This week, after reviewing some of the basic photo techniques (zooming in, rule of thirds-see my example below, not centering things, etc.) one girl asked if she could show me a picture she took with her phone, which she wasn't supposed to have on in class. Needless to say, I said yes because it was a clear furthering of the educational process in this case. And, lo and behold, she showed me a beach picture she had taken that was a perfect example of the rule of 1/3s!
I had already been thinking that I really ought to find some way to leverage the camera phones and iPod Touches the kids already have with the classroom focus on photography skills, but as I thought about this student's great photo, I knew exactly what I wanted to do: Through a micro-blogging service (such as Posterous or Tumblr), create an 8th grade Mobile Photojournalism blog, in which students could text or email in pictures to the site. Both of these sites are excellent ways to have kids put their work online nearly instantly. All they do is email their writing, image, video, or sound to a specific address and it's posted immediately (though you can set it up with pre-approval by the blog administrator required, which I had planned to do).
The only problem was that as I was setting up this blog, I realized that neither of the services I was planning on using allowed texting photos into the blog. This is a critical difference, because many of my students have cell phones, but few have smart phones that can send an email. (In fact, most of the kids don't have email addresses because they don't see the point.) The email address wouldn't be a problem to create; the wrong kind of phone is a problem.
So, now I'm not sure what I want to do. It seemed like such a great idea, but now I'm stuck because I don't know how to make it work. Yes, I could have them text my phone the pictures and I could forward them to an email, but I am NOT one of those teachers who give out their cell phone numbers to students. I could have them each make their own accounts on the blog service, but that would mean they'd have to know how to get their images from the phone to another computer and I don't have time to help kids with 50 different phones figure this out. So, if anyone out there has any good suggestions on how to make something like this work, it would really help me out! Sometime, an unfulfilled idea is extremely frustrating! (Sort of like when you think of the exact food you want to eat, but you're out of a key ingredient.) Let me know your ideas!