Sunday, August 28, 2011

Children and Tech Series - Post #8

flickr – communicating with images

Continuing my exploration with Flickr was a pretty interesting experience. I took some photos, and uploaded other photos of mine that I thought captured a little of what we were after – a child’s perspective and a child’s sense of why and how we capture images.
In reading Sharples article – I found it profoundly interesting that children were discovered to have completely different values around images, image making, and authentic photography. This quote from the article talks about how, like in drawing and writing “…children develop their own distinctive content and styles of representation that are not simply immature adult forms, but are signs of their abilities, interests, concerns and perspectives…” also in photography (Sharples, p2). Over and over again, it is clear that we short-change children’s understanding and like to believe that they are far less sophisticated and complex thinkers than they actually are.

I vaguely remembered reading on an ece blog about children taking photographs, and having a particular perspective. I was able to dig back and find it on Allie’s blog Bakers and Astronauts – After that blog post, she began to post kids photos regularly, and their visualizing was always really incredible. Examples – here, here, and here , and then Allie led me to this site – where a four year old (well, now she’s seven) named Adie is documenting herself with her Polaroid camera.

Really thought provoking stuff. How does documenting your experience change that experience? Having gone through times in my own life where I needed to document my work or experience because of archiving needs or artistic vision, I have thought a little bit about what looking through a lens at the world, or even just thinking about looking through a lens at the world, does for reflection/self-reflection/overthinking. I think I captured the whole spectrum there in that last bit! With photos, we can reflect images back at the world; reflect on our own vision, mind, thoughts; and we can get stuck in a place of too much reflection, where we are too critical and pick it all apart.

The apparent flexibility of digital media helps with all of this – upload, edit, change, archive, archive editability…the mutability of documentation, where we used to RECORD events for permanent perpetuity. I say apparent flexibility, because I’m unsure about that flexibility. I have a nagging suspicion that once you upload something to the Internet it’s there forever, whether you change it or not…archiving gone wild. The communicating/community building aspects, however, are really interesting. Flickr allowing you to connect with contacts to see their photos and ‘stories’ and ‘lives’ is an amazing feature.

I am so fascinated by the idea of using digital media to promote self-reflection in young children. And this leads me to my last thought for this post – a response to Jason’s suggested thinkings. How early is too early for children to interact with these kinds of technology? A googlesearch on the topic calls down an avalanche of conflicting opinions …don’t expose your kids to computers, get them in early, introduce them along with other tools of expression like pencils and paper and crayons…there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer. I myself feel like at least limiting screen time for at least the first two years might be a good idea…

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