The Power of Images


We all know of the power of images.  They bring forth human emotions stronger than mere words.  It’s part of the reason why so many use cameras and images so effectively in the classroom.

One of my favourite applications that use the power of images so strongly is PicLits.   Using it is pretty easy – just click on an image from the gallery, and in one mode just drag and drop nouns, verbs,  adjectives, etc. onto the image to tell the story behind the image.  In the freestyle mode, you have the ability to write your story in a little text editor.  The program can be very effective for use in the classroom.

Watching students motivated by the image has convince me that this application is a real “keeper” for primary and some junior classes.

I’ve been looking for a similar way to inspire research and writing in older students.  The game changes there and you can make things more authentic by providing real-world problems and situations for deeper comment and proposals for solution.  This morning, I ran into an absolutely incredible website for setting the stage to some thoughtful writing.

Amusing Planet wrote a book review with some imagery that is absolutely powerful.  The book is entitled “Where Children Sleep“.  It’s a collection of images and short stores from students around the world.  The common denominator in all of this is that a picture of each of the children’s “bedroom” is shown along with a short biography of each child.

When you read the stories behind each of the children, you can’t help but get a sense as to what life must be like in each of their realities.  I can’t help but think that this readings would serve to inspire some insightful research and writing by students old enough to understand things.  Even an activity where you choose two of the children and compare their realities would serve as a starter that would undoubtedly inspire the students to read and try to understand all of students in the article.

Beyond that, I would think that copies of this book should find a welcome home in school libraries everywhere.

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A Great Confluence


I’ve had FourSquare on my portable device for a while.  I wouldn’t say that I’m a power user by any extent and mostly use it to check in to restaurants after the food is ordered and we’re waiting delivery.  I’m also a mayor of three locations.  Two involve park benches and seagulls and the other a Tim Horton’s.  I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m changing the world with my check-in habits.  But, I do like the potential of discounts from vendors if I give them a little notice when I check in to their stores.  I just have to find such a place…

One of the recent upgrades to the service was announced just before Christmas included the ability to post pictures and comments as you check in.  What a great concept – now when you’re checking, you can also document it.  That certainly makes things more interesting.  I remember thinking at the time that it might inspire me to use FourSquare more often if I could find an interesting angle other than the exhaust pipe of the car in front of me.  At least, my current use amuses Ron_Mill.

But, when you think about it, it does diversify any photos that you might want to share.  So, you’d have FourSquare pictures documenting where you’ve been and another service like Flickr where you share and document your life.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a meld between the two?  There is now.

The service FlickSquare fills that gap.  It seems like a natural evolution.  Post your FourSquare pictures and they’re posted to your Flickr account at the same time.

The concept makes both services immediately more valuable and it’s not hard to see that this functionality is a natural match.  The most immediate use that springs to mind is staying in touch with folks as you holiday.  (Of course, you have a housesitter…)  But, for the vendor that will give discounts or recognition for folks that check in, they get more advertising for free immediately.  For you, there’s no more finding time when you’re home to locate and upload the pictures after the fact.  In education, imagine parents staying in touch as you document a field trip on the fly.

Right from the start, this is such a great idea.  Perhaps it will be the inspiration that FourSquare needs to build right into their application or to acquire this startup.  The natural extension would, of course, be to extend posting options to any of the other photo sharing services so that you can update any of them as well.