Technology & Learning, October 2001

Here’s a project that artfully blends the old and the new to create a fun and educational multimedia experience.

Ask students to bring old family photos that may be tucked away in the attic or in photo albums. Emphasize that they need to be photos that evoke a bygone era—prior to World War II, for example. Have the students ask their parents, grandparents, and others for these photos. Also, tell the students to search for photos of different subjects—people, places, automobiles, etc. Photos taken from a single geographic area (such as the town in which you are located) are even better.

Once the photos have been collected, students can learn how to scan, save, and manipulate the images online. Depending upon the students’ age and the availability of technology, students can explore cropping, coloring, and numerous other forms of electronic manipulation. It is even possible for students to add words or animation to the scanned images, such as a flashing red light atop a photo of an old fire engine.

Students also should research the things that are shown in the pictures. Research may include interviews with people in the photos (or people who knew those people) and reading old newspapers from the community. Even a visit to a local historical society might be arranged.

Finally, instructors must help students organize the information and photographs online. A virtual photographic exhibit can be created and shared with the entire community.