Getting your students to write (or speak) can sometimes be a challenge. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, which got me to thinking: Where can teachers find interesting pictures that might prompt students to write or talk. Here are some examples:
Photoshop Contest.com is a website that posts a picture each week for visitors to edit into other pictures. The results can be fascinating. The historical decoder device at right used this picture of typesetter’s letters as a starting point. In addition to generating interesting pictures, trying to tease out which components of the picture are from the original can be an interesting challenge for students.
Worth1000.com is similar to Photoshop Contest with a variety of contests for beginning through advanced photo manipulators. Although the results range in quality and interest, some of the theme categories could generate some interesting writing or discussion. For example, the subjects in Sports Literalisms and Bald Celebrities may not be universally recognized by students, but Unsung Vending Machines and Less Than Usual require no explanation. Some of the Literalisms provide interesting visual examples of idioms and other common English expressions.
Flickr is a very popular photosharing website. And, although the sheer number of photos posted means it takes a little more digging to find them, similarly provocative photos can be found. I often use Compfight.com to search Flickr because it’s very easy to select search parameters like Creative Commons licensed content and Safe Search. Try searching for terms like manipulate, photoshop, and trick to find pictures that have been digitally edited. Some, like the example of the car parked on the street have had no digital manipulation, but there is another trick involved. Can you spot it? Can your students?