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. 




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.