Bloom-in’ Pixels

One of the challenges we are constantly given as educators is to remember Bloom when planning learning activities. Bloom’s (revised) taxonomy calls inclusion of tasks that promote Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analysing, Evaluating and Creating. The use of Digital Images can support teachers taking on the challenge.  Most of what is necessary to incorporate this into the classroom is more than likely already in the school, and a lot if it is available for free on the web.  Listing ideas on the use of Digital Images is like the proverbial piece of string, so this article limits each list to a 123 – readers can add their own tuppence worth in reply…and following in the spirit of the previous article, ‘free’ is highlighted as much as possible!


Where to source good quality free Digital Images


  1. Google Images – Quantity trumps quality here, and for better results in context used advanced search options.
  2. Flickr – Quality is quite amazing. A recent search for images for refraction in Physics turned up the gem pictured here…
  3. NCTE’s ImageBank – New source. Most useful for sourcing images set in Irish context.

Terms and conditions: watch out for copyright warnings, and always quote sources. Discuss the importance of this with students also.


Free software to use for dealing with digital images
  1. Picasa – store, sort, edit, present, upload.
  2. Digital Camera software – on the CD that came with the school digital camera (if you can find it). Some have very good features. Let the students play with it and enjoy the results.
  3. Image resizer One example is this drag ‘n drop one that sits on the computer desktop to use for instant results.


Free software to use for storytelling with these images offline
  1. Picasa – create collages with one click, create simple movies very quickly. Intuitive.
  2. What’s already in the PC? Give credit where it’s due – Microsoft has got some things very very right –MovieMaker2 and PhotoStory3 to name but two. Also it’s time to reclaim the true value of PowerPoint Shows – creating stories with digital images, animation and sound combined.
  3. DVD / TV. Probably the simplest way to tell a story – burn a series of students’ school images to DVD and let it run on the largest TV or screen you can find. Who is not fascinated by watching for themselves to appear?


Free software to for storytelling with these images online
  1. Picasa Web albums – create, name and upload (school AUP rules allowing).
  2. School website – if it’s there and ready, why not use it to showcase student work?
  3. Online projects hosting sites – try Blogger21 ClassesE-twinning among others.


‘Stuff’ needed to generate digital images
  1. Scanner – digitize paper images.
  2. Camera(s) – no matter how many or few megapixels the school camera has, use it to record students’ work. A good camera can double as a super fast scanner – take pictures of pictures! (BTW, school rules allowing it, some of the best quality cameras may be in the students’ pockets these days).
  3. Cards & card readers – media cards have become cheaper with time, and can hold a lot of large pictures and video. The USB multi-card reader can be a good investment for smart transfer of images from camera to computer.


‘Stuff’ to optimize the use of these digital images in the classroom
  1. Computer(s)
  2. LCD projector
  3. Internet connection

These are perhaps the most difficult items upon which to comment – there is no one size fits all, and Santa probably won’t bring anything new to this section. So we use what we have as best as we can for now.


Habits to develop
  1. Save – back up your images to the school network, or a USB key, or CD or somewhere safe – if not you will be sorry. You have been warned!
  2. Rename – batch rename is one of the useful tools in Windows – highlight a bunch of images files, right click, type in their new collective name, and Bingo, the whole batch is renamed and numbered at once.
  3. Resize – the settings on most cameras allow very large pictures to be taken. This is good for high quality printing, but NOT good for inserting or uploading to project work. Use an image resizer, either in the camera software, or a freebie from the web.


Ideas for using all these digital images in the classroom


1. ‘Blooming’ class work
a.    Remembering – the visual learner needs images to help with memory and can best answer a test or quiz question that presents a visual clue to the answer. (Think of table quizzes and the extra buzz during the picture round!)
b.    Understanding – some learners can read plain text about a topic for ever without a jot sinking in, but show them just one relevant picture and the penny drops. Check for understanding by asking learners to compare images.
c.    Applying – ask the students to choose images that best convey their message and demonstrate their understanding, or to create a model from an image.
d.    Analysing – present the student with images and ask them to tell the story of what they see therein; use an image to prompt an investigation or research.
e.    Evaluating – images can be used to prompt argument and debate (see ‘can an insect eat a bird?’ here). Students can be helped to practice their critical and persuasive skills using appropriate and current real-life images from the media.
f.    Creating – Digital image work really comes into its own at this level. Students work to create and present games, art work, media articles, web articles…

2. Homework, reporting & coursework
Images can enhance all students work. Images can enhance a student’s homework, projects, coursework and reporting at all levels. The NCCA has some ideas on its website. Hopefully in the future credit for this might be included in SEC marking schemes.

3. Connecting with the real world
Getting students engaged and involved with their own school website and school newsletter can be easier when they are invited to present images and stories of their own making. Representing their school in projects like e-twinning can be very rewarding for both teacher and students.

(PS – caveat: because it’s what the author  uses, all references in this article here are to planet PC. Mac world please excuse or add alternative suggestions as comments here below).
So fellow educators – how do you use digital images with your students? Answers on the digital postcard just here below…

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