Everyone One Can Create Workshop Series: Photography

As part of the Brent Apple Regional Training Centre work this year I partnered with James Fraser from Elsley Primary School in Brent to present a hands-on workshop all about using Photography in the classroom.

The session was designed to build skills and confidence of educators to use Apple technology inside and outside the classroom. We shared some of our best practices and hopefully inspired the educators with ideas to take back to their settings.

This is the story of the event.


Everyone Can Create logo

This course is inspired by the Everyone Can Create Resources from Apple: https://www.apple.com/uk/education/k12/everyone-can-create/

The resources cover topics such as Music, Drawing, Video and the focus of today, Photography. They are designed to enrich creative skills with iPad and help to establish a plan for integrating creativity into the curriculum. It is our belief that everyone should have the skills across different mediums to become the next generation of innovators, artists and creators. So we always begin with a question:

What does creativity look like in your classroom?

Words such as freedom to express, freedom to explore and freedom to experiment were common responses, but more than that creativity gives the individual a chance to think differently, develop confidence and respond. To prove that everyone is an individual we asked the delegates to complete the first photography activity.


Workshop Task 1: Photography Something Familiar

This first activity immediately gets delegates moving, understanding that the device is truly mobile. By opening the camera and looking around the room people began to find interesting things to photograph. A lantern. A web-cam. A spoon.

The resulting images allowed us to talk about the importance of supporting our young children with how to take photographs so that they are meaningful, well-framed and ultimately capture what we see with our own eyes. The collection also highlighted our individuality in the room.


A selection of photographs.

To further explore how we all see the world so differently we then explored our object in greater detail. Using the camera we took a new set of photographs looking at different angles, creating light sources and getting close up to our object. We began to explore creatively how we can move around an object to give a new perspective.


6 pictures of a science model from different angles.

In some instances our photographs or inanimate objects suddenly had a life of their own. Can you see the character coming out of the photography in the image below?


The image of a lantern from above giving the impression of a face.

Use a tool called Markup we can bring that character out even more. In Photos you simply click 'Edit' then choose the little pen tool to open up the pens, highlights and pencils which will help you create your character. Just click done when you are done.


Four images to show how to edit and use markup

But what did you see in the lantern?

A clown?

A horror mask?

A snowman?

The beauty of markup is that everyone has the chance to see something different. Isn't that a wonderful assessment opportunity? So, the key question is, why does this skill matter? What will we do with it?

The delegates at the RTC session came up with so many reasons as to why marking up a photograph could be useful. For example, in science investigations you could capture a moment of change, impact or explosion and annotate what is happening on to the photograph. You could find shapes in the local environment and use Markup to draw the outline of each shape. You could photograph landmarks and use markup to write adjectives or facts for future writing.

Taking photographs of everyday objects helps pupils develop observational skills and find beauty in the details. Using Markup then helps us to see things differently, capture moments, explain our thinking and ultimately tell our stories creatively.

It also provides quick ways to share important information as we discovered recently when we were looking at the potential impact of a building project on our school site. The map helped the school, builders and local authority to discuss the issues around the proximity of the building to our playground.


Anson Primary School - Satellite Plan with Building Site

Couldn't a Markup activity like this help children understand the local area or plot their route to school? How about it helping pupils annotate texts and highlight key vocabulary? Markup could provide a way to peer edit a piece of work without placing marks all over the original?

Could it form a display all about what makes each pupil special in your class?


During the meeting we also discussed how the camera can be used creatively. The new features in iOS 16 allow you to grab objects from photographs so you can easily remove backgrounds. This means that composition projects can be easily put together. How about creatively reworking the cover of Oliver Twist? In the image below the arms and bowl have been highlighted ready to copy into a Keynote file.


An image highlighting the ability to isolate objects and copy them in Photos.

The resulting image combines drawing, photography and text to recreate the book cover.


A reworked cover of Oliver Twist.

Other ideas explored included slow motion and time-lapse filming each of which we saw used to great effect in science to capture changes over time such as shadows and plant movement.

However, we finished with the panorama setting. This part of the camera functionality allows us to capture a wider image. It is great for landscapes, capturing the whole class or creating interest stories.

In the picture below the teachers were challenged to retell the main parts of a story by creating four key scenes. These key scenes were then captured using the panorama feature. Can you guess which classic fairytale has been captured by the teachers?


If you said Little Red Riding Hood, then you were wrong. Of course in the first pose, Jack is selling the cow at market. In the second pose Jack is watering the seeds. The third pose has Jack looking up at the gigantic plant in his garden while the final pose sees him coming face-to-face with the giant. It is, of course, Jack and the Beanstalk.

The first workshop explored possibilities and delegates were challenged to see if they could use photography in the classroom before the next workshop and share their ideas in the Apple Education Community.

In January our attention turns to drawing.

1 reply

February 02, 2023

Thanks for sharing this story of learning and creativity, Simon! The possibilities of the camera are so wide-ranging across the content areas.

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