I try to take a course every semester at Teachers College. This is because it’s one of the best perks of being an employee of Columbia University, I like continually developing myself as a professional, and it’s fun to learn new things. This semester, I’m taking Photography for Educators with Sean Justice.
Besides taking, organizing, editing,and printing photos, we set for ourselves a few semester-long goals. I had five:
1. To fine-tune an integrated project joining conversations about Renaissance art, Art History, and media literacy. This project incorporated discussions about the history of image manipulation starting with how painted portraits were idealized versions of the subject and also how photographs were manipulated early on even before Photoshop. We also talk about ownership of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which is not under copyright, and variations of the Mona Lisa by other artists which are under copyright (and variations about copyright based on country of origin). We discuss Shepard Fairey’s Hope poster in depth to encourage students to think about ownership, fair use, copyright, licensing, and attribution. And throughout it all, we teach 6th graders how to use basic tools in Photoshop (the eraser, selection, opacity, paint, eyedropper, magic wand, etc.) to alter a Renaissance painting.
2. To share my passion (soap box) for being ethical online. Hence, I shared a slide show about how to search and cite Creative Commons-licensed media (License to Cull). Also to encourage people to look at the Terms and Conditions of websites and apps, and to consider where they put their work (is it public or less public, do you own it still or are you offering your work up freely to websites and not paying attention to how your work is being used).
3. To share my Flickr stream and think about ways to use Flickr groups to build community. I set up a group AHA4096 and had hoped to have people connect with each other and each other’s photos in a shared space.
4. To impress upon teachers the importance of gathering a portfolio of their work via a blog or website. Thus, I’m housing my slideshow at Slideshare.net, and embedding it here at the top of this post. I treat this site as a museum of my work, rather than a warehouse where I house all my stuff (like my Google Drive).
5. To learn some awesome new tips and tricks for using Photoshop. I learned how to crop, set guidelines, and format my stuff for printing. I’m a big fan of straight-out-of-camera photography. Up until now, I rarely edited or printed my photos. This class really opened up my eyes to other possibilities besides shooting and sharing on Flickr.