Flikr seems to be the gold standard when it comes to Photo Sharing. I found it very simple to work with as a Flikr newcomer. I was able to drag and drop a hand full of picture from my PC pretty easily. I was rubbed the wrong way about the Namaste greeting in Hindi that welcomed me to the site for the first time. This may have been due to my paranoia over disappearing privacy is the information age. It was like they already knew things about me. My paranoia subsided a little the second time I visited the site and was greeted with labdien, a Latvian greeting.
William J. Allen’s article, “Using Flikr for Media Rich-Rich Classes” outlines the advantages for group work in analyzing images. This has obvious relevance for media and art classes but has the potential to be used in a wider educational forum. Some of the features highlighted in the article were, private groups where each student can add to the conversation, the permanent record of the conversation for the instructor and extremely easy maintenance.
As I navigated Flikr I found some interesting possible educational applications. One was a site called Bookr, is roughly affiliated with Flikr. It allows a simple picture book to be created with a title and text. It would be great for elementary classes. It also could be used for group creative writing sessions, or to supplement lectures. I quickly made a book and left the text blank; this could be used as a quick write exercise. The little picture book is titled Bailey’s Adventure. It would not allow publishing without the title. For a creative writing exercise I would simply write title allowing the students to create their own. A second was the wonderful game named Five Card Story that rotates pictures to choose from their Creative Commons copyrighted materials. Creative Commons is a cool feature allowing the copyrights to be very narrowly defined and propagated for educational uses. The pictures that I used for Bookr had to be designated Creative Commons before I could use them to be published. I had a little fun with the game last night and wrote a brief yarn titled Sick Scones. This game is tailor made for a creative wring quick write at a computer lab, or library computer stations. It could also be used as a quick assignment to get students used to Flikr.
Flikr is a potentially a great tool for the teacher librarian. The one that jumps out at me immediately is to create a catalogue of student taken photographs that they deemed historic, or culturally meaningful, or simply beautiful, interesting, or intriguing in some manner. Hopefully this would engage the students and make them feel ownership of a small part of the library resources.