Slaughter's Tech Moment

Thinking About Photographs

Thinking About Pictures

In a previous Tech Moment, we looked at how photographs can bring a discussion to a deeper level. Some questions to incorporate for more profound thinking:

What do you notice about this photo? Why do you believe the photographer decided to shoot this photograph in this way? Why do you think the photographer chose that lighting or that color? What emotions does this photograph invoke? What significance does this photo bring to the message the author is trying to convey? Why did the photographer focus on this? How would the message change if the photograph had been ...?

We have also looked at using photographs and other visual media as a way to prompt storytelling, which again helps students to be able to consider visual media in a deeper way and develop an idea of what could be happening. Here is the link to that Tech Moment.

I challenge teachers to try using the Question Formulation Technique with photographs as another possible way to get students to look deeper. Once teachers have begun developing this way of thinking in students, then they can start challenging students to think about attributes of photos as they choose media for their projects and presentations.

A picture can be worth a thousand words, and if students learn this, it can have a profound effect on the message they are delivering to an audience.

Photos for Class

If you are looking for a safe place for students to search photos for projects, then Photos for Class is a great place to start.

The site boasts

  • age appropriate images
  • automatic citations
  • Creative Commons images

When searching for images on Google, teach students to use the search tools. They can search by size, color, and type. Students can check usage rights as well! (Digital Citizenship!)

Editing and Creating Magic!

Be Funky

This site can be used by students to create graphic designs, collages, and edit the look of a photo to help bring the meaning they needing for the message they are creating.

Pic Monkey

Similar to Be Funky, Pic Monkey has a few differences and gives students some different options in text and design.

Nik Collection

Google has now released Nik Collection for free. These desktop plug-ins provide users with powerful photo editing capabilities and advanced techniques to create award-worthy art and photography for presentations. Check out the press release and some great examples of what can be done with the Nik Collection.


Pixiclip is a web-based interactive whiteboard. It allows users to create drawings, screencasts, and more to use and share with others. Users can type, narrate, video themselves creating and drawing. Upload pictures into the interactive space to be even more creative with existing media.

The possibilities are endless for how teachers and students can incorporate this into projects. Some examples:

  • create images for presentations
  • storytelling
  • flipping a lesson
  • providing feedback through the Learning Management System
  • create book trailers

I have included Pixiclip as an example of how students can think outside the box and create a message for an audience. It is still important to ask students questions about the photos they have chosen to include. Draw out deeper thinking concerning media usage and how it can drive a point home.


Microsoft Publisher can be used to layer text and images to create graphic designs. Group the layers and save as a jpg or png and you have a great graphic that can reflect the meaning you are trying to convey.

Publisher is my go to for many projects! Google Drawing is a great alternative to Publisher.

Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck is a great web application for teaching students to streamline their presentations. The whole, "less is more" adage plays in the templates and advice through this site. Students learn to focus on the images and text to create meaning and purpose to their message, and users can easily share presentations.


Reel allows users to upload images, PowerPoints, and Pdf's to create an online presentation that is given a distinct URL. This means your audience does not have to have PowerPoint or Adobe programs to open presentations. There is no downloading on the users end, so presentations can be easily seen.

Some Great Examples of Students Using Pictures!

Kenneth's "I am From" Poem

Check out a great leader in Media Literacy and what he is doing with his students!