Digital tablets and pens allow for control in drawing; many children gain skill by practicing with the mouse. The computer allows for experimentation, such as: trying one color after another to fill backgrounds, adding texture, changing size and placement of shapes.
Students need to be able to:
1. Find and open the drawing program
2. Save their work as they go along
3. Find and use various fonts
4. Choose drawing tools from paint program menus
5. Erase and undo
6. Save and later retrieve their work from a folder
7. Know the classroom rules for printing
Learning to use a digital camera empowers students with a life-skill. Looking through the lens causes children to slow down and look at the world in a more focused manner. Elementary age students can be responsible with digital cameras if given proper training.
Students need to know:
- Shutter button
- Settings for taking photographs and for viewing photographs
- Macro zoom function
- Delete function
- Flash on/off
- “Battery low” icon
When students are sharing a camera, they can first photograph their face to bracket their set of photographs. After the images have been downloaded into the computer for editing, students can find their photographs easily by their face. Each photographer can have their own file in a classroom folder. Editing photographs allows students to manipulate their images quickly with great results. Experimentation with cropping, color, contrast and size provides many opportunities to refine and alter the photo. Photoshop Elements and iPhoto both have simple editing tools which can be mastered by children. Make sure students duplicate each image before editing to keep an original in the file. Printing digital images is quite expensive. Students can bring in CD’s or a zip drive to take home all of their digital art.
Narratives can be told through animation, using digital cameras to shoot individual frames. Students create characters with plasticine clay, pipe cleaners, or paper sculpture. A storyboard identifies key frames showing how the story progresses. Using the storyboard as a guide, students photograph all the subtle movements between key frames. Photos are imported into iMovie or similar program, timing is adjusted and the animation is edited with titles, sound effects and music. This process requires many varied skills; collaboration is frequent as students seek
assistance with storytelling, sculpting, photography, digital editing and special effects. Because animation files are large, teachers may want to keep student work on an external hard drive.
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