Friday, March 14, 2014

Evolution of Tennis

So an interesting thing happened in Round 2 of Photoshop Tennis.  My students had enjoyed the first round so much that I started them off with another picture (taken by one of the students during a field trip):
Sapsucker Woods

The rules were the same although I encouraged them to think a bit more about how they were implementing their changes:

  • Use Photoshop to edit the picture
  • Don't change the resolution
  • Upload the new image
  • Repeat
I was hoping that after the first round of Photoshop Tennis (PT) that students would get more creative with their edits and try out new techniques...and I was not disappointed.  The first student who jumped in made this edit:

By itself, this was a great idea and really did blend well with the original image.  But the student came in the next day and immediately jumped in again, not satisfied with his previous post, to create this:

It was a subtle change -- a reflection in the water of the eagle.  That simple change made his idea much more believable.  Plus, he had taken his work home with him (something I'm constantly trying to make happen).  This is kind of a big deal.

Getting an assignment to move beyond the confines of the classroom is a tricky, yet essential task.  Teachers want their students to internalize the material so it can be applied later.  We want students to attach meaning to their work and in doing so, find new and novel ways to express themselves.  

Here's the final image from the PT round:

Looking at only the first and last pictures, it's impossible to understand the evolution of the final image.  There were about 20 pictures along the way and each step was necessary to get there.  Sometimes there were major changes, but the most powerful changes seemed to be the most subtle-- a slight change in the way a reflection was placed, bringing down the contrast, adding a blur, all in the name of making a more believable scene (regardless of the absurdity).  Moreover, the students were policing themselves during the game -- if a student inadvertently changed the resolution in their edit, the next student fixed the error (and explained why they needed to).  

But I keep coming back to that initial change- adding a reflection.  It set the tone for everyone else in the group-- step up your game and have some serious fun!  Don't just cut and paste -- think and create.

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