Digital Camera Fun
Using a digital camera can really liven up the lessons you teach 
to your students, aide in enhancing your classroom publications 
or to just help you stay organized.   

With prices dropping and quality improving, it is a great investment! Here are some tips to help get just the right camera for your needs and what to do with the camera once you have it.

Information On Digital Cameras / Info. and Tutorials / Ideas for Teachers Ideas for Student Activities /Articles



Information on Digital Cameras
The Buzz Words

~Digital Zoom-a process that digitally enlarges only parts of the photo. The higher the digital count, the blurrier your photos will be.  Digital zoom lowers quality of pictures.

~JPEG - JPEG (Joint Photographers Experts Group) is the standard file format for digital images. JPEG images are compressed (on-board software shrinks the file size of the digital image). JPEG is the most common file storage format for digital photography.

~LCD (liquid crystal display) this is the screen that allows you to see the image you are taking a picture of. It also allows you to view the pictures you have taken. LCDs drain battery power, so it is a good idea to buy a camera with a traditional viewfinder too.

~Megapixels-determine the resolution of the pictures, or how much fine detail will captured.  The more megapixels the better quality the pictures will be.  So how many megapixels are right for you? It depends on what you want to do with your images.

Megapixels What you can do...
Less than 0.9 Share photos online- emails, websites, insert images into
PowerPoint Presentations. Photos look better if kept smaller in size.
Enlargingimages creates grainy images.
1.0 to 1.9 Produces low-quality printing up to 4" x 6"
2.0 - 2.9  Quality printing up to 4" x 6"
3.0 - 3.9 Quality printing up to 5" x 7"
4.0 - 5.9 Quality printing up to 8" x 10"
6.0 + Quality printing larger than 8" x 10"

It is recommended to get a camera with 3.3 or more  megapixels to get decent pictures. 

~Memory- the amount of space available to save photos. The space is measured in megabytes (MB). The higher the picture resolution the more space that is required on your memory card. It is good idea to purchase extra memory cards for your camera.

~Optical Zoom-the process in which a lens makes distant objects appear closer. Everyday pictures should be taken with a 3X to 5X optical zoom. They produce sharper images than digital zoom. Digital zoom  does not focus in as it zooms closer and closer, optical zoom does. While the digital zoom only changes the presentation of existing data, the optical zoom actually augments the image collected by the sensor. Optical zooms are clearly superior to digital zooms.

~Resolution-the amount of detail that a camera can capture. This is referred to in megapixels. A camera over 3 megapixels is your best bet. The higher the megapixel count the better quality of pictures you will obtain.

To see a list and summary of Goodhousekeeping's Best Camera Picks, click here.

Some definitions adapted from Goodhousekeeping, June 2004

Steve's Digicam

This is a great site to learn about the many different kinds of digital cameras available.  This site can assist you in buying the perfect camera to meet your needs.  There are also reviews on printers and all the accessories you will need. This is the one-stop site!

Short Course on Buying Digital Cameras

If you are looking for a digital camera this is a great site! The short courses will inform you of the important features of cameras and how to use these special features.

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Information and Tutorials for Using Your Digital Cameras
"Snacks" for using your digital camera-basic information and great how to's such as how to transfer your pictures to a computer. This site also has tutorials on adding your images to other programs such as PowerPoint, HyperStudio, Word, Inspiration, Kidspiration and other programs. This is a must check out site!

Short Course on Using your Digital Camera
Covers your camera's controls, fine tuning your pictures, using your flash,  capturing close-up images and creating those special images.

Kodak's Taking Great Pictures
Kodak offers a nice variety of topics to help you enhance your digital camera experiences. 

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Ideas For Using Your Digital Camera in The Classroom

Ideas for Teachers: Management Ideas

Take pictures of your students and add them to your newsletters, posters, bulletin boards, awards, attendance board, All About Me Boards, etc....

Take pictures of your bulletin boards to remember them in the years to come. Makes duplicating them easier in the future.

Take pictures of the contents of boxes.  Helps in locating materials fast, especially when the boxes are stored on high shelves.

To help students get to know you or find you on the first day of school, add a picture of yourself in your "Welcome" letter to your students. Send the letter home prior to school starting.  

Take pictures of students with medical conditions.  Insert them into a Word document with a description of the child's condition, special needs and what to do if...  Post them in an easy to see place for quick reference in case of an emergency.  Also include them in your substitute folder. 

Keep your classroom organized- with your students' help. Take pictures of the things that belong on a shelf or in a particular basket. Print and laminate. Attach these photos to their respective spot. Now when it is clean-up time, students will know exactly where things go!

Don't have a scanner, take a picture of your document. 

Take pictures of your students throughout the year. Email special pictures to the parents.  Everyone loves to get mail- especially when has a picture of their child. No email addresses? Print and send home. 

Make a picture seating chart to add to your substitute folder. Your subs will love you!

