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Teaching Photography to 8 to 10 year olds this winter in school. Is Guided Access broken?

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Started by jonathan7007 18 Dec 2012 12:17am () Replies (9)

I have joined this group to her other's ideas and share mine. There are details below but I have a big pressing question:

Is the Guided Access code in iOS6 so broken I cannot reliably use it with a classroom full of kids? Is there a bigger problem with iOS 6.0.1?



I am a long-time photographer (pro) and until recently upper elementary teacher. My last school here in Hawaii. USA, offered me a chance to teach photography to the 4th and 5th kids starting in January, and they have a set of iPads(v3). These little workshops would have to be 40-minute sessions, and unfortunately spaced a week apart.


These kids need to experience thinking and planning. Yes, there's a place for spontaneous shooting, but I am going to fit this into the same process that writing requires: an idea, first draft, critical eye, second draft, flexibility, more refinement, do it again. In other words, focus on the aesthetic process. So any "filters" (a la Instagram, etc.) are out -- at least at first. I will be using what are known as core standards, partly to fit this into "school" and partly to retain credibility and give the tiny program some clout and longevity if I should want to do it for a while. This underpinning is important to school administrators for good reason in today's environment.


 These students will be 9 and 10-year-olds with no experience of photography or looking seriously at a picture, much less asked to articulate their thoughts about it. Most (85%?) will NOT have handled an iPad -- ever. Many of them, when presented with something new or -- when unsure of the next step -- and not guided one-on-one -- will jump over to playing with the iPad (completely natural reaction for all ages, BTW). So I need three things:


-A guided (limited) path through a few steps (Guided Access routines in iOS6)

-Easy clear steps and transitions in a photo capture and viewing environment

-Time to practice the few steps (makes kids way more comfortable)

 For this project I am a teacher first, photographer second. So I need that path: think-aim camera-photo capture-pick-show-think again. I have some years teaching experience in my own classroom with this age. I don't have much time to prepare, what with daughter coming back from college and holidays.


I also have to work out a way for all of the class to see the images that any one particular student makes. Wireless to a projector that has WiFi capabilities?


As you can see I have LOTS of details to work out!!


Aloha from Hawaii,



  • Bruce Ellison (View all users posts) 18 Dec 2012 5:11am ()

    Kia ora Jonathan


    What a great opportunity you have to combine a couple of your passions (photography and teaching) with some exciting new technology.

    I had the opportunity to teach some photography skills to a similar age group a few years ago and loved the experience. I have heard of people who started with a cardboard viewfinder and some tasks to get children to see the images around them through this.

    For each lesson I had a specific learning focus. The first we were exploring 'lines'. Children were set the task of exploring the school grounds looking for compositions with lines in them. The second lesson was focussed on 'colour' and getting children to explore for bright or contrasting colours. These first two lessons helped the children see their surroundings and potential photographs in a different way. The viewfinder could be used for their first short exploration of the immediate area and then children could share back oraly about some of their compositions. Then they could take their iPads and explore and shoot. They would have a short time before they are expected back in class and then with an 'apple TV' box and VGA converter (sorry not sure of its technical name - but I'm sure someone in this forum will know) the children can share their photos via wifi and mirror imaging. It's this sharing and identifying which photos work and why that is powerful learning. This could then be repeated. Short time periods with tasks will help keep the children focused on their immediate learning requirements. Other lesson themes were; rule of thirds, different points of view, using reflections, framing a shot and macro mode.

    Hope this might be of help. Best of luck.

  • jonathan7007 (View all users posts) 18 Dec 2012 9:43am ()


    Great ideas! The viewfinder is super! Kids could glue lines at thirds for one session Black thread?  Some get this best if done with fingers first. Something VERY quick to do, then go out and "see" things. Then shoot.

    Color and then after they have shot a bunch -- at appropriate point -- I will show them RGB color as opposed to yellow-red-blue config that the art teachers work with.But the emphasis is "see" and explain. And redo to make it better. ..and explain again.


    Display will be an issue and I knew that. I do not think there is any hub like an Apple TV at school. Now I have no classroom but have to roll a "cart" from room to room so have to have my own portable hub and sisplay.  Maybe my own Lenovo w520 driving a good 20" 4:3 monitor I had put aside for my tethered shoots.

    Wow, lots to figure out.

    Anyone have experience with such a self contained hub with display?


    Bruce, thank you for your ideas! I hope we can stay in touch. Am I allowed to write out my web site to establish contact and context for my photography work, or do PM here?


