Microsoft partners in Learning_AutoCollage_50_ImagesIn my last post I described a simple walkthrough of AutoCollage and how to create a photo collage. Now lets look at some ways of how you can use AutoCollage to allow your pupils and students to describe and communicate their thinking and ideas through images.

One obvious use is to create collages from all the photos that teachers and students take of their learning. So, instead of having many separate photos, you can have one or two showing lots of different activities. This is very useful when communicating events such sports days and other whole school events. Primary teachers have expressed the view that this is saving them an absolute fortune in printer ink, as they can produce a whole classroom  experience in one image and this is great to share with parents.

This idea can be extended to school websites and portals, BECTa advise that schools should ‘consider using group photos rather than photos of individual children’ . This can easily be achieved using AutoCollage, negating the need to organise pupils and students into groups, having to stage photos and interrupting learning activities.

An image collage can reflect the ‘energy’ of an event. Look at this example of 50 images taken from over 300 photos of our Innovative Teachers Forum held in December, I think it captures the essence of the day more than a gallery or slide show of images would. Imagine what it could do for your whole school events such as fetes and sports days.

This is using  AutoCollage for what it was designed for, as a tool for displaying photos, but, where it can have real added value, is for teachers to view AutoCollage as a tool for digital story telling.

This can be done by creating specific activities that challenge students and pupils to record their learning and communicate their ideas , using just images. This is a lot more difficult than it first seems. Especially if you only use a limited number of  images to create work. This encourages students to really think about the images they need to record for their stories. So, when the collages are ‘read’ by the audience, they should get an idea of the theme, idea or emotion that the student who created it was trying to convey. This can be a very powerful way to develop thinking skills and emotional intelligence.

Using the manual facial recognition option, to highlight a specific area of an image, students can use images of objects to create collages. This is particularly useful in Science, Religious Education and History, subjects where artefacts are a valuable learning tool. Students can take images of objects that belong to a particular group such as invertebrates that are insects, and compare that collage with another collage of a group such as arachnids. Or religious artefacts seen in a church compared with that of a mosque, or even to document the artwork of particular artist. I sure you are be able to think of other learning opportunities where creating collections with AutoCollage would be useful.

AutoCollage also makes a great tool for creating pupil/student portfolios of achievement, collections of photos taken by students of their learning over a term, year or even their whole school life can be combined into a collage. Creating a unique record of their learning achievements. If you are looking for a way to record student progress in Physical Education, then AutoCollage is a great way to document their activity in such a wide range of activities.

Finally, think about using AutoCollage with other applications. Putting a collage image onto a PowerPoint slide, then creating clickable hotspots with callout text boxes allows students to add text and information to their collage. But, if you are looking for a real challenge how about combining AutoCollage, with Deep Zoom Composer to create complex multilayered collage.

I hope these two workshops have highlighted the versatility and suitability of AutoCollage’s use in the classroom and have given you some ideas of how to use this great application in the classroom. If you have any ideas that you would be happy share with us, then let us know, for example check out Mike McSharry’s blog for some more help notes on how to use AutoCollage.