Create a title or caption for this photo

Course 3, lesson 2, class lesson plan idea:

The first day back to school after all our flood days I’m considering showing this photo to the class with the following information; “This photo was taken from a website containing shared images from the flood.  What title or caption would you give this picture?”

I’m expecting some students will allude to reports that crocodiles escaped from various farms during the flood. I’m hoping some pursue a creative route concerning the flood in general, possibly something like “The flood is knocking on your door.”

Then I’ll ask the class if they think the photo is real.  Eventually I’ll direct them to the website containing many flood images.  On the website under the image I choose is the caption; “It’s not a joke, it’s real. A big crocodile escaped from the farm is knocking the door in the flood. Scaryyy!!”  Then I’ll ask them again if they think the photo is real.  Possibly more will think it is authentic because they see it on a website with a caption underneath.  However, maybe some students will notice that this is one of the few photos that does not credit the photographer.  I am thinking this could lead to a discussion on how they received information about the flood, and how they could be confident it was accurate.  I heard conflicting reports of how many crocs escaped, where they escaped from, and whether people were bitten by crocodiles or not.

Finally, obviously this topic takes us to the common question of how to validate anything we learn online.  There were even reports of 15 venomous Green Mambas escaping form someone’s house during the flood.  Supposedly this information was discovered on Facebook.  The Thai government went to the trouble and expense of having serum imported to the country even though the escape report had not been confirmed.

There are many other interesting images on the website, and I think students might have their own to share.  I think this could be an interesting way to start classes when we finally return!

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3 Responses to Create a title or caption for this photo

  1. Avatar of Trista Trista says:

    What a great image! It’s sure to grab students’ attention and lead to an interesting discussion on media and validity. I’m curious to know how your students went about getting information and what their perceptions are about the information they received throughout this whole ordeal. I found that updates on FB, Twitter #thaifloodeng and Thaivisa were the best sources of information, but again it still involved sifting through information and determining what I felt was a solid source (btw – Hedda made the cut).

  2. Richard, I really like this activity for a number of reasons. In the past, an activity like this was usually done out of context because finding an image that was relevant to a current event or activity was often difficult to do. Now, with the Internet, the images just seem to come to you when the time is right. For example, for a recent photography after school activity I help run there was an expose of pictures that focused on the Thai floods in The Atlantic Monthly (link to theatlantic.com). These pictures are fantastic and helped reinforce the techniques we were teaching (composition, light, perspective, mood).

    I also like this activity because we have all had to write captions for an image and have enjoyed doing it to challenge ourselves and see what other people come up with. But with your version the challenge seems more compelling. Is this real? Should I be worried? How can I confirm or refute the authenticity of this image? A caption can still be written, but now it is timely and it makes one think about how our views can be manipulated by both text and images.

    And it goes deeper still. What forces are out there to try and fool us? Fake websites, false Facebook profiles, and suspect emails are far more common than we’d like to admit. No one likes to be deceived, but just this week a teacher at our school was caught by a spammer after receiving an email about a package being sent to her. It just happened to coincide with her expecting a package from a US university. The spammers had used cookies to collect data and then made some guesses to fool this teacher. The result was that the files on this teacher’s computer all ended up being hidden and had to have some tech support to be found again. Sadly this means we all have to be cautious, but I think your lesson will help your students begin to be a little more careful and critical about what they see on the Internet.

    Love the activity and may share it with some teachers at my school.

  3. Avatar of Jeff Utecht Jeff Utecht says:

    Great image and ditto what Ivan said…thanks Ivan. :)

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