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Using Digital Cameras for Classroom Projects

by Charlotte Anderson

Look at all of the ISTE technology standards you meet by using digital cameras for classroom projects!

I. Technology operations and concepts.
II. Planning and designing learning environments and experiences.
III. Teaching, learning, and the curriculum.
V. Productivity and professional practice.

Click here for a detailed description.

Digital cameras have many benefits for classroom applications. First, they are reasonably priced, usually between $100 - $800. Second, they are easy to use. Some cameras such as the Sony Mavica just use a regular floppy disk. Others, like the HP just hook directly into the computer; this type allows you to print directly from the camera, and bypass the computer. Third, the quality is good. Digital cameras can be used for yearbook quality pictures. With the right printer, there is little difference between digital and standard pictures. Fourth, some digital cameras will do short video clips. And last, students really love using new "techie" equipment like digital cameras.

Getting Started

First you need to take a picture. For this example we will assume you have a camera with a floppy disk. Most cameras will be in "recording" mode while the picture is being taken. You can view the picture through the camera viewer or by placing the disk into the A drive on the computer. If the computer has a photo editing program like Microsoft Photo editor or Adobe Photo Shop, then you can double click the image file and it will open automatically in this program. These photo editor programs allow you to manipulate the photo, which means change the size, direction, or even the color of the photo. Some of these programs are very sophisticated and have specialized techniques such as watercolor, line drawing, etc.

An easy way to view and adjust the size of your photo is to open it in a program like Microsoft Word. Open Word and choose New document from the File menu. Go to Insert and scroll down to Picture. Find the A drive and find your picture. It will have a name like "mv001.jpg". The .jpg or .jpeg extension is an image format that Word can recognize. Different image formats are used for different purposes such as .tiff and .gif for Webpages. Click Insert to insert this file into the Word document. Modify as necessary. Using your cursor to drag the top left or bottom right corner can change the size of the picture. If other corners are used to alter the image size, the image will be distorted. Once the perfect image has been created, save and print.
Exciting Ideas

Here are some fun ways to incorporate pictures into student work. Create a poem, type the poem in Word, and insert pictures using the insert steps outlined above. Create a theme poster, choose a theme such as "reading." Insert a picture in a Word document, then create a WordArt message. Access WordArt under the Insert menu, click on Picture, then WordArt.


It is best to use photo paper for printing pictures. It does not have to be an expensive, top of the line paper. Even inexpensive photo paper makes a big difference.
Click here to view a handout Charlotte Anderson uses to train teachers to integrate digital images into classroom projects. Use this handout to introduce digital camera use to other teachers at your school.


Written by Charlotte Anderson, Central Junior High School, Lawrence

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Charlotte Anderson is a teacher at Central Junior High School in Lawrence, Kansas.
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