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Activities to Use With Your Students

Name Recognition- This is a great activity for young learners to start recognizing their own name as well as their classmates.  Take your students pictures.  Print them onto cardstock with the child's name next to their photo.  Laminate the sheets and then cut each student/name combo into puzzle pieces.  Place in basket and allow your students many opportunities to match pictures with names.

Take pictures of your students during the first month of school, again in January and another in June to see how they have grown.  Your students can write stories about their growing!

Take pictures of just about anything to add to PowerPoint presentations to really liven them up.  Print your presentations, laminate the pages and create classroom books.  Children love to see their own pictures in a book! For some ideas, click here. My students' favorite- Fieldtrip Shows. You always have that "down-time" after returning from a fieldtrip.  Gather your students around the computer and put together a slideshow of their trip. I like to print out mini books and send them home with the students as souvenirs.

Students can be assigned to go on expeditions throughout the school to look for examples of geometric shapes (circles, triangles, parallel lines, obtuse angles, etc). An older student could serve as a "Tech Buddy" to assist younger children with the picture taking.

Take a class photo to add to a calendar for gifts for families.

Take pictures of students doing different things (walking, eating, coloring...) and create an "-ing Book"  The students can type or write a sentence that tells what they are doing in the picture.  Create a class book.

Take your students pictures and import them into a drawing program such as KID PIX STUDIO DELUXE.  Have your students erase their bodies and then using the many tools available in the program, draw themselves in a particular place of study. For example a fifth grade class was studying Alaska.  The students create an Alaskan background and clothing appropriate for the cold temperatures.   

If you pen-pal with another class or school, take a picture of each student. Print on heavy paper and laminate.  Cut each picture into puzzle pieces and send to their pen-pal to assemble.

Take a class picture and print on special iron-on paper.  Use these transfers to create class t-shirts. These classy t's can be worn on special days such as on field trips, field day, or during Spirit Week.

Take pictures of special classroom events.  Print each picture and distribute to students.  Each student is asked to write a story about the event in the picture.  Assemble the pages in to a class book.

Take pictures of your students.  Print them in 1x1" squares on to heavy paper and then laminate.  Cut the squares out and use for class graphing.

Take a headshot of each student. Crop to remove any excess background (saves on ink when printing). Print each headshot as large as you can. Have the students create a body to accompany their picture. Have them make the  arms long so they can be folded in as if they are holding onto something. Hot glue clothespins to each hand. Find a large area to hang and display each student.
*Students can attach work they are proud of throughout the year.
*During Parent Nights or Conferences, parents can attach notes to "their" child to find the next morning.
*Attach "SPECIAL MESSAGES" as they happen. IE-Congratulations Tommy on making the soccer team! or Happy Birthday Katelyn!.  Kids love these special acknowledgements.

Have your students help you take pictures of classroom objects.  Involve them in the process of typing up the words to go along with each picture.  Print, laminate and use as your classroom labels.

Use pictures to enhance any unit! A unit of color? Have your students take a walk around the school and create a color book. We have made "The Colors of (a season)".  Numbers? Take pictures of a pair of socks and create a skip counting book. How about taking a picture of a part of your room and ask the kids to find 4 pencils in the picture or 2 books. Laminate the pages and provide dry erase markers. The students can locate the objects and circle them.  I provide small squares of baby wipes in a Ziploc bag so they can erase their work before they leave the center.
ABC's- Take pictures of items for each letter of the alphabet.

Time Lapse Pictures-take a series of pictures of an event such as caterpillars emerging from their chrysalises.

Create a "claymation" type show using your camera and PowerPoint. Using playdough, create a figure such as an animal. Snap a picture. Mold the clay to show slight movement (move a leg). Snap the picture. Repeat until your animal has been given the illusion of movement.  Insert one picture per slide in PowerPoint. Enlarge the picture to fill the slide.  Set your transitions to 1 second and the timings to run automatically.  Run your show. The images will appear to be moving.  Sample shows coming soon!


For more lesson ideas and cool activities to do with digital images, 
check out these great sites-

1001 Uses for Digital Images- need an idea, find it here. "This site was designed as a reference tool putting educators in touch with creative educational applications for digital cameras in educational settings. Submitted lessons and applications that have been used successfully in the classroom will be displayed for other educators to view and print." (1001 Uses for Digital Cameras)

Adobe Digital Kids Club - ideas on how to take pictures, lessons and ways to integrate digital photos into classroom activities.  Many of the examples are for older students, but with a little tweaking, even early childhood educators can use them. ;)

Brunswick's Collection of Ideas and Activities

Digital Cameras Enhance Education- tips and tricks to using digital cameras in your classroom.

Going Digital In The Classroom- some great advice on using cameras and images in your classroom.

Kodak's Creative Uses for Digital Images

Using Digital Cameras in the Primary Classroom

Pics4Learning has lessons that use digital camera and/or digital images in unique and engaging ways for subjects such as math, science, language arts and social studies.  This site also includes a library of copyright-friendly and free digital images for use in education.

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