“GIGO” – is one of those phrases left over from the early days of computing as an abbreviation for “Garbage In – Garbage Out”. It means that the final outcome is only as good as the inputs that were used to create it. This certainly applies to the ITGS project.

For the  ITGS product this means striving for quality in:

  • the overall design of the product whether it be a website, database, published document or any other product
  • the content – the textual information, images, audio tracks, video, animations, podcasts.

Images are certainly important in ITGS projects. In most cases it takes the same amount of time to take a good image as a bad image. The difference is often being familiar with a few simple rules.

The most important one isthe rule of thirds“. It is one of the simplest rules for students to “get right”. The “rule of thirds” is based on aligning objects on a “tic-tac-toe” grid along the lines or at the intersection of the lines. Both of the links above demonstrate how to use the rule of thirds and with some modification.

The best video explaining the rule of thirds can be found on the free tutorial webpage offered by Atomic Learning. It demonstrates clearly the importance of the lines and the points of intersection on the grid.

When students understand how the “rule of thirds” works, they need practice in identifying how the rule of thirds is actually used in photos. One of the  most striking set of photos for this purpose was just published today – Audio slideshow: the Human Planet by Timothy Allen. They are perfect for analyzing how the photographer used the “rule of thirds” and they will also generate lots of discussion about about world cultures.

The next step – Practice. With some simple guidelines on lighting, shadows and actually “seeing” what the lense sees, the students are ready to take some sample photographs of their own. One of the most effective ways is to organize a short “Photowalk”. This means walking as a group through a particular part of the city with each student having a camera either on their cellphone or digital cameras.  The students can take a wide range of photos of buildings, people and whatever they see that interests them. It also means that students will take photos of some of the same objects from different angles allowing for comparisons about how the “rule of thirds” was followed. It is advised that students turn on the “grid” feature on their digital cameras for taking photos.

If any of the students enjoy the photowalk, they may wish to become involved in the annual Scott Kelby Worldwide PhotoWalk that is held each year or follow the Scott Kelby blog. However, the major outcome is an overall improvement in the quality of the images that students include in their ITGS projects.