Photoshop Clubs usually share a basic structure. There is need for a gallery, discussion boards and forums peopled with characters. They may wish to remain anonymous by displaying an avatar as a signature. These portals are easy to create and not too time consuming to manage if they are well planned from the outset. The benefits of this kind of learning can be quite profound.
Safety Procedures for Online Sharing of Content
Clubs can be locked to protect the privacy of the students. Digital space may be limited so that students are encouraged to be selective when uploading their work. This needs to be selective as it may cause students to develop a sense of discernment when learning about design.
A moderator can be appointed who will take material offline if it is inappropriate and does not comply with the rules of the club.
Feasibility Study to Ascertain Workability of Project
Although the idea is a good one, setting up the club may be time consuming. There is a need for some basic equipment if the club is to function.
Any school that has unlimited access to Photoshop on all computers is in an ideal position to create such a club free of charge.
There would need to be:
- support from administration
- at least one teacher who has the passion to manage the learning environment
- keen students, some of whom have at least basic skills with the programme so that they can be role models and lead the way
- access to a scanner or digital camera (although students could download images from online if they needed to, as by the time they have been altered they will no longer break copyright)
- a free social network tool such as Ning (social network tool) or WetPaint (wiki tool)
Characteristics and Benefits of Photoshop Clubs
A Photoshop Club can be structured so that it is a gathering place on line. So that the work keeps flowing and that students are learning and upgrading techniques, regular challenges are given out to participants. This provides the space and focus to motivate students.
Learning Photoshop via an online streaming vignette works well for many students. The amount of time required for students to complete the exercises demonstrated on WatchandLearnphotoshop.com is not too great. This is, of course, unless the students are highly motivated to extend their knowledge and mastery. If this happens and the students become engaged, they can extend the challenges, test the limits and hone their skills to a very highly polished degree.
Creating an Online Gallery of Images
As the students improve their ability to manipulate images and they develop their skills and sense of design, a fantastic gallery of images will evolve.
Not only can the students monitor their own improvement, but the school will benefit from a growing library of images to act as an image bank, relevant to the school culture. There will be a fondness for the material because the images would be owned by the student and teaching community.
Others could commission images and set challenges that will directly meet the needs of the school population. A promotions committee designed to publicise the school would be of particular benefit.
As the examples are loaded into the gallery, students will be able to see a wide range of styles, thought processes and artistic inspirations that can be stimulated by one simple question.
Once the community begins to understand the benefits of the venture, the learning culture of the school is expected to flourish. The bank of useful, local images is expected to attract an audience to further enhance feedback and participation.