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Here is a brief video of our interactive lesson on photogrammetry with a digital anthropology class at The College of New Jersey in Spring 2019. Students worked together to produce two models. Why photogrammetry? Read on below...

Photogrammetry has become the most popular method for producing affordable, rapid, and the detailed 3D models of small and large objects in any given environment. Almost any kind of camera can be used to produce the necessary data to make advanced 3D models which then can be used for a variety of purposes. Archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians are using photogrammetry techniques to preserve, and represent cultural artifacts in digital spaces. Already, many museums are using the technique to produce online 3d artifact collections that interested members of public can view on the web but also in immersive virtual reality spaces.

Beyond museums and academic uses, corporations and businesses are using photogrammetry to build 3D models of products, objects, and architectural spaces that can be experienced and manipulated online. The range of uses for photogrammetry is growing every day.

After reading Pedro Pitarch's amazing ethnography "The Jaguar and the Priest: An Ethnography of Tzeltal souls," I asked my students to create visual representations of Tzeltal Maya souls to spur active learning while raising comprehension of Pitarch's complex work. First, students worked together in groups to summarize and synthesize key the concepts described Pitarch's ethnography. Then, in democratic fashion, they organized their concepts into a visual representation (seen below). 

This learning exercise was necessary, because the Tzeltal (Indigenous Maya) people living in the highlands of Chiapas Mexico have a worldview, ontology, and belief system that is dramatically different from common western perspectives. 

Pitarch describes how Tzeltal people have three distinct kinds of "souls" or animate energy centers that behave differently under varieties of conditions. As a result, the Tzeltal people view and approach the world, sickness, and life in a manner which reflects concern for these spiritual energies found within each person. Learning about this Tzeltal culture and beliefs, helped students appreciate, understand, and value cultural perspectives and ways of life that vary greatly from their own. 

As can be seen in the pictures and video below, my students all had their own perspectives on how Tzeltal souls should be represented.  

Learning together and from each other, The College of New Jersey Students shared their perspectives and collectively produced diagrams in five small groups. These diagrams were transferred from paper to the chalk board for presentation to the class (and for you my readers). The differences and similarities in the diagrams helped students appreciate the complexity of the topics at hand while allowing the class to learn from the differences of perspective that existed in the classroom itself. 

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