On Wednesday afternoon we went for a walk around the school environment with the aim of exploring and capturing digitally features of the existing and currently changing landscape around the site. In previous posts, I have mentioned other projects involving creative partnerships, where students are logging these changes over time by digital means, as the new all through school rises in the space behind our current school building. During discussion with my class the other day, it slowly became apparent just how few of the students had actually noticed some of the more prominent features of the locality they pass everyday. It struck me as interesting how easy it is to assume and take for granted the knowledge and experiences our young cares bring to school of their locality and their place in it.
A couple of questions I have always found interesting to ask students when looking at a landscape painting are "where they think the artist was when they made the image?" and "what do they think might have been behind them, to the left, the right or above the canvas?" I pondered the other day how much I enjoyed sitting on the top deck of a bus, with the chance to see familiar settings from a different perspective, and from this came the idea for a digital landscape walk, using digital photographs to enable students to capture different views from the same location, that we could then use to focus discussion back in the classroom in relation to a map of the journey.
This map created using quikmaps, shows an aerial photograph of the route we followed with the students. Each of the small map pins, showing a staging point on the journey. The students used digital blue cameras at each staging point to capture two images, one looking out from the school into the surrounding landscape, and another after a 180 degree turn that captured the scene looking back towards the school grounds. Back in class the students were encouraged to review their images, identifying and locating on a shared map where each image had been captured, before matching the two opposing landscape perspectives, to locations on the map. To follow up, and as a table top activity, small groups of students were given copies of a blank map and challenged to mark the route they had followed, locate the staging points for themselves before finally mapping their images to their locations.
The students are currently using 2 Simple's 2create, to to develop their own interactive atlases. These are very much in the developmental stage. We have used maps downloaded from World Atlas.com, to create slides that begin with the world and which will progressively zoom down onto the place where we live and work, using hyperlinked buttons to enable this. I am now thinking how interesting it would be to extend the project, by encouraging the students to think about how this tool could be used to to create a textured presentation about our school in its landscape, maybe in a virtual tour type format. Using 2Create, means that the final projects can be exported in flash format for publication to the web, or on the year group blog, providing audience and purpose for the outcomes.
YAY! Thanks to Tom Barrett and Twitter I have now also learned how to add some of the images that the students captured to our quikmap. This is really exciting...