Friday, 3 October 2008

Been thinking about ... Flickr

One holiday job I created for myself was to organise my digital photos a little more effectively - beyond uploading them to my computer, and a few of those onto Flickr. I have made progress but this all got me to thinking a little about the possibilities of using flickr more effectively in the classroom.

I have found flickr and applications like FlickrStorm & the Creative commons search really useful in finding images for the various slideshows and videos I have created for use in the classroom. A couple of flickr users in particular stood out for me in providing relevant and insightful images of Japan. jpellgen has literally hundreds of photos of Japan and for many of them he has used the ability to add descriptions / captions to your photos to include informative descriptions of the places he has captured. Descriptions could include important historical or cultural information or an explanation of signs in the target language. This and the ability to add notes to photos is surely something that we could utilise more in the classroom. Anyone can add a 'note' to a photo; to add meaning to the photo, explain something or translate something in the target language. But wait, there's more ... Adding comments to images could also help engage students in meaningful discussion of photos and their cultural or historical significance.

This could all be done in the confines of your own private group or it could be done in the public domain. I have already started to add some English descriptions to my photos and aim to write some in Japanese (for higher level students) and maybe even some in both languages.

So, in summary:

  • Use captions to provide background information on the image and its location
  • Use notes to explain details
  • Use comments to create discussion and engage
For language teachers, this could be all done in English (to emphasis culture) or in the target language. For teachers of History, Geography, English, ... the possibilities perhaps go further.

Have I missed anything? Is anyone out there already using flickr successfullly? I would love to hear of any ventures into using flickr in the classroom.

No comments: