One of the problems in starting up logs with students is that they want to inserts images and they don’t care where they get them from. To often the easiest source is to do a Google images search and choose the first picture that turns up and insert into the blog. Now the biggest problem with this is that most Google images are copyright. When confronted which this problem. Most students simply say it’s the easiest way to find an image they need.
Once shown Flickr, and how to locate and source creative commons licensed images things tend to improve. In a previous post I’ve alluded to a couple of movies that I have added to my test blog which shows students how to use the advanced search function in Flickr to search only for those images that are creative commons licensed. This has proved reasonably successful, however, many students still complain that the images on Flickr are often not as suited to school use they would like.
Some educational departments and bodies have addressed this problem by providing specific digital image repositories such as the UK scran digital image repository. Fabulous as this repository no doubt is, access is restricted to UK schools both to locate from and add images to. This would be fime for schools in the UK who are looking only for images of activities or things specific to the UK but one can imagine a UK student wanting a picture of a specific US basketball player as one of my students was wanting to last year. In this case the student is unlikely to be able to find such picture in the repository.
Some teachers are alert to this problem of locating images and go out of their way to create their own repositories of images that might be suitable for students to use. A colleague is using a paid image repository service to house some excellent images of flowers, animals and other digital pictures that many students would love to be able to include in their online spaces. Whilst this is great for my colleague students, other students can’t access unless they have access to this specific URL.
On pondering this problem I remembered that Flickr has the capacity to add tags to images. I wondered if I added a specific tag then this would identify to my students images that they might wish to use the webspaces. The tag had in mind was the tag “pics4school”. The students could search the pictures that had this particular tag and any other tag that I had used to indicate what the picture was about. Consequently I went through a number of images that I had on my hard drive and added them to my Flickr account the link for which you can find in my sidebar. I added the tag “pics4school” plus other tags to describe images to each of images, I loaded. I also made sure that the images were licensed according to creative commons to allow students to use them freely.
About this time I also came across a great little search engine developed by John Johnstone which enables you to search Flickr on multiple tags including by ‘any‘ or ‘all‘ as an option for your search function which also searches only for created commons licensed images. Up to 50 images can be accessed per page which enables you to quickly scan to find the image most suitable. Giving a test run with my tags I quickly located only those that had “pics4school tags” and the other tags I wanted.
Another interesting alternative Flickr search engine is compfight.com.
Given that many teachers who are into Web 2.0 activities have a Flickr account, I am wondering if you could join in this activity by uploading to Flickr images that you think students might like to include in their work. To standardise things, you need to make sure that you give the images the tag “pics4school” alongside other tags that students might likely search for them by. you need also to make certain that the images are licensed under creative Commons licences which will allow students to use them preferably as an attribution non-commercial licence.
What do others think of this idea? Can you see such an undertaking being useful for students in schools? Would you be able to add images with a “pics4school” tag? Just imagine if only 100 educators worldwide added 50 images each, overnight students would have another 5000 images from which to select to add to their online space. I think it could be worth the effort, how about you? If you think you could help or know of others that could help please spread the word amongst your network, you can even link back to this post if you wish.