My son as a cube.  How can you not enjoy yourself using this medium??

I have totally enjoyed trying the photo sharing site Flickr and all the different things you can do with pictures.   This is nothing short of addicting!  I got my Yahoo! email a few days ago had tried to download a few pictures (which I’ve already attached to my blog) but this was the first time I was going to check out all the details of Flickr. 

 

Right away I didn’t like loading one picture at a time but I saw on the site that there was a solution to this so I easily downloaded the Flickr Uploader 3.0.5 from the Flickr Tools link.  This allowed me to drag the photos from my computer that I wanted downloaded rather that just downloading one at a time which is way too slow for me. 

 

Then I went through a period of confusion and wasn’t sure what to do with my pictures.  Somehow I ended up downloading Windows Live Photo Gallery which allows you to organize the photos currently existing on your computer, download pictures from your cell phone (rats, I don’t have one of those fancy kind that allows me to take pictures), edit your pictures and then upload them to Flickr to share with whomever you choose.  I was really impressed with the Photo Gallery and the ease with which I could tag my pictures and group them together.  It’s fully searchable which is great and one of the best features of it is that it tells you in what month and year your pictures were taken.  Amazing.  Mind you, I currently have over 900 pictures on my computer so it may take me some time to get organized with this tool.

 

Then I went back to try and create a slide show with some of my pictures that I had downloaded to Flickr.  I remembered how easy this was with Picasa and I must say that Picasa has Flickr beat on this one.  It took me awhile to figure out that all the little fun things you can do with your pictures on Flickr are mostly creating by tools that are linked to Flickr.  So I checked out The Great Flickr Tools Collection mentioned by Richardson in his book, Blog, Wikis and Podcasts (p. 109).  I found most of these tools way over my head from a technical standpoint so then I returned to my del.icio.us site where I knew I had tagged a site that listed ideas of what do do with pictures called Webtools4u2use.

 

This is when I really started to have fun with pictures and I can see how students would love to work with some of these tools in the classroom and at home.  I can also see applications to the classroom such as creating an annotated slideshow of a field trip or class event, adding creative artwork to assignments and projects, creating a crossword puzzle to introduce vocabulary on a specific topic, use pictures found on Flickr as a way to activate prior knowledge of a specific subject and stimulate discussion. 

 

Some of the photo sharing tools/sites I checked out were:

 

Bubblr

Add bubbles to flickr pictures

Couldn’t get it to work

 

101 Gadgets for Flickr addicts

Leads you to other sites to do cool things with Flickr pictures.  This is never ending but fun!

 

 

Spell with Flickr

Cool letters

Couldn’t get it to work

 

Flickr Toys

Lots of cool things you can do with pictures.  Some examples follow:

 

Captioner

Add captions to your picture

Easy

 

This is a picture of my son reading a story to his cousin.

 

Create a Slide Show

Easy but be sure to save your URL right away

My slide show on the Indus Valley (I could use this in grade 8 Social Studies) can be seen at: 

http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/slideshow.php?id=55119

 

 

 

Dumpr

Very easy.

Lets you do weird things to pictures. One example was the cube you saw earlier and this museum piece of my nephew at his grad:

 

 

 

When I compare Flickr and Picasa they are very similar photo sharing sites.  They both allow the user to easily download pictures pictures from a camera or phone and organize them in albums or photostreams;  they allow you to publish for a specific audience (private or public access) and/or email to whomever you want; you can add annotations, tags and RSS feeds; they are free; they allow pictures to be edited before being shared; and they can be sent to blogs.  Picasa is a google app so it is directly linked to Facebook (I’ve used this feature and it’s simple). 

 

However, the major differences between the two are that you can search for photos on Flickr and you can comment on others’ photos in Flickr and engage in discussion groups.  So even though I prefer the multimedia applications on Picasa, I think for educational purposes, Flickr might be the better choice because it is much more collaborative and interactive in nature.  What do you other educators think is a better site to use in schools?

 

 

Before I leave photo sharing sites and move to video sharing sites in Blog #2 for our course, I hope I have time to check out a few other photo sharing sites like Bubbleshare, Photobucket and Webshots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome back fellow 2.0 learners and educators,

I don’t know what happened to the font size on my last post.  I can’t see anywhere that I can control font size on the template I’m using so I just don’t know.  I’m also having Internet reception problems at home and at my school (wireless router)  which is driving me crazy.  Whenever you’re doing anything with technology, it’s my motto that you should always have a back-up plan.

 

Yesterday when I was telling you what new things I could do with Picasa, I forgot to mention that I used it to post pictures in my new facebook account.  I couldn’t believe how easy it is to post pictures and share them with others on facebook.  Mind you, whoever you want to send them to has to have a facebook account whereas if you just use picasa, you can send anyone a link to view your pictures.  Since facebook is blocked at our school, Picasa would be more useful as a teaching and learning tool.  I was surprised that I could post my own video on facebook, as well.  It took a little time to load but once it was up, sharing it was no problem. 

 

Further to choosing blogging sites from my first post, today at school another teacher-librarian and I set up a new blog for our students to discuss the books in the Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to tell her about the pros and cons of various blog hosting sites (I must have learned something last week!).  In the end, we decided to stay with November Learning Communities because the site allows multiple users to moderate comments without using email.  Although we still had trouble adding pictures (which I mentioned in my first post), in able an hour we had our blog set up and ready to go.    This is the third year for our blog.  At first only three schools collaborated, the next year five schools and this year, all the schools in our division have been invited to be a part of our learning community.  I wonder if next year we’ll add schools from outside our division.  I’m planning on making our blog a little more interactive this year by requiring my students to ask a question about the book they are commenting on rather than just saying what they thought of the book.  This way I hope to get more discussion between students happening.  My students can easily access the blog from my library wiki which is attached to our school’s homepage.

