Five-Picture Charades: A Flexible Model for Technology Training in Digital Media Tools and Teaching Strategies

Feb. 25, 2012

Source: Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 12(1), 55-70. 2012
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article presents Five-Picture Charades, an instructional activity designed to introduce preservice and in-service teachers to the technical and pedagogical uses of digital images in the classroom.

The authors discuss instructional strategies emerging from this activity across the content areas.
They also describe ways to relate Five-Picture Charades to lesson planning and curriculum development projects.
One use of the Five-Picture Charades activity is for in-service or preservice teachers to demonstrate procedures for classroom activities, such as science experiments or math projects.
Furthermore, preservice and in-service teachers are more likely to adopt new teaching strategies, particularly those involving technology, when certain conditions exist.
These conditions include personal experiences using particular teaching strategies and technologies, observing the successful experiences of others, and participating in a community of practice centered around experimenting with new ideas.

Preservice and in-service teachers can create their own projects and share them on the internet.
They can also observe the work of other teaching professionals who work with similar students or the same content area.

Additionally, the Five-Picture Charades activity can be taught with many different tools.
Preservice and in-service teachers need to know that
(a) they have options for which media-creation tools they choose to bring into their classrooms, and
(b) the best choice of a tool should be based on what best suits their personal preferences, teaching needs, and available technology.
Each choice of technology also brings with it a set of trade-offs.

The authors also argue that preservice and in-service teachers must have opportunities to plan, implement, and evaluate a Five-Picture Charades activity with a group of students. Following a workshop or class session utilizing the Five-Picture Charades activity, instructors can follow up on this instructional strategy by assigning teachers to complete at least one proof of concept product, such as a humorous edited image or a 30-second video about the student’s family or pet.
These personal projects increase teachers’ motivation to experiment with the tools, lower their barriers of social inhibition, and provide opportunity for differentiation.
Furthermore, digital media projects provide an opportunity to address the entire spectrum of objectives, from cognitive to behavioral to affective.
Once teachers have identified a curricular topic and instructional goals, they can then begin to develop a lesson sequence using their digital media project.
Teachers can anticipate areas where their students might struggle and be prepared to provide scaffolding in the form of help documents, tutorials, FAQ pages, or Internet resources.
The entire design process is iterative—teachers create initial versions of instructional plans and digital media products that are expected to change after implementation.

Finally, the teachers implement the learning activity with at least one group of students, possibly in the context of an enrichment activity or afterschool project.
Teaching the entire process with students will expose any weaknesses in the instructional activity and will help teachers revise their instruction for smoother implementation in the future.
After the initial experience of using digital media with students and learning from their mistakes, teachers will have a set of personal experiences to draw from when planning digital media projects in the future.


The authors conclude that the Five-Picture Charades activity provides teachers with a concrete, manageable example of technology integration that requires teachers to draw upon their content knowledge, pedagogical expertise, and emerging technology proficiencies and attitudes.

Updated: Feb. 08, 2015