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Published January 25, 2009

Using Light to Find Words

Photography is the art of light and often provides a new point of view. Part of the teaching process, as well as learning activities, are based on a body of knowledge that must be considered from a new angle. Within this perspective, the empirical method helps to gather information about the main facts or concepts under study. The observation and description of a reality are basic steps that can contribute towards building knowledge, both for teachers and students. At the same time, the use of image-capturing devices is more and more common, and with the development of general ICT skills comes an important need to integrate pictures into various forms of production. Just think about how the simple fact of taking pictures and sharing them on a website such as World of Images, which leverages Web 2.0 capabilities, can help in structuring certain pieces of information.

Northern Lights (Author: David Rouault)

Against all expectations, the prevalence of images in ITC requires proficiency with words.

For over a century, the evolution of photography has closely paralleled that of scientific thought and its teaching. Documentary photography is used to take notes as part of field, observation or laboratory work in several disciplines. Today, almost everyone is able to use photography to post their ideas on the Web. However, there is more to it than just uploading files. Pictures must be clearly labelled or identified to make them easily accessible to web users. The same is true for pictures taken as part of a pedagogical activity, e.g. during an on-the-job training session, a trip abroad or to a neighbouring community. The description is part of the process and the mechanisms that help understand reality. Capturing a significant moment, processing the image and posting it on the web are simple tasks that anyone can do. Why not exploit this new image production ability to build knowledge? This way, taking a photograph serves as the catalyst to analyse and write about the object under study. The process continues as the person looks at the picture and must find words to properly describe it. Against all expectations, the prevalence of images in ITC requires proficiency with words. Writing situations arise where they were least expected.

... photography becomes a communication tool in line with learner-oriented pedagogy.

At a time when most educational programs include courses and comprehensive examinations that require an active approach to integrating what has been learned, photography becomes a communication tool in line with learner-oriented pedagogy. We are convinced that people who set about studying a phenomenon by taking their own pictures for publication will benefit from an intellectual working method that will help them make significant strides in their learning. Once pictures are taken, having to choose among the many of them will bring people to view their work from a specific angle. Both beginners and seasoned amateurs will come up with an evocative representation of the features inherent to the object. Then, they will have to use appropriate vocabulary to submit their images foreveryone to see. Every step in the process requires constant thinking, and an external review validates the consistency of the content.

Great Wall (Author: Pierre-Julien Guay)

The managers of the World in images website commit to validate submitted images within a reasonable time frame. Accompanying texts will be reviewed and translated. Special requests may be accommodated more quickly, if there is a need to meet educational requirements of a specific term. Collaboration and sharing definitely represent innovative strategies in education. At a time where many are looking to integrate Web 2.0 capabilities while maintaining requirements as to the quality and relevance of subjects to be covered, we are suggesting an approach that provides a better understanding of facts and concepts under study. Photography requires some kind of commitment that establishes a preferential link with the object of observation. In supporting the requirements of documentary photography and the temptation to take pictures, using a site such as World in images for educational purposes allows us to share different outlooks. Next year, we will return to talk about integrating video.

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