Thinking about how visual imagery can support curricular content… I love having a projector on the wall of my classroom connected to a laptop. It’s great. I love showing pictures and movies and text on it. What isn’t so great is that the world is now deprived of my whiteboard cartooning skills (for once I’m not being sarcastic, I honestly think I’m pretty good at whiteboard cartooning). I probably show 10-20 images or movies related peripherally to whatever we’re doing during any given class period. As an example, in G6 Humanities class the students are working on describing the archaeological excavation of ancient cities. Sometime this week we will probably be talking about how an ancient city could have been buried under ash like Pompeii. Then we will very probably start talking about what happened to the people in Pompeii on that day. I would then almost certainly whip this guy out after a quick image search:
…then we’d probably look at more remains from the area, where Pompeii is on Google Earth, what ash looks like spewing out of other volcanoes, etc. etc., and go on from there… I really enjoy being able to throw up arresting or discussion-starting images like this to share with the students after just a few seconds’ searching. I guess I see my role during times like this as sort of creating a National Geographic-type viewing experience for the students – images like this can be vivid, perplexing, scary, but they get your attention, bring things to life and make you want to learn more. I think it’s one of the ways that having a shared screen or board at the front of the room still makes sense in spite of everyone having a laptop. What’s the point of even being in the same room as a class any more? One of the reasons I’d argue that there’s still something special about taking everyone through shared visual experiences like this and discussing them from time to time, in looking at and making sense of something together with other people.