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Resource: Kodak Lesson Plans

A. D. Coleman. Portrait by Willie Chu, © 2010

A. D. Coleman. Portrait by Willie Chu, © 2010

At a “Industry & Education Forum Moderated by Jeff Curto” (including a continental breakfast) on the morning of March 8 at the 2014 Society for Photographic Education in Baltimore last month, I spoke briefly with the Kodak rep in attendance about the “Kodak Lesson Plans” buried deeply at the Kodak site. If Kodak has a genuine interest in photo education, I asked, why are these lesson plans — roughly 200 of them, created by actual teachers for use by other teachers — not foregrounded at the website’s Tips and Projects Center, from which they’re presently inaccessible?

Well, he answered, first of all they’re outdated — solicited from and contributed by educators in the mid-’90s, when Kodak constructed its first company website. Second, many of them involve analog cameras, papers, film, and chemistry, whereas Kodak now emphasizes digital. They’re almost 20 years old; why would teachers want access to them?

Because many teachers still use analog materials, I answered. And many of these plans are adaptable to digital tools. Beyond that, they have historical value, as evidence of ways that teachers from preK-12 through post-secondary and special education worked with photography during the transition period from analog to digital. Finally, I said, teachers, not corporate executives, should decide on the continuing usefulness of this material.

He took my card, promising to look into the matter. Not given to holding my breath, I decided to make the Kodak Lesson Plans more accessible by publicizing them here at The New Eyes Project.

Kodak Lesson Plans logoAt its site, Kodak has organized these plans by subject and grade level. Subjects include Art, Career Education, Community Studies, English, History, Languages, Language Arts, Mathematics, Music, Photography, Science, and Social Studies. Grade levels: Pre-K, Kindergarten, Elementary, Junior High School, High School  Higher Education, and Special Education. These are online as web pages, but you can easily download them and save them as individual PDF files.

The offerings also include two “Teaching Guides,” KODAK Self-Teaching Guide to Using an Adjustable 35 mm Camera and KODAK Self-Teaching Guide to Picture-Taking — modernized versions of their perennial How to Take Better Pictures manuals. They have these online as downloadable PDF files.

Knowing that this useful material could vanish in a trice during a website makeover, we’ve archived all of it in case it goes offline. Meanwhile, however, we’ve simply replicated their menu at a New Eyes Resources page. We’ve also taken the trouble to create downloadable PDF course packs of the lesson plans, organized under the headings Kodak has used.

We encourage you to browse this rich assortment of ideas from your colleagues in education at all grade levels. Don’t just look at those for your subject area and/or grade level; you may find something you could repurpose anywhere in this collection.

I have no idea as to how and when this Kodak Lesson Plans project originated (the plans and manuals are all undated), nor when and why it ended. I suspect that sleeps somewhere in cold storage, part of Kodak’s pre-bankruptcy paper trail. If anyone reading this took part in the program, either from the Kodak end or as a contributor of a plan, please fill in the blanks.

We welcome your comments on this material.

— A. D. Coleman