Sunday, February 03, 2008

Picture Yourself Using Flickr in the Classroom - Part 3

In Part 2, I looked at ways to use Flickr with students in grades 6-8. Many of my suggestions for using Flickr with middle school students are definitely recommended for high school students. When working with older students, rather than group accounts allow students to create their own flickr accounts. Remember, each Flickr account will require a Yahoo! ID Check with students prior to creating accounts, many may already have a Yahoo! ID (and a Flickr) account.

Flickr in Grades 9-12

• When working with individual student accounts, have students take the time to invite each other to be a contact. Be sure the students invite all the students in the class to be friends and family so that the photos can be kept private to everyone in the Flickr community, but can still be seen by all the students.
• The first class activity you do with Flickr could be to have students invite each other as contacts and reverse contacts. Have each group of students request all the other groups through their profile page using each account’s FlickrMail.
• Start taking photos and uploading. Take photos of everything – class projects, your school, your community, sports, plays, field trips, family, friends, etc. The more photos students have in their accounts, the more they’ll be able to do with Flickr.
• Remember a Flickr Pro account is required to see more than 200 photos and create more than 3 sets.

Activities for High School Students

• Create an interactive image (rollovers with popup and links) using flickr notes.
See . Students can create study guides or label as part of a project.

• Create a Slideshow in Flickr
Instead of PowerPoint, students create sets about a topic and use the view as a slideshow feature to share a slideshow right from Flickr.

• Projects and Events
Take and upload photos of class and school projects, sports competitions and events on Flickr. Organize into sets or discussions.

• Keep an e-Portfolio
Have the students take photos throughout the year of their reports, projects, artwork, etc. and upload to Flickr to create a digital record of their work. This could be organized into sets by subject or type of work.

• Current Events
Have the students use keywords as tags from the news to find and then download topical images and write a news article about the current event using a photo they found

• Create Field Guides
Have the students take photos of insects, plants, flowers, rocks etc. Create a group for the photos for each field guide. Students research habitats, climates, life cycles, phylogeny, etc. and use the comment feature to record information for each organism or object. Continue to add photos to your field guides throughout the year.

• Blog About Photos
Have each student set-up an external blog to allow for blogging about photos they upload. Flickr works with several blogging services and it is very easy to send a photo from Flickr to a blog. If students have cell phones with Internet access, they can even set-up a mobile blog or moblog.

• Illustrate a Speech with Photos
Pair up students and have them interview each other. They should find out information about each other’s interest, favorites, dislikes, hobbies, etc. and one think they think is especially interesting or unusual about the other person. Students then condense the information about the interviewee into 5-8 note cards and take a photo of the person they interviewed. They also either take or find photos using a Creative Commons search to illustrate the information. The photos can then be shown as they make their speech telling about the person they interviewed.

And some of the ideas for middle school students that can also be used with high school students:

• Explore Flickr
Allow students some time, guided by you, to learn about many of the Web 2.0, and let’s face it, cool things about Flickr.
Profiles - You might have each group or class work with their account and choose a screen name and a buddy icon for their account. This can provide an excellent opportunity to discuss Internet safety and review appropriate screen names, icons, avatars, etc.
Tagging - Review with students the use of the upload tools and permissions, titles, descriptions and tags. After using Flickr for a while, have students compare tag lists or clouds to learn about folksonomy. Determine the most popular tags and compare it to the Flickr's all time most popular tags.
Add notes - Create an interactive image that includes rollovers with popup and links using the notes feature. Here are a few examples:
Or, have students take a photo of a 3-D project, i.e. a diorama, and label as in

• Visual Story Telling
Join the group Tell A Story In 5 Frames for Educators. This is an education-related group I administer, so I can make sure the group rules are adhered to and it stays a safe group for students and teachers. Have students develop stories they can tell with 5 photos. The photos they choose to use for their story will have to be made public or they will not be seen in the discussion. After all students have posted, have them comment on each other’s stories. Discuss with them the value of positive feedback and what types of comments are appropriate to include.

• Writing About an Image
Have each student conduct a Creative Commons search for photos using a tag of their choosing at This will require students searching within the entire Flickr community. Discuss, in advance, what should be done if an inappropriate photo is returned in their search. You might want to pre-select some tags related to a topic you are currently studying. This would allow you to search prior to the students to make sure the photos returned are appropriate. Students can then download one of the images from their search into a word processing document and write a paragraph about the image. Alternatively, students could use a wiki page and insert the picture using HTML code and then write their paragraph. Other student's could then review, edit and/or contribute additional writing about the image. Or, choose a photo from Flickr and show it to your students. Have them write about it for a specified period of time. Another option might be to have the students use keywords as tags from current news stories to find and download a photo related to a current event. Students could then write a news article about the current event using a photo they found.

• One Picture, Many Pictures
Select an image with the appropriate licensing and have each student download the image and modify it using MS paint, Photoshop, etc. All the "new" photos can then be uploaded to Flickr into a set or discussion.

• Virtual Photo Fieldtrip
Have students look for images (using tags) from a certain part of the world that you are or will be studying. Have them find photos of the same place from at least three different people. Using PowerPoint, have the students create a virtual field trip to present to the class using the pictures they found. Students could also cut around themselves in other photos and place them onto the photos to create the appearance of actually being there.

• Search Flickr using one of these third party Flickr search engines:
Flickr Related Tag Browser
Spell with Flickr
Flickr Storm
Color Fields Colr Pickr

• Illustrate a poem
Have students select words in their favorite poem or song to link to photos on Flickr. Or have them write their own poems or short stories and illustrate.

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