When I look back at all the crap I learned in high school, its a wonder I can think at all – Paul Simon, Kodachrome


Images. I love images. I like to pretend like I’m an amateur photographer. I even did a weekly photo challenge thing for awhile.  Then life caught up with me and I let it drop.  Maybe again someday in the future.

I thoroughly believe that images play a major role in our learning and studies like this one show how images quickly become representative of places and ideas in our brains.  So why don’t we use more images in the classroom?

Challenge accepted.  We have a weirdish schedule this year that includes a rotating Wednesday with 50 minute classes instead of the usual 90 minutes we have on other days.  So I decided to use the time a little differently.  I was inspired by this guy and his use of SOLE (Student Organized Learning Environment).  I’m not quite to the full level yet, but I like the ideas.  So I tweaked it a little bit and here’s what we did in class today.

The students loved the idea of working with images.  They weren’t exactly keen on the assignment as a whole, but we’re negotiating on that point and we’ll get it smoothed out soon.  There was definitely a buzz when they opened up the image for the first time.  Several of them commented on how cool it was and followed the link to the photographers site to browse the other pictures and find a few that they liked as well.

Student Work
Forgive the formatting, they were working on a tight schedule. They had a good time explaining why they found these interesting.


As I said, the assignment needs some work, but the outcomes were fantastic.  The kids learned a lot in a short amount of time and it led to an awesome discussion.  One student had been home to China over the summer and told us about the difference in images and reporting about these events that were being shared through their media.  I couldn’t have asked for a better accident.

Hopefully the use of images in the classroom that stir conversations like these and the constant tweaking of lessons via student feedback will keep them from adopting Mr. Simon’s song as their theme.

1 Comment

  1. Brandon Hoover says:

    Thanks for sharing this assignment, Ryan. It looks like it’d be a fun experience for everyone and could really spark conversations and deeper thinking than what you’d get from just reading text based on the revolution. Our students surely can also relate to the power of communication via imagery with the rise of the meme. They’re such a fascinating take on how people can convey different meanings with the same image.


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