Repurposing a flatbed scanner to take photos. #MakerEd #STEAM #artsed

Tish Webster is one of my new colleagues at Brearley. She’s a fabulous photographer and artist, and we are looking for way to collaborate on fun STEAM projects. First we built a Bigshot Camera together and considered having an afterschool activity where students assembled their own cameras as well. Then I mentioned that I saw a post from Josh Burker about making a camera out of a flatbed scanner. A quick search on Google yielded these instructions via Make Magazine

I acquired a scanner, and we gathered some girls from Tish’s afterschool photography elective to begin assembling the foam parts. The directions from the website were a bit sparse, but I suggested we forge ahead and improvise as needed. These days, I often ask aloud, “What’s the worst that can happen?” And if the worst that can happen is we fail, I know that the next step is to try something else in order to find another solution. I also often say, “We’re prototyping!” which lessens the sting of failure and hopefully helps to foster a culture of innovation, creativity, perseverance, agency, and entrepreneurship.

Yesterday, Tish and I took our first images. They pretty much stunk. Though I was disappointed that we weren’t able to immediately capture quality pics, I knew that the next step would be to figure out what we need to do differently — how to focus, how far from the camera to stand, how to stabilize our lens boxes… Tish and I are excited to further prototype after Spring Break!


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