First Grade Photographers: Solving the “iPads on Study Trips” Dilemma

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-4-02-35-pmPersonal digital tools have opened up a plethora of creative possibilities for HSE’s youngest learners this year. Among them is the ability to document discoveries on class study trips (aka, field trips). Instead of just telling mom or granddad what we learned at the farm, we can now take photos, record audio, and research our wonderings on the spot – then share everything we learned with friends and relatives! And yet…for six-year-olds, some study trips just don’t lend easily themselves to carrying iPads around all day. What’s a 21st-century educator to do?

Mrs. Vogel, first grade teacher Sand Creek Elementary, has come up with a splendid idea for these hike-intensive adventures: Study Trip Photographers! SCE’s first grade team had two study trips planned this fall, both of which would [and did] require lots of walking. In fact,  last week’s trip to Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve involved hiking through muddy and swampy woods – not the place to drop an iPad (even one in a protective case)! Instead of having every student carry their iPad on the two fall study trips, though, Mrs. Vogel had designated trip ‘photographers’ – five students who brought their iPads and were responsible for documenting the day’s learning with media. Each study trip had different photographers; by year’s end each student in Mrs. Vogel’s class will have had the opportunity to play this role.

Once back at school, trip photographers worked together in a small group (with adult assistance) to combine their images and produce one class movie of the adventure. Both fall trip flicks have been shared online and have been a catalyst for continued learning. The Ritchey Woods study trip production is shared below.

Note:  Yes, Mrs. Vogel did hang onto the iPads through the swamp – but instead of 28, she only had to carry 5!