Digital Imaging: The Wave of the Future
Richardson, Ronny, T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)
October 2003--Product Watch
Prices for digital imaging equipment have dropped significantly over the last few years. As a result, the use of digital imaging products in the classroom has greatly increased. Now, with this increased use of digital imagery by teachers and students, many schools are expanding the equipment they are offering in their labs and classrooms.
Digital cameras have quietly made major inroads into education, especially at the K-12 level. They remove one of the major headaches of photography courses at the K-12 and university levels: the need for a darkroom with all its chemicals. With a digital camera, students can simply shoot images and instantly display them on a computer, print them using an ink-jet printer or use a projector to share the images with the entire class. This allows students to quickly review their images, critique their results and reshoot as needed.
It's interesting to note that early digital cameras were not well suited for the classroom, because they either did not have adequate resolution, had limited controls or cost too much. But, all that has changed. Most digital cameras today have at least a 3.2-megapixel resolution, which is high enough to print a great looking 8.5" x 11" image. In addition, many relatively inexpensive digital cameras offer enough controls for even the most demanding photography course. Most likely, digital cameras will continue to fall in price, while they simultaneously gain resolution.
However, there is an important drawback to digital cameras: When students use a darkroom and chemicals they are usually responsible for providing their own supplies, but when the images are printed on ink-jet printers it is hard for schools to expect students to supply their own ink cartridges since most printers are not set up to frequently exchange cartridges. As a result, it is likely that some of the costs will shift from the students to the school. While the school will likely end up supplying the ink cartridges, students can still be expected to supply their own paper given that the paper used to print digital photographs is fairly expensive.
Digital cameras and photo CDs are a great way to get new images in a digital form, but neither of them allows a user to utilize existing images. For that, you need a scanner. Scanners are no longer limited to only scanning photographs, with most modern scanners doing an excellent job of scanning both negatives and slides. …