Monday, January 14, 2008

Picture Yourself Using Flickr in the Classroom - Part 1

Over the next few months, I will be presenting Flickr as both pre-conference workshops and breakout sessions at the 19th Annual Southwest Education and Technology Conference and the 25th Annual Midwest Education Technology Conference. I have submitted my proposals, they have been accepted and I have updated my wiki page with photosharing resources. I have even linked the new Online Photo Sharing in Plain English video from Common Craft which I found out about “hot off the presses” since I follow Lee LeFever on Twitter. After spending last week in a variety of workshops, presentations and meetings across all grade levels I started to mull over some of the questions I always get when I present online Web 2.0 tools: Is it safe for my students to engage? How does this fit my GLEs for NCLB, objectives or curriculum? Who has time to come up with this stuff? When will I have time to do this, too? Why would I want share myself with the world that way? So to help myself and the Ya’Buts in my upcoming sessions, I decided highlight in some very concrete ways (I hope) Flickr can be used for Grades K-5 students, Grades 6-8 students and Grades 9-12 students. Now, I know this isn't an original idea, but it is already helping me to reorganize massive amounts of information and ideas to support using Flickr in schools. I plan to share this in 3 parts. There will obviously be some overlap and this will most likely result in a revamping of my wiki resources, but why not. That’s what makes using my wiki as a dynamic handout so great.

Flickr has so many creative and exciting uses for the K-12 classroom for teaching visual literacy and digital storytelling skills. Flickr is an online community composed of user-generated content and when using Flickr with students it is important to review applicable Internet safety procedures before interacting with whole Flickr community. Flickr’s content filters and Safe Search settings as well as a user-side rating system for flagging and filtering out potentially controversial photos help to make it a relatively secure environment for students of all ages to explore and interact with digital images. Flickr can be place for students to learn about using social software constructively. Since Flickr embodies so many Web 2.0 characteristics, students can become familiar with concepts such as intellectual property and Creative Commons licensing, tagging and folksonomy, social networking, blogging, discussion groups and interactive hypertext mapping. Interaction with the Flickr community can and definitely should be tailored depending on the age of the students, but some comfortable level of use is available for all K-12 students.

Flickr in Grades K-5
To provide the highest level of security for younger students, create a unique Yahoo! ID and Flickr class account. Do not use your personal Yahoo! e-mail account. Simply create a new Yahoo! ID and set up a Flickr account. Flickr authenticates through Yahoo, therefore students will sign in using the Yahoo! ID and password that corresponds to the Flickr class account. A free Flickr account will allow you to upload 100MB worth of photos each calendar month, display the most recent 200 photos and create 3 sets. A Flickr Pro account costs $24.95 (U.S.) per year or is free if you have AT&T Yahoo! service.
• Students will interact with the class account only and will explore within the boundaries of the account using a shared username and password. A drawback to one account is that students cannot login simultaneously from different workstations, but many activities could be done as a group on an interactive whiteboard. If you are working with very young students, you may not want to share the Yahoo! ID and password and will just sign in for the students when they need to access the account.
• To provide some individuality within the photostream, have students tag their images with a personal tag. Either assign individual identifiers or have them choose their own. Best practice is not to use their first and last names. You might have them use their initials or a code name or number that you assign, i.e., S1, S2, S3 for Student 1, Student 2, Student 3, etc.
• A Flickr class account will be used primarily for uploading original student photos. Students might also bring in digital images for particular projects/assignments that could be uploaded to the class account.
• Photographs can be scanned and uploaded as digital photos.
• Create sets and discussions within the class account.
• Create you own private groups and invite other classes or schools to join if you trust their content.
• Invite parents and teachers to see you photos. To share your Flickr class account’s photos with other people, send them a Guest Pass. For people who have Flickr accounts you can also invite them to be a contact and grant them permission as “Friends and/or Family” if you trust their content.

Activities for Elementary Students

• Create Color Sets
As you are studying colors, have the students walk around the classroom, school or outside taking photos of the color that you are studying. Also, ask students to bring in additional photos from home. Upload the photos to sets for each color, i.e., Red, Yellow, or Rainbow. Using the comment area under the photos students can post comments describing what the color makes them think, feel, etc.

• Create Number Sets
Assign each student a number to find things that correspond with the number and take a photo of them. For example, if I am assigned the number 4, I would look around my classroom, school, or outside for things that are gathered in 4's. Or, create sets of objects for that number, i.e. stack of 4 books, 4 of my friends, etc. Upload the photos to a numbers set with all numbers or a set for each number (Set One, Set Two, etc.) You can save the set out of order and have students rearrange them or put photos in the wrong set and have students identify the wrong photo and move it to the correct set. Continue to add photos to your number set(s) throughout the year.

• Make Trading Cards
Have students make photo trading cards using images you upload to your Flickr class account. Students could include information about themselves (name, birthday, favorite class, favorite cartoon, etc.). Or, have students create study aides about famous people using images they draw and scan or photos of themselves impersonating the famous people, such as presidents, explorers, authors, and more. Use a similar approach for famous historical figures or even for geometric shapes you photograph with the digital camera. If students write their own "biographies" of the shapes to study from, they will learn for sure! They can even trade for favorites. Please Note: You will need to change the permission to public for the photos you are using with the Trading Cards Maker. After the trading cards are completed and saved, you can make the photos private again.

• Write a Class Story
Upload a photo to the class account as a story starter. Or, predetermine an appropriate photo to display from another Flickr member’s account using the Creative Commons search feature. Have your students build a story together by taking turns continuing the story one sentence at a time using the comments feature.

• Add Photos To A Map - Have students place the photos from the Flickr class account on the map by the location where each was taken. You can keep the locations on the map private. So you can only see them if they are logged in on the class account. If all of your photos are only taken at school this might not be so great, but if students bring in photos from vacations, field trips, etc., your class map could become full of geotagged images. This could be a jumping off point for a variety of other activities, i.e., graphing the various locations by the number of photos taken.

• Edit Photos with Picnik
Create a classroom Picnik account and edit photos online. Add effects, clip art, frames and text to photos and save back to your classroom Flickr account. Download and print. Great for holiday or special occasion projects.

• Take a Virtual Field Trip Using Favorites and Slideshow
So you want to take your class on a field trip to Rome, but it isn’t in your school’s budget. You can search Flickr for photos tagged Rome, Pantheon, Vatican whatever you want to see and save them as favorites to your class account. Use the view as a slideshow feature to share a slideshow right from Flickr and take a Virtual Field Trip.


Karen Montgomery said...

Just making sure the comments works.

Meri said...

What a terrific list you've made here, Karen. Thanks SO much for taking time to share your thoughts! I'm especially interested in the distinctions you're making between various kinds of practices that are appropriate for varying age levels!

Bravo! I can't be there at your presentation but sure wish I could be...

Babel Fish


Karen Montgomery is the author of Gomeric Hill. The opinions expressed herein are mine and not necessarily those of my employer.