Editor's Note: We asked a number of vendors with products that tap into visual learning to point us toward some examples, as a complement to Michael Carpenter's and Margaret Lambert's feature. Here's what they sent.
Children entering kindergarten are often very visually alert, having honed their skills with hours of television watching. Software such as APTE's Photo Kit Junior uses this naturally acquired skill as a tool to teach reading and writing. With Photo Kit Junior, students combine their own photos with words to create authentic reading materials. In Patty Field's kindergarten classroom in Canton, Ill., children use digital cameras, computers, and Photo Kit Junior to document and record class events and activities, to illustrate their own story books, to answers questions, and to demonstrate knowledge.
Field says: "Pictures and photos are the visual bridge to understanding the printed word. I use digital photography to draw on children's own experiences. In our classroom, we use photos to create learning materials of very personal interest to the children. I have watched in amazement as my students work together to complete projects. Casey, who often struggles with traditional reading materials, definitely benefits from having reading content that is personalized with his own photos. I attribute the change I see in his reading, decision-making skills, and ability to prioritize ideas to the technology we include in our daily routine."
For more on Photo Kit Junior and a wide range of other APTE products, visit http:// www.apte.com.
Philadelphia's Clara Barton Elementary School is a multi-ethnic, multiracial K-4 school that, with the help of Olympus, introduced digital photography into its Mentally Gifted (MG) program. The benefits of visual learning have since become evident throughout the school's curricular activities, because once they learn how to photograph, the students take their knowledge much further.
The MG students use Olympus digital cameras in a curriculum initially developed by volunteer photography teacher Harris Sklar to learn about the art of photography. "The program uses photography to teach vital life skills," says Sklar. "The children practice writing and speaking about their photographs. They also learn to use photography as a means of documenting an event or location"
The children are also taught how to download the photographs to the computer, save, manipulate the photos using Adobe Photoshop elements, and print them. Using curricular activities similar to the lesson plans included in http://www.envisionyourworld.com, an Olympus-sponsored free online curricular program written in association with faculty at Columbia University's Teachers College. students document their family life, their school, and their community. These images are incorporated into PowerPoint presentations that are used to share learning in a visual format (rather than a report) on multiple occasions--from parent-teacher meetings to classroom sharing.
Many of Clara Barton's teachers now also ask their MG students to visit. camera in hand, to document their classroom activities. As the number of visual learning projects at Clara Barton expands, Sklar and the MG teachers continue to focus on the importance of taking a good photograph. That focus has paid off as one of the MG students' photographs received honorable mention at Philadelphia's Manayunk Arts Festival.
For more on Olympus products and programs in support of visual learning, visit http:// www.olympusamerica.com/education. And don't miss http://www.envisionyourworld.com!
April Payne, at Highland Ranch Elementary School in San Diego, was looking for a video-editing program that she and her first graders could use to make a movie showcasing the successful reading strategies of beginning readers. …