Viewfinder Perspectives: Visual Literacy in Schools

Looking through the viewfinder
Capturing Viewfinder Perspectives
Module 10 of TEC-950 focused on photo-sharing (pun intended). I browsed through the materials with great anticipation given my personal inclinations towards all things visual. My disappointment was swift only to discover that all the sites recommended are blocked in our district, not just for students but also teachers. As teachers we do not have access to Flickr or Instagram on our networks or district-provided devices. As a result, these are not tools that I anticipate using anytime soon even through I found Flickr straightforward to use and set up. (You can see my cat pictures here.)

Google Drive Now with Google Photos
The ability for students to capture their thoughts visually is a tremendous asset. If I were still in the classroom, my students would probably be sketchnoting everything but I recognize that sketchnotes may not be for everyone. Visual imagery captured photographically though is easily accessible to all. Students who experience their education through a viewfinder have the ability to see how the subject areas exist in real-life and beyond the classroom walls. For our younger students, photo walks where they identify shapes in the environment or take pictures of objects with the beginning sound they are studying would provide another means for students to demonstrate understanding. Students sharing those visual perspectives with one another creates another level of discussion and learning in the classroom and beyond. The language production opportunities shared with their peers would do wonders for our students learning English and provide multiple opportunities to practice the Speaking & Listening Standards within the CCSS. A viewfinder really opens up the world to students in a very different manner that is powerful for learning.

Since most photo-sharing sites are not available to teachers or students in our district, I am very excited by the recent addition of Google Photos in Google Drive. This might be the workaround we need, if available on GAFE accounts without Google+ activated. With all the images located in a single location that students are already familiar with this limits the need to go to another site for photo-sharing. If teachers and students are able to sync photos directly to their Drive, the instructional possibilities will be more streamlined and I see more visual literacy lessons happening in classrooms in the future. I look forward to exploring these options once our GAFE account is live in the next couple weeks.