Vibeke Fussing’s design narrative v2: Freaky Photos

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Vibeke Fussing
14 April 2015

Title

Vibeke Fussing’s design narrative v2: Freaky Photos

 

Narrator

 

My role in this is that of teacher of this class where I share the teaching with another. The schedule of learning and assignment for delivery of two BTEC units combined (photography and advertising units), was written by my colleague. I am also pastoral tutor for this class.

 

Situation

 

This particular lesson was the 1:30pm after lunch lesson (often fondly referred to by teachers as the graveyard shift). The learners were level 2 BTEC students aged 16-18 on a Creative Media Production course. Attendance was low and it was the first day back after the Easter break. These students had four lessons so were expected to attend college all day in the same classroom where each student sits at a PC.

During the morning lessons students had been given ‘chalk and talk’ style lessons by my colleague and were next to be required to watch an hour long documentary on photography (and answer 5 questions).

Key actors were 12 male students, the media department technician and myself.

Having popped into their morning lessons, I was concerned that they looked as though they were losing the will to live and felt something had to be done quickly.

Task

 

What I wanted to achieve was enlivened enthusiasm and interest in photography and the two units they will be studying between now and the end of their course. My measure of success would be active participation and collaboration amongst the class (rather than individual silent staring at PC screens).

Actions

 

  • Popped into earlier lessons to observe the delivery and how the students were responding.

  • Had a think about how to improve the situation for the students.

  • Asked the technician if it would be possible to use a tray of cameras after lunch.

  • The technician put all the cameras on charge to be ready.

  • Introduced the activity, Freaky Photos.

  • Students were to first give me their email address (the one that they actually use).

  • Each student would be given a small digital camera.

  • They were to go out of the classroom and spend 20 minutes taking the most surreal, strange, weird, freaky photos they could from odd angles so that the viewer would not necessarily recognise the subject.

  • Whilst they were out taking photographs I created a Prezi and send each student a link to it, having given each of them editing permissions.

  • Students downloaded their photos from the cameras (USB).

  • They then picked up the email with the link, signed up to Prezi and joined the presentation.

  • Students were to upload one freaky photo to the Prezi presentation giving it a title and adding their name. What actually happened was that they found all sorts of silly pictures on the internet and uploaded them first. Did a lot of deleting of each others pictures, got quite giddy messing around and winding each other up. There was a lot of laughing and talking to each other across the classroom over the PCs.

  • I was to provide support and guidance where needed, particularly in the signing up and use of functions in Prezi. Once they were in they got to grips with it quite quickly, some needed to be shown the ‘Insert’ button for uploading their photos. One student was very quickly changing the presentation background image and colour scheme.

  • The activity would then be brought to a close so that the students could then watch the documentary and answer the set questions. This didn’t really happen, they carried on playing with the presentation whilst also listening to the documentary and only stopped when Prezi crashed.

Results

 

  • Expected outcome was that students would interact with each other and get up out of their seats to take photos around the college.

  • The email addresses were difficult to read in some cases so I had to wait for them to return to check.

  • I wasn’t altogether sure that the uploading of their chosen photos to Prezi would work so that was a bonus.

  • Although when I discovered that they would have to sign up for a Prezi account in order to edit and join in I was concerned that some would not be able to. This actually worked surprisingly well because I think the students were motivated by wanting to join in.

  • The students did a lot of giggling (teenage boys and ‘rude’ photos I think) and were engaged in the activity although perhaps not in the way I had intended.

  • They all now know a lot more about how to use Prezi.

  • A day later I again offered them the opportunity to take the cameras out (it was a very hot sunny day for April - far too nice to be cooped up in a stuffy classroom).  Most of the students who had taken part in the activity the day before as well as one student who had not attended college then, took photographs and have uploaded them, this time in an orderly way (without any supervision or guidance from me) and also worked out how to create the zooming paths).

  • Best unexpected result is that I am very proud of them.

Reflections

 

Although the design narrative was mostly a success, it was planned at very short notice and out of necessity to keep students engaged, it was not planned with the assessment criteria in mind. This means that whilst they are gaining confidence in taking photographs, working collaboratively and using Prezi, they are not working on the activity assigned for assessment this week.

It would probably be a good idea for me to plan a few of these ‘emergency’ lessons and keep them ready but make sure that they also incorporate some of the outcomes required by the BTEC units being addressed at the time.

Of the students who were present during the activity, there were three who struggled and seemingly couldn’t be bothered initially, only one is still telling me that photography is just not his thing (he prefers being a team leader and directing students to produce his moving image ideas). I need to work more with him.

Their enthusiasm for Prezi as a collaborative presentation tool has impressed me. They are far keener working with it this way than individually on their own presentations. So I will use this in future activities with this class and perhaps encourage them to continue working on the current Freaky Photos Prezi.

 

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