Engaging Student Social Networks to Motivate Learning: Capturing, Analysing and Critiquing the Visual Image

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Today’s students ‘think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors’. (M.Prensky 2004) This presentation will discuss how we have implemented a unique, innovative and effective model of student-centred learning by offering an experience that directly captures students’ enthusiasm through the use of Web 2.0 technologies. We will describe the teaching approach used, taking into account the digital technology age, the digital camera and the digital student. Meeting the needs of students and the consequence of using an emerging social technology has engendered a spirit that has even the reluctant and less creative student immersing themselves in creative, photographic skills. As many of today’s students are juggling work, study and social life, time and money constraints impact on their learning. The dynamic nature of Flickr has enabled regular and immediate feedback between students and teachers. Students are motivated to reflect, analyse and critique their work, and work of their peers more frequently, establishing a practice of visual literacy skills including image and editing techniques. Students can explore the camera and reflect and develop skills in their own time. The implementation of Flickr has eliminated printing costs and allowed students to take photos, upload and edit their images for sharing and critiquing anytime, anywhere, anyplace. Evaluation so far indicates we have embraced a technology where students can still learn and enjoy photography in a style and mode they regularly use for social networking. Students’ feedback to date highlight reviewing and comparing themselves across the cohort of students with opportunities to critique and be critiqued outside of their class and friendship groups has enhanced their learning experience.


Keywords: Web 2.0, Flickr, Photography, Visual Literacy, Collaboration, Peer Learning, Student-centred Learning
Stream: Creative Arts and Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Engaging Student Social Networks to Motivate Learning


Lynette Zeeng

Lecturer, Faculty of Design, Swinburne University of Technology
Prahran, Victoria, Australia

Lynette lectures in photography in the Communication Design Program. She also teaches into Design lab across all first year disciplines and to Multimedia Post Graduate students. She received her Master of Arts Degree (Visual Communication) from the RMIT University in 1996. Lynette works as a commercial photographer and holds regular seminars for Polaroid Australia on Photographic Art techniques. Her work has earned her several awards including an Honourable Mention in the past two Polaroid International Photography Awards. She is on judging panels for several bodies of professional photography. Lynette's work is exhibited regularly and is widely published in books and magazines, nationally and internationally.

Diane Robbie

Education Development Advisor, Academic Development and Support, Swinburne University of Technology
Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia

Diane’s current role as Education Development Advisor for the Faculty of Design includes developing curriculum that provides creative, flexible, student-centred learning environments employing teaching approaches that promote peer learning and group collaboration. Her research interests include the appropriate uses and implementation of communication technologies in teaching and learning that considers the mobility of learners and the design of their learning spaces. She has over thirty years experience as a teacher in education with the previous ten in academic educational development in Higher Education. Diane has a Master and Bachelor of Education.

Ref: L08P0199