I believe strongly in putting cameras into the students hands whenever possible (obviously if you are using your personal camera you may not want to do that!). My district had a grant for a number of years that covered the cost of professional development that we could apply for to receive a classroom camera. Over the course of several years I received cameras and Adobe Photoshop software just by taking classes. There was a strong emphasis in the training to have students using the cameras and I took that seriously. When I started, I was teaching Kindergarten. I taught my students how to use the cameras just like I now teach my third graders and we created many great movies with them.
Having a document camera makes it so easy to demonstrate the features of the cameras. I walk students through, go over the rules, and then put them in teams to practice. My number one rule is that if you have a camera in your hands then you have the lanyard around your neck! Putting lanyards on all my cameras has kept lots of accidents from happening :) In fact, over the past seven years that I have been using cameras with kids I have never had one damaged.
Here's just a few ideas for using cameras:
- Use photos on classroom labels
- Make a class yearbook (I did DVDs for my kindergarten families)
- Photograph your science experiments
- Create classroom books
- Use the video feature for short video clips like book talks
- Post photos of classroom projects on your class website (I never post pics of students)
- If you have a good photo editing program you can make lots of great projects. I always photograph my students against a green sheet so that I can use the green screen feature. During a unit on wild animals I once photoshopped all the kids into pictures with jungle animals and we wrote postcards to our families.
- Every year when we study geometric shapes and angles we take pictures around campus and make posters to illustrate them.
How do you use digital cameras in your classroom? Please share in the comments.