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Old Jan 20, 2011, 11:17 AM   #1
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Default Going to talk with some High School students about photography, input needed.

I was asked by one of our local private schools to come talk with about 8 students who are doing a photography project this year. These are kids with little to no photography experience, and the teacher asked me to cover the "basics", and that the requirements for the assignment had to do with landscape and still life type photos.

So, do any of you have any input or links to some good resources to help me put together about an hour lesson? I have a few ideas of what to talk about, and I plan on spending a little time showing each student the best modes/settings to use with their cameras. Each will bring their own camera, so we're talking point-n-shoots I'd imagine.

Any input is appreciated.

p.s. for those wondering I am doing this for free, with one other visit later to critique the students after reviewing some of their work.
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 11:57 AM   #2
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I spend a lot of time training people on industrial safety issues, and I've learned a critical method for developing a class. Begin with the end in mind.

Decide what the student needs to be able to do by the end of your class, and gear everything in the presentation towards that goal.

Sounds simple, but seldom practiced.

For instance, develop a statement along the lines of:
By the end of the class the student will be able to describe the function of the lens' aperture, shutter speed, and iso settings;
and how these settings affect each other;
describe the meaning of depth of field;
the meaning of field of view;
describe the effect of aperture settings on the DOF;

With this list established, the next step is to choose a method for evaluating the effectiveness of the lesson, either through formative (verbal questions during class) or summative (test at the end). A test must match the stated objectives created earlier, i.e. if the goal is that the student will be able to describe something, an essay question or multiple choice answer question may be appropriate. If the goal expresses that the student will be able to do something, the test would require the student to actually perform the action to a specified level of performance given a certain criteria, i.e. the student will be able to take a well-illuminated portrait photo given a camera, a model, and an outdoor setting...

The next step is to decide how to present the material that supports the learning objective. In general, the best classes include a little lecture, a little demonstration, and a little hands-on time, as some students learn the best through one of those three methods its best to spread it around.
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 1:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iowa_jim View Post
I spend a lot of time training people on industrial safety issues, and I've learned a critical method for developing a class. Begin with the end in mind.

Decide what the student needs to be able to do by the end of your class, and gear everything in the presentation towards that goal.

Sounds simple, but seldom practiced.

For instance, develop a statement along the lines of:
By the end of the class the student will be able to describe the function of the lens' aperture, shutter speed, and iso settings;
and how these settings affect each other;
describe the meaning of depth of field;
the meaning of field of view;
describe the effect of aperture settings on the DOF;

With this list established, the next step is to choose a method for evaluating the effectiveness of the lesson, either through formative (verbal questions during class) or summative (test at the end). A test must match the stated objectives created earlier, i.e. if the goal is that the student will be able to describe something, an essay question or multiple choice answer question may be appropriate. If the goal expresses that the student will be able to do something, the test would require the student to actually perform the action to a specified level of performance given a certain criteria, i.e. the student will be able to take a well-illuminated portrait photo given a camera, a model, and an outdoor setting...

The next step is to decide how to present the material that supports the learning objective. In general, the best classes include a little lecture, a little demonstration, and a little hands-on time, as some students learn the best through one of those three methods its best to spread it around.
Thanks Jim for your detailed response. I'll be taking all of this into consideration.
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 2:09 PM   #4
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Good advice from Jim. I would add to that: don't try to teach too much in one session. Provide some examples, and remember that repetition is the key to learning. A very good way is to start by telling the class what they are going to learn, teach the material, and end with a recap of what they have learned.
Good luck.

brian
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 2:17 PM   #5
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First, they are high school and private school, so do not assume they do not know anything or simple PS. Teach may not think they do, but, you may be surprised.
I was public school, had my own SLR in 7th grade doing my own black and white developing. No money, but, great pentax. School had the darkroom, free developing!
So, go with an open mind and open ideas as to where to go with talk.
As for subject of landscape and still life? Simple, tell them to take pics of their favorite places, one they do not share with many. bring examples of good photos...explain why. Still life I have a hard time with.
Most important! Ask what they want to know from you!
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 2:31 PM   #6
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All great points here.

I try not to assume anything (you know how that saying goes), the teacher had mentioned they had not real photography experience.

I was thinking a short PowerPoint presentation with some examples would work well. I also want to focus on answering as many questions as possible, like LisaLoneWolf mentioned.

I wish I had more of my own examples to show them, however I favor portrait type photography
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Old Jan 20, 2011, 4:36 PM   #7
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Composition and observation. Most of them will probably let the camera do the exposure stuff.

So, I'd suggest topics like making sure nothing is growing out of the heads of subjects in an image (thinking about how it will look after it's taken, paying attention to distractions in the background), paying attention to framing so that hands and feet are not cut off at odd places, other subjects in the frame aren't going to draw more attention, horizons aren't tilted, etc.
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Old Jan 23, 2011, 10:54 AM   #8
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Already some great advice here. Ill just add one more tidbit. Talk, hands on, talk, hands on....keep it moving and mix it around if you have to or you will lose their attention. Watch them to see if they start drifting off and then work in something to get their attention back. Put in some humor that is age appropriate to keep it fun. Even adults who are genuinely interested can drift off but kids are especially prone to this. Talking about photograhpy can be pretty dry especially to those who have little to no knowledge. I think this will be your biggest challange.
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Old Jan 23, 2011, 3:58 PM   #9
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Thanks for that added input Jim and Justin.

This should be fun. Luckily, I do have some experience working with youths in a class like setting, as I use to help out a lot in our youth group at church (I taught quite often actually, but we always had a curriculum to follow as a template).

-billy
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Old Jan 23, 2011, 5:09 PM   #10
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I hear ya Billy! Even with a curriculum its challanging to say the least. Ive worked with many youth groups and the one thing I learned that stands out more than anything is keeping their attention. The younger they are the shorter the attention span is. Even something as simple as youth sports. I had Tball coaches asking me how I kept them involved through an entire hour of practice. That was easy enough, just keep switching it up and change activities every 10 minutes. They were spending entire practices on batting and the next on fielding the ball. I did pretty much everything for every practice in 10 minute intervals. I considered the season a success when at the end none of them were playing in the dirt in the outfield.
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