Photo Displays at Valencia High School

Joshua Song

Arguably, some of the classes most affected by the quarantine and distance learning are the arts classes. Because art is collaborative by nature, the inability to actively share and critique one another’s works has become a great hindrance to how the class is run. At least one of the teachers at Valencia High School has found out a way to get around this issue: by utilizing Padlet to showcase each others’ art to other people.

Padlet is an online platform that is useful for sharing information in large interactive groups. It is often used by teachers to create short assignments where the students post various responses to a prompt or topic. Various types of things can be uploaded onto Padlet including text, photos, and video. Throughout the quarantine, several teachers have been using Padlet to do assignments that benefit from a degree of collaboration. 

The teacher of focus in today’s article is Mr. Casey Riggs, who teaches photography at Valencia High school. Mr. Riggs usually displays the artworks of his students online in the hallways outside of his classroom so that passerbyers can observe and enjoy the photos that his own students have taken. This aspect of his class has been quite important in Mr. Riggs class, as many of the students within his class enjoy having their own works displayed to the public, and Mr. Riggs himself likes the aspect of showing the school community the great works that his class has done. The beautiful framing and calmness in the photos also provide a nice distraction from the chaos that is the current world. 

A great benefit to doing such displays online instead of in person is that the photos are much more accessible to everyone, even those who do not attend classes in the building where photography is taught. Mr. Riggs first started using Padlet as a tool to show students of different periods of his photography what the other students were exploring with photography. He found this to be a great method of sharing works with other people. Inspired by this, he decided to create a student work Padlet (https://padlet.com/criggs5/kguzr1jyfb4ckdvz) with the hope of sharing the work with more people in the school community, including students and staff. The link for the student Padlet was emailed off to the entire staff last week (as of September 24, 2020), with plans to have it periodically updated and sent out throughout the year. 

A cursory look at the contents of the Padlet exposes the many great works that have come out from the students within the class. Many of these pictures seem to exude a friendly and calming emotion to the observer, and do not look like the work of high school amateurs who are taking a photography class. This speaks to the great photography programs and teachers that Valencia High School provides, and hopefully this exposure to students in the school community can attract more and more individuals to the wonderful art of taking photographs.

As the school year goes on, it is expected for this format to be the new way of sharing projects, even as the quarantine and lockdown subsides, as it would allow many more people to see and explore the world of photography while enjoying the works of many fellow students that are currently enrolled in the program.