App #6: Camera

Back to the basics: the Camera app

Have an iPad 2, iPhone, or iPod touch? Take advantage of the dual cameras that come with the device. Some of you might even own the new iPad, which boasts the much improved camera much like that of the iPhone 4S. Simply having a camera on these devices adds so much convenience to your photography tasks. No more need to fiddle with SD or Compact Flash cards, wires, usb connection kits.

Have you ever needed take a photo with your digital camera and wanted to share it with your students the same day?
This was how I used to do it:
  1. Take the photo(s)
  2. Import them by either connecting the camera directly to my PC, or use the SD card slot
  3. Locate the photos in the correct folder that they were saved
  4. Find an application to view them in full screen on the computer, or import into Powerpoint or a similar program
  5. Attach the computer to a projector
  6. Display the images

This process was slow, tedious, and required quite some time. I had to have everything prepared ahead of time if I wanted to do this.

Now:

  1. Take a photo directly from my iPad
  2. Connect iPad to projector
  3. Display

I can even keep the iPad connected to the projector and take photos and videos while everything is shown on the screen.

Here are some things teachers specifically can do with the handy Camera app on their devices:

  1. Take a photo of your class(es) at the beginning of the year, and see how much the students have grown over the course of the year. Show them and they themselves will notice the changes;
  2. Go visit other schools and take photos (with permission) of the classes of the same grade level that you teach. Capture new ideas for your own teaching;
  3. Take photos of your students work (projects, written work, or even just worksheets), and annotate and go over them with the entire class (with the mirrored display, as discussed earlier). Students will be able to see mistakes and learn from them;
  4. Take quick snapshots of important notes written on your chalk or white boards, create a catalog of them, and save for future lessons;
  5. Dislike loose paper as much as I do? Snap a photo of everything that you might need (assessments, attendance, notes from admin and other staff members etc.) and save them in your Camera Roll (or even send it directly to Evernote, which I will discuss later on);
  6. Take a photo of each student in your class and save them in a folder to share with future substitute teachers, where you can label them (on the iPad with apps like Skitch) and list any special instructions;
  7. Take photos of your classroom setup (desk arrangement, calendars, posters, furniture) since these will probably change during the year;
  8. Keep a record of your special bulletin boards for those special occasions so you can redo them the following year;

While I know all the above items can be done with any old camera, I will argue that taking such photos on your Apple device will be a much easier and carefree process. Instead of wondering where you kept that old photo you took last year, have them directly in your Camera Roll or in a folder in Dropbox or Evernote.

One additional convenience of taking photos with iPads or iPhones is the ability to immediately share it. A teacher can send a photo to a parent of their child, or their child’s work. It just takes a couple taps, directly from the Camera Roll:

If you or your school have an Airprint or wireless printer, you can even print directly from the iPad.

Note: For serious photographers, it should be made clear that Apple devices will not create “stunning” photos. photos are more for teacher reference and not really meant to be developed and framed like you would a more standard SLR camera. However, the lenses on the iPhone 4S and the new iPad will rival most point and shoots. I have definitely put away my small Canon digital camera, and have fully replaced it with my iPhone.

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