

We have also been creating stories in Libre Office’s Impress (equivalent of Powerpoint). My daughter chose the images she wanted and narrated the story while I typed. Below is an example of a story we created in French of a robin that stopped by for brunch last year in spring.