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Idea 22 Mirror, mirror on the wall! Using a digital camera to aid peer assessment

Mirror mirror on the wall: Using a digital camera to aid peer assessment

This project idea was contributed by Katie Broadribb

All of the new GCSE specifications require the use of new technologies to assist geographical investigation, and the following activity could be adapted to the study of any area of geography.


Digital cameras are widely available; the pixel definition continues to grow whilst the cameras themselves continue to reduce in price. The improved quality and capacity of mobile phone cameras has also helped to ensure that taking instant images remains a popular past-time. In this activity the camera is used during the lesson to capture images of students work rather than to bring images into the learning environment from the outside world. Using a camera and a digital projector in this way the teacher is able to display student(s) work for whole class discussion and to aid peer assessment.

Key Objectives

  • To identify areas of success and improvement of a peer’s work
  • To reflect on their own diagram and sketching skills
  • To improve reflection and evaluation skills
  • To take part in discussion and provide constructive feedback to others

Planning the Activity

  • This activity would ideally suit class completion of a diagram, sketch or even part of a formal assessment that has a visual element. For example a diagram of processes, like river erosion or even a concept mapping task
  • An example of a concept map which was completed by year 10 students at the end of a unit of work on coastal processes and management is included with this idea.

Running the Activity

1. This activity should be run in a classroom with a digital projector and PC or laptop. Ensure you have the USB connection lead for the camera. Alternatively this activity can be run without any access to ICT in the classroom. Students work could then be simply be photographed or photocopied after the lesson to be reviewed at a later date.

2. At the start of the lesson explain the lesson objectives and set the task to complete a process diagram or concept map.

3. Get students to identify the success criteria for the piece of work and record these on the board and give a set time to produce the diagram/concept map.

4. During the lesson take photographs of student work during its completion. By connecting the camera to the PC or laptop via the USB port, students work is instantly displayed for class discussion and feedback. Questions to be posed include: Does it meet the task objectives? Is the diagram being developed to include facts, figures, keywords? How can the diagram be improved?

5. Following this review during the lesson students should be encouraged to adapt and develop their diagram further.

6. Finalised diagrams can then be photographed and these images displayed for before/after discussion with the whole class.

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