I was thinking today about how popular it is for people to be doing various “365 projects,” like taking a photo each day for a year and sharing them. I think there is tremendous benefit in capturing a photo each day for two main reasons: 1. It creates a tangible history of your life and it’s fun to look back on the little and big moments; 2. I think it might change how you go through your day because you are aware that the photo will one day be a reminder of who you were/where you were/what you were feeling.
It occurred to me that it would be great for students to participate in a “365 project” for my class (although it would only be 80-100 days for a semester-long course.) A lot happens in my class each day. Wouldn’t it be great if you had one or two students whose job it was to capture the essence of each day? They would have to make decisions about what to take a photo of: If the students did a lab, they might take a picture of the lab apparatus; if the teacher talked the entire period, they might take a picture of the board note; if students were doing presentations, or there was an in class debate, or a video was shown, or the class went to an assembly, or there was a supply teacher, or researching in the computer lab – whatever it was, it would be captured!
The way I see it, the point of this exercise would not be as a “lesson recap,” rather it would be to inspire students to be more aware of their lives and the events that happen to them (especially events that encourage learning, personal growth and excitement). Moreover, I would want students to feel they had the creative control over what the image would be given what class was like for them. If they had a great class, not because of the lesson, but because a really great joke was shared between friends, then I would want to see the picture attempt to capture that.
I also think that the photo-per-day project would be a good way for teachers to reflect on their classroom teaching. Looking back over a semester of photos that have been captured by students would be a very good way of getting a sense of what students experience in your classroom. If almost every picture is a photo of the blackboard … I think that says a lot more than a thousand words about your teaching style!
I know that we are already a month into the new semester, but I think that I am going to try this idea out with my students. For each of my courses, I already have a Ning social network where students blog and share videos/pictures regularly. One of the great features of Ning is the ability to upload blogs/images/videos directly from a mobile smartphone by emailing the file to the social network. This feature will make it really easy for my students to start a photo-per-day project and share their images with the rest of the class.
I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of this!
All images are from my cousin Kim, who did a 365 Project last year. I think that she’s a fabulous photographer! Check out her 365 here.