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2009/09/02

Blank looks and lots of tech

I stood in front of my students today and talked about composition and diagonal lines; the effect of color and when it is okay to ignore the "rule of thirds". I showed photos and talked about them. During the day I went over the same topics and only a small number of students seemed to have any interest.

Next came the technical stuff. The last portion of my class focused on file formats and image resolution. I talked about JPG files, the limitations of only having 8 bits per color channel, the loss of data for each time the photo is re-saved... I talked about the RAW file format, how it gives the full range of data from the camera but the raw files are not universal and they take up a lot of space. I explained TIF files and ended with the PSD file formats.

Then I asked, "any questions?"

The only sound was the roar of the three box fans in my room trying to keep the temperature from broiling the students.

Not a single question. I know they didn't all get it. I know that they were confused. I also had no idea where to start expanding the explanation without them asking some kind of question. I have been working with digital photography files and Photoshop since the mid-1990s. So much of what I know about this stuff has been gained in little bits and pieces as I have wanted to get more understanding. We are three weeks into the semester and still do not have computers or cameras(with exceptions) for the students, so that means that not only is the material all complicated and new, it is also very abstract. They need to DO, not just have me explain and show them.

The biggest thing is they need to get over their unwritten "code of coolness" that says they are not supposed to ask questions or engage in conversations with the teacher. If they are not going to ask, and I don't know what the point is they have lost me, then I might as well sit and play solitaire. The results will be the same.
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