Fotopedia

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Age Range: 10-adult

Device: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

Quick Line: See the World!

Pictures are worth a thousand words? You bet! This is especially true when teaching about other cultures and locations throughout the world.

Our class is currently studying East Asia, and, as you may have guessed, our textbook is outdated. The world changes so quickly! Enter supplemental materials. Fotopedia is a series of free apps that feature photographs from professional photographers in locations such as China, Japan, North Korea, Paris, Morocco, Italy, and even our own national park system.

Breathtaking is just one word to describe the beauty and depth of some of these pictures. You can click into a slideshow of hundreds, even thousands, of pictures. But my favorite features are the “stories” that were created around a central theme. Take, for example, the infamous leaders of North Korea. Why are they so popular? How did they come to power? What’s it like to live there?

And here lies the foundation of what I teach. I pulled up Fotopedia North Korea, and showed a series of photos of the propaganda littering this secretive country. I was also able to show students what life was really like “behind the veil” as public photos are often staged to promote North Korea’s image. What happened after the viewing? The kids had even MORE questions! It means more work for me, but it also means they are engaged and learning!

Critics complain that there are too few captions, and I would agree. However, guided sets are documented well. I found enough reliable content to support my curriculum. Also, I would recommend previewing the photographs before using them, but so far, I have not found anything objectionable for the upper elementary student.

In addition, I’ve always wanted to use photographs to spark writing! Check out this link to the National Writing Project for additional resources on how to use photos in your writing class.

Price: FREE!

Fotopedia North Korea - Fotonauts Inc.

Thoughts?