The Internet as evolved into a resource that is no longer read only, and as teachers we must find a way to allow our students to be producers of content and knowledge, not just merely consumers (Richardson, 2010). Many companies and individuals are taking note of this fact and helping to create Web 2.0 tools that make it easier for our learners to not only produce new content, but also share that material and connect with others in a school setting.
The Web 2.0 tool I want to address today is Flickr. In my school I am constantly seeing or hearing about students having smartphones out trying to take selfies and other pictures during the school day. Instead of scolding them for wanting to share what they are doing with others on social media, why not give them opportunities to use the smartphones and pictures for educational use so others outside of the school are getting a glimpse through pictures of what is happening in the classroom. Flickr is a great tool to allow individuals and groups to post and share pictures with just a select group or people all across the globe (Richardson, 2010). Using folksonomies, users are able to tag and search for images and videos related to their topic of interest. They could take pictures of different traits in their classmates or family and post it on Flickr.
There is also a large push for creating savvy digital citizens in today’s society. When the internet emerged there was a large push for everything to be copyrighted and you had to obtain permission from the original creator to use or adapt any content. While it is understandable for people to want credit for their work, many are fine with others using their content without asking as long as they receive credit; hence the birth of Creative Commons. Creative Commons (CC) has created an online collection of content that allows for users to post original work and decide at the time of posting what type of use they would allow it to be used for. So for example, if someone uploaded an image to CC, they would have the authority to say if anyone could use it and change it, or if they wanted to exclude commercial use. This eliminates the step of having to contact the person for permission each time someone wants to utilize the content.
To make things for education even simpler, Flickr and Creative Commons teamed up and created an entire collection of images and videos available on Flickr’s Creative Commons gallery that are licensed by CC to reuse.
In the classroom Flickr and Creative Commons opens the doors for so many uses. Students have a safe place to search for material that they have permission to use and change as needed for assignments or personal use. Many students are programmed to immediately search Google images for any image they are looking for, and while Google does have a more extensive library of images available, it is important to teach students that just because it is posted on the internet does not mean they can take it and use it as their own.
Below is a slide show that I created using Google Docs and Flickr CC images to start a vocabulary lesson for my students on genetics and heredity. Instead of just having the students copy definitions from a book or website, the students will have to utilize the CC gallery on Flickr to capture images that represent each vocabulary term. The students will compile all of this information in their own Google Doc or Padlet to present to a small group. The students will use a rubric to grade each other on the effectiveness of their image to represent the term.
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oak, California: Corwin.