 

Yesterday I applied for a Yahoo! email so that I could use the Flickr site.  Today, I added pictures on my blog from Flickr.  They’re pictures my sons took at the Vancouver Aquarium this past summer.  The directions on wordpress weren’t quite accurate on how to do this but I managed, after a little frustration to figure it out by searching around Flickr for the feed link.  WordPress said the feedlink was on the homepage but I found it on the photo page.  You might notice that I also added an RSS feed of the Blue Skunk Blog to my blog but more on that in another post about RSS feeds.

 

Tomorrow, I’m going to search for any research on the benefits of using photo sharing tools in the classroom and explore more of the features of Flickr that I can use on a personal and professional level.

 

Jo-Anne

Hello fellow classmates and Web 2.0 learners,

I’m branching out today by writing directly into the post area as I learn about new Web 2.0 tools rather than writing one long post at the end.  I think this might be a better way for me to keep track of my daily learning experiences and reflections with Web 2.0 tools and their implications for education and learning.  I hope that others in my class with join me on this daily learning experience.   I just hope I won’t do something silly and lose all my work before I hit the Save and Publish buttons.

  

Today I started reading about photo sharing sites and I could not believe how immediately I was hooked.  I began by reading Bill Richardson’s chapter 7 in Blogs, Wikis and Podcasts which focuses on the photosharing site Flickr. His enthusiasm for this Web 2.0 tool is simply contagious.  He writes on page 20 that Flickr is one of the best spaces on the web – a “true social software where the contributors interact and share and learn from each other in creative and interesting ways.”  How can you not want to check flickr out after a comment like that!

 

All the ways Richardson lists in his book how educators can use Flickr (pgs. 106 to 109), I found incredibly inspiring.  From using it in math to solve problems, to using Flickr as a source of copyright free images, to putting together a fully annoted field trip experience, to activating prior knowledge on a topic, to developing writing skills by responding to pictures, to stimulating discussions on particular topics, to creating stories by on the pictures, to labeling parts of a pictures, the possibilities seem endless.    

 

I could not believe all the ways Flickr can be used in the classroom.  My fellow classmates and whoever else is interested in learning how photo sharing sites can be used to enhance learning in the classroom, you must check out this wiki that lists the numerous applications of various photo sharing sites.  You also must check out “The Great Flickr Tools Collection” that Richardson discusses on page 109 of his book. It’s another a fabulous resource for teachers interested in using Flickr (which could be applied to other photo sharing sites, as well) as a creative application in the classroom.  I honestly can’t wait to try some of the photosharing tools listed in both of these sites.

Photo sharing sites are not new to me.  I’ve been having my students use Flickr Creative Commons pictures in their assignments and projects for a few years now.  As an educator in Canada, you need to know that students are not allowed to use Google Images in their reports since this breaks Canadian copyright laws (American students can do this but Canadian students cannot). Having a copyright free image source such as Flickr has helped my students learn about the benefits of Creative Commons and not to break the law!

 

I have also been using Picasa for a few years although I haven’t used it in awhile. I began using it as a way of sending pictures to my family and friends. If you’re still trying to use email to send pictures, I highly suggest using Picasa which has an email feature built right into the software.   I noticed there was a new version of Picasa so I watched the presentation on its new features and easily downloaded it to my computer. (I highly recommend the presentation as a great overview of what Picasa can do for you and your students).

 

I can immediately see how this application would appeal to kids.  What kid doesn’t want to see themselves and their friends in their self-created slideshows and movies??  I find it interesting that as an educator, that I have never considered using Picasa or any other photo sharing tool in the classroom because it’s potential seems endless.  Since it’s a web-based tool, I’ve just discovered that the “albums” you have created on your Picasa site at how are easily accessible at school.  And this obviously applies to students, as well, who would have access to their digital pictures at school.  Something I had never thought of before.

Some of the new features I discovered (or maybe I just hadn’t tried them on the old version) were the collage and movie features.  It was extremely easy to put this collage together:  

 

I really like how Picasa lists all my picture folders on the left hand side of the screen so I can easily decide which pictures I want to use.  All the pictures come up when you select a folder and you can easily click and drag the pictures into the folder you want to create a new presentation.  I didn’t know you could do that until my son showed me how.  I’ve also just noticed that I can use the Picasa photo “Albums” to help me to keep my pictures organized.

Notice on my collage that I added some text which is something new for me as well.  I can see how easy it would be for students to add all kinds of captions to their pictures or the teacher’s picture(s) which could demonstrate their learning.   I’m currently working on a movie version of these pictures but I won’t attach it quite yet because I still have to figure out how to add sound. 

 

I was so impressed with the possibilities of this medium for education that the very next day at school, I showed a student who had just taken pictures at a museum her class had just visited on a school field trip how to use Picasa.  I showed her how to go to the Picasa site, download the software, add her pictures onto an Album and add captions.  I can’t wait to hear her classmates and teacher’s response to her annotated slideshow!

Well, that’s all the exploring with Picasa I had time for today.  Tomorrow I hope to try Flickr and maybe attach a slide show to my blog. 

 

Jo-Anne

 

p.s.  I found reflecting directly on the blog a little nerve racking – I kept thinking I’d lose something but I’m enjoying the feeling of writing for an audience that cares about what I’m saying.