Photography can make a world of difference when it comes to engaging students and families. For one educator, Vidigami has provided a vital connection between students and the broader school community.

Munira Murphy teaches art, drama, and math at St. George’s School in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. And she’s been an avid Vidigami photo-sharer since her school adopted the technology last year.

“I’ve always taken a ton of pictures,” says Murphy. Before Vidigami, Murphy never “had a place to do anything with those pictures,” other than “occasionally sharing them…[in] an update email once or twice a term.” Her photo-curation efforts were manual and often tedious, especially when she had to wade through the thousands of photos archived on her computer.

Murphy and her students recently produced the Junior School performance of “Pirates of the Curry Bean.” “With the play, there’s a huge process that not everybody knows,” explains Murphy. “I always document from the very beginning…using the pictures to inspire the kids who are in the play, to see how great they actually look, and how their characters are coming out, and then promoting it in the school and in the community for them to see. Like a little sneak preview.”

Before Vidigami, the task of sharing production images with the school community was a daunting task. “In previous years, we burned CDs with all the pictures,” says Murphy, “and it was just a nightmare of a task. There are 65 kids in the show!

“So, with Vidigami, it’s just a really easy, natural transition as a place to put them,” continues Murphy, “where they can actually be more publicly celebrated for the fun stuff that’s going on…it was really great to be able to say [to families] ‘All your pictures are on Vidigami.’”

For St. George’s School, Vidigami represents an opportunity to build community. Murphy notes that “everyone knows…that there are good things going on,” but that now parents have a dynamic window into their children’s school experience. The old home-from-school dialogue (“How was your day?” “Whatever, it was fine.”) is now replaced with connection based on shared photos–“That’s a way for parents to have more access to what’s going on in their [children’s] lives,” says Murphy. “Which I know the parents appreciate.”

What’s next for Murphy? Well, helping with the primary musical, for one. But right now she’s prepping with the grade seven teachers for next week’s Wonder Expo, which will showcase the products of the grade seven inquiry project. Murphy expects much parent live-tweeting and photo-sharing on Vidigami (maybe on the new Vidigami mobile application for iPhone and iPad).

Concludes Murphy, “There are so many awesome things going on inside the walls of this school that no one is able to see. [Vidigami] is a really fast, easy way to bring the outside–the families, the parents, the community–into seeing the everyday lives of the students. What a wonderful community-building tool that is!”

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