Saturday, January 26, 2008

Photosharing and the Classroom

I began to think about how photo-sharing sites could enhance the educational experiences of students. Photosharing sites:

* provide a place for people to post their pictures, and then retrieve them from anywhere (no need to burn pictures to a disk, or email them to yourself)

* allow for ways to organize, classify and collect photos (these can be left in digital albums, or made into tangible products later on)

* open up a world of images – photos can be shared openly with the public, thus providing glimpses of images from around the world

So, with these capabilities, how can we use sites like Flickr or Picasa in the classroom?

Prompted by Arlene’s post “Flickr – Real Life Examples,” I went to read David Jakes’ Classroom Uses of Flickr ( His list is fantastic! He suggests using Flickr: when visual images are required (like a presentation); for image analysis; for creative writing prompts; in digital storytelling; for virtual field trips; to examine geo-tagged images for geography; for visual documentation of student work; to teach about the use of intellectual property, etc.. These suggestions inspire various applications that can be appropriately adapted for use in elementary and secondary classrooms.

I linked to, and found even more resources under “Flickr Sites.”

* I now know Flickr allows students to contribute to the development of online stories about images! They can write storylines in the comment area of each photograph; this is called Flicktion.

* students can subscribe to any Flickr member’s account (called a photostream) through RSS feeds, and be notified when new photos are added

David Gran’s site “U Tech Tips: Tips and Tricks for Educators” also provided suggestions for Flickr applications in the classroom, in Five Fave Functions for Flickr. Why not teach art history by using the photos available on Flickr? Why not let students do creative projects using images from the Creative Commons? More exciting ideas!

Still, one must proceed with caution...

As with any Web 2.0 tool that we intend to use with students, there are some important etiquette, safety, and maturity issues to be addressed. From not giving out personal information, to anticipating a few inappropriate photos which could be stumbled upon, we need to prepare students for the proper use of this tool. Teachers should have a good grasp of its uses before they introduce it into their teaching. However, once they are ready, the sky’s the limit with creative uses to enhance learning!


Arlene said...

Rhonda, The first suggestion on Five Fave Functions for Flickr used this great example for teaching art history. I remember studying this image. A tool like this would have been very helpful for me Oh, the possibilities! Arlene

elizabeth said...

I like Jakes' suggestion to use Flickr for a virtual fieldtrip. What a fabulous, effective, inexpensive way to build background knowledge. Great photos Rhonda!

Val Martineau said...

Hi Ronda:
I like the use of visual documentation of work, allowing parents access to their childs work whenever they like. This would also generate more ownership on the student to have assignments up to their best standards. It would also allow interaction between all parties, parents, students and teachers. Caution and the realization that a student will likely at some point of exploration, will come across an inappropriate picture. The key is to talk to the students about what to do if that happens and how to prevent it from happening again, thus creating another teaching moment on critical thinking.

Great slide show.

Jennifer said...

I wish I was in a classroom again because I get so excited imagining how to use images in my teaching. I imagine having the smart board and being able to really engage in so many things.

I also think about the creative process and sharing and documenting children's work.

It is really powerful!

Yes, we have to do some teaching to do - parents and children. Some great ideas

- Stop, Block and Tell - watch the Frontline Growing Up Online which talks about training kids in Internet safety and protecting them from cyberbullying.