Sunday, March 14, 2010

Photo-Sharing, Minus the Pugs

At the gym today I was thinking about my syllabus for this Special Topics in Literature class I will be teaching in the Fall and about possible ways to use photo-sharing in the classroom. I am imagining the focus of this class being on the different ways that the West has be interpreted and reinterpreted through literature, but also through film and art. I want to spend at least one day during the course looking at art of the American West and I think that this would be a great time to use a product like Picasa or Flickr. What I would like to do is collect slides of work by Western artists – Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Georgia O’Keefe, etc – and make a slideshow. I would label the slides with their sources. I could show the slideshow in class and we could talk about the works, and then I could use a product like Jing to narrate the slideshow and put it up on Blackboard so the students could revisit it.

I also think there are a number of ways my students could used narrated slideshows in ENG 101 and ENG 102. In ENG 101 we often start the semester with a personal narrative essay. I would love to see students narrate slideshows of their personal photos either as a presentation of their personal narrative essays, or as a prelude to writing the personal narrative. We could use them as little “getting to know you” presentations at the beginning of the course, which would be especially great if the course was online. The students could also use a slideshow in ENG 102 to illustrate a literary text that they were working on. They could find images that fit with lines of poetry for instance, which would help them understand the imagistic qualities of poetry as well. They could narrate that slideshow by reading the poem aloud and then share with the class.

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