  • liz Stevenson (View all users posts) 18 Dec 2012 10:18am ()

    Hi Jonathan

    It would be great if you share your website in here - lucky students to have an experienced photographer for a teacher! I'm wondering if you have to have an internal display? In working with high school photographers I maintain student journals using limited access websites with good photo/video functionality (Weebly is one) and hold virtual exhibitions on Flickr.

    This works well as there is space for the commentary - (catalogue :) In this way, parents and friends can take part in viewing the work and also contributing to the critique. You also have an ongoing evidence base as you have ePortfolios of work (the student journal and the exhibition) if you need it for assessment.

    I hope we get to see your students' work!


  • jonathan7007 (View all users posts) 18 Dec 2012 10:36am ()


    I will look at the Weebly capabilities.I use flickr personally and if the school will allow it I would use that, for sure, as a "display wall". I'd love it if there could be comments but would have to moderate them? I have had a wiki and blog in my fifth grade classrooms and always moderated everything as a precaution. But if we could do the uploads right on the spot I would skip a step. The internal display is for group discussion. I am rolling from room to room.

    For some years the fears for the safety of young students have grown huge here, and especially in my semi-rural area where the Internet experience is limited. The news just gets worse and worse over here. So web initiatives are highly likely to be resisted even if there is no logical connection to the kind of violence we just saw. Liz, would you be willing to let me show what you have been doing to my Principal? Am I alowed in this Forum's rules to ask for this? To share my e-mail?


    Aloha from Hawaii,


  • liz Stevenson (View all users posts) 18 Dec 2012 11:01am ()

    Jonathon - as far as I know, its fine to share your website and email info in here and I'm very happy to share what I can with you and your Principal.

    The student internet saftey questions around web initiatives are an ongoing debate aren't they - one of the ways to help administrators see that there are safe routes is to look at the way we can adjust the permissions to make shared access private. Many of them use secure online banking so this is a good example of the way they probably already use safe technology and the internet to accelerate and improve their own business and communication processes.

    Good luck!


  • Julia (View all users posts) 18 Dec 2012 11:22am ()

    Hi Jonathon,

    My approach was much more that of a teacher of literacy than that of a photographer. My theme was how to use a digital camera to tell a story. I started with prior knowledge - the parts of a story - and moved into how to use a camera to help the audience get the meaning. My goal was "think before you click" and I started "simple" with long shots, mid shots, close ups and camera angles. I also had time restrictions and this lesson plan was squeezed into 6 hours. I overheard lots of student conversations about the correct camera shot/angle when they were making their own digital stories.

    Students watch a student movie

    place the events on a storyline

    create a story board (8 shots only)

    decide on the correct camera shot/angle for each image

    take the photos

    make the photos into a movie.

    After this teacher directed activity, the students then independently created their own digital story - in groups.

    The student movie I used, with the theme of an arm wrestle, came from SchoolTube but I can't find it now. I have uploaded it, with part of the lesson plan onto our school intranet. You can possibly access it here:


    Also, I recommend Jason Ohler for digital story telling. www.jasonohler.com/ if you should take the storytelling approach. 

  • jonathan7007 (View all users posts) 18 Dec 2012 11:54am ()



    Was the movie shown as an "example"? To be emulated more specifically? (# of shots, variation in viewpoint, etc. sort of like a rubric...)

    I had this in mind for a little later in the 14 weeks (estimated) that I have to be with the kids. I have 225 kids to teach, so I have to think bout how to make groupings for these kinds of projects within the classes (about 22 each) that I meet with. Right now I have to engineer a "viewing platform and delivery" system, so that will be my focus for a few days or weeks. I start in mid January. I will have limited support from IT. They are all on vacation now!

  • Julia (View all users posts) 18 Dec 2012 6:37pm ()


    The arm wrestle movie was chosen as an exemplar of how you can turn an idea (arm wrestle) into a story with character development, humour and a surprise ending - elements the students had earlier identified as attractive to their age group. I found it difficult to find a very short movie for them to analyse. That movie really appealed to the 11 yr olds I work with. We didn't analyse it beyond using the storyline to model the process of turning an idea into a short movie. Given the time frame, I had to limit the number of shots they could plan for their own stories.

    My portable solution is AppleTV plus an HDMI projector (like Bruce), but that took time and money. If you can't get sorted with a portable display in time, this iPad mount could fill in to make the iPad look like a mini TV. The mount screws onto a tripod and holds ipads securely.  It's easy to slip one ipad out and the next one in. http://www.makayama.com/moviemount.html  Not an ideal solution for viewing- just one step up from kids holding their ipads up to be viewed - could be a short-term solution.

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