Streamlined lessons in pictures

A few months ago, my students and I went on a field trip to the local recycling plant. As we neared the end of our tour I realized I forgot my camera and we were in a prime photo location. Without a camera on hand, I asked one of the student teachers with me if he could take a picture of us with his cell phone (I’ve got a grandma phone with no camera). After doing so he emailed me the picture and I later uploaded it to my class picasa web albums account. It dawned on me after the fact that he could have emailed the picture directly to my picasa account.

Using just your cell phone’s camera, you can take pictures and have them on the web for instant access to your students. I like to have students act out or demonstrate concepts in pictures then put everything together into a presentation. To access the pictures for presentations, students pull the pictures from our class picasa account.

Step 1: Log in to your picasa account and click on Settings. In the ‘General’ section, check the box that says “Allow me to upload photos by email.” You’ll be prompted to enter a special word that will give you an email address that follows the pattern user.special_word@picasaweb.com (you can change the special-word at anytime).

Step 2: Snap a picture and email to the address you set up. You’ll see the picture you sent show up in an album called “Drop Box.” Click on this album and then go to Edit–>Album Properties.  From there, set the share options to Public.  This allows your students access to the pictures you shot in class.  The default setting is private, so no one will see your pictures unless you change it to public.  You can change this back at any time.

The great thing about Picasa is that it connects to so many other things – such as Animoto.  From Animoto, you can tie into your Picasa account and have a movie ready for you in about 5 minutes.  Here is a movie that one of my students did at a presentation we did for some education undergrads.  The pictures were shot by other students on their cell phones and the video footage was shot with a digital camera.

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