Exploring the Celestials “PhotoSharing”

Hitch Hikers Guide to the (Web) Galaxy?

20/09/10 – Entering the Celestial area of Photo Sharing…knowing absolutely NOTHING about Photo Sharing. (Technological experience to date: email, used attachments for the first time not that long ago.  Can scan, and do a few things with our digital camera.  Not quite sure how to recharge its battery, though.  Or how to open the little battery compartment, come to think of it.  Prefer to use a microwave, but still cannot figure out “defrost” mode.)

Must always start voyage into unknown area by figuring out what the heck it is…thankfully all ships from planet Chardonnay are equipped with “Wikipedia” and “Google”.

Wikipedia told the crew that Photo Sharing is the publishing or transfer of a user’s digital photos online, thus enabling the user to share them with others (publicly or privately). This function is provided through both websites and applications that facilitate the upload and display of images. The term can also be loosely applied to the use of online photo galleries that are set up and managed by individual users, including photoblogs.

A google of “Top Photo Sharing sites”.  Found the following:

I have decided to look at Photobucket, Flickr, Fotki, Picassa and if time, SmugMug.  SmugMug was in the Top 10 and Picassa was recommended by a photographer friend and on several timely blogs.

Landing thrusters on!  Now exploring the celestial planet Photobucket – Tried to sell me the upgrade before I was even off the ship!  Tiny little “no thanks” button employed.  Ads ads ads, was first thought after, well, this looks like a blog platform.  Hmmm, I think I might be able to speak the language.

Realize I have to upload photos to these sites.  How many pics of my feet can I take?  I do not want to share family pics, don’t on Facebook…wonder if parents want their kids on these sites.  I suppose for a class set of photos, it is a better storage place than my own personal files, and I notice that security levels can be set quite high.

Used my weapon of choice (a dated “Canon”, but it still shoots quite well).  Chased a creature known as a “Kat” around the ship.  (It is actually head of the crew…as any creature whose poop you clean up usually is…) Created an album and a slideshow from the photos: http://s993.photobucket.com/home/wwwtl/allalbums 

Right now “Presley” (Kat is channelling an old Earth icon) is the only one from the ship whose images I feel comfortable sharing on the internet, besides my own. Yes, yes, I know my kids pics are floating out there in cyberspace from their school photos (and the Wal-Mart ones I buy instead), but this is part of the photo sharing experience that I feel is under my control.

Used my own photo – played with “effects”. Called to the (extremely sarcastic) co-pilot in to have a look.  “Do you know how old this stuff is?”. Was his response.  Yes, well, sort of, I just never used it before.  “We have this software on our computer”.  Oh.

 Last year I watched a student in my “Computers” class (10 classes, mainly word and other v.basic internet stuff, not too webby at all…) as she doctored up a photo of herself from her FB page.  I was amazed at what she did in a matter of seconds with effects.  Of course, when I tried it, I spent over an hour with just one photo.  But it was fun!  Must note that this student was not the most academically gifted but had a chance to shine in this area.  One of the reasons I want to use web technology in my classes.

I would possibly use this site for students to “play” with their photos and post them to their blogs…but I am not sure about that.  The security may not be what parents would want.  I don’t think I want my child’s image on here, no matter how “private” it may be.  I would want more control as an educator if I used this as a tool in school. BUT I think it is something they could learn more about on their own after we explored it safely together with non-personal images.  I am but a guide in the web universe. As Shawn Cornally (2010) says:  “I have to admit that I am no longer the most efficient content delivery system on the block. I am now nothing more than an experienced investigator, trained in the art of guiding younger hikers along the trail.”

Yes! Yes!  I am a guide to…hikers??? OOOO, like Hitchhikers’ Guide to the (Web) Galaxy!  That’s me!

21/09/10 – exploring celestial planet Flickr tonight.  Seems similar.  Has a limit to the number of photos you can upload per month (is it more than the three I take, on average?), after that you have to pay.

A question: Why would someone like me, who doesn’t take photos for hobby or business reasons, use one of these sites?  Why wouldn’t I just “upload” to Facebook and share with my 713 friends from there?

The answer: The quality of photos on FB is not as high as on Photo Sharing sites.

A question: How would I use these, specifically, in my classes?

The answer, supplied by “The Teaching Hacks” in Photo Sharing in Education:

  • Create a storybook using shared images
  • Use the tools (i.e. Flickr Toys) to create motivational posters, cd covers…
  • Use tags to find photos of areas and events around the world for use in the class
  • Use images to enhance students’ classroom work
  • Embed photos in a blog…share with parents

Also, could use images to write creatively, descriptively etc about.  Kids enjoy having choices, so giving a page and letting them choose would work well.  Photo Sharing sites provide many instances of professional level photography.  Will Richardson (2006) says in his chapter “Fun with Flickr” that Photo Sharing sites provide educational links to reading and writing through imagery, creativity, studying current events, communication around the world, and visuals to go along with studied works of fiction and poetry.  Play to learn.  In his chapter “The Toolbox”, Richardson says that  “Publishing digital photos to the Web not only means sharing pictures…it [also] means becoming a part of a community of photographers sharing ideas and experiences…adding another dimension.”

24/09/2010 – I figured the final part of my voyage to the Photo Sharing celestials would need to include a test run by a younger crew member, 9-year-old Brooke.  With very minimal guidance (Pilot and Co-Pilot were outside on the ship’s hull tackling five years worth of pruning), she used the Canon, set up some creative poses with her “subjects” and created a slideshow using what is available on Photobucket.  The only help she needed was the actual downloading.  We learned together that you can lose the link if you try to transfer the files, but everything else, she showed me!  I was astounded at her creativity – with both the titles she chose and the “story” for each photo. http://s993.photobucket.com/albums/af59/wwwtl/ 

I realized through Brooke’s explorations that she was reading about the tools, writing her own creative titles, checking for correct spelling, orally and visually sharing with her family and listening to any instructions her guide (me) told her.  Basically, doing all the things a language arts curriculum needs to accomplish, with additions of technology, art, geography, history and more, as we looked at other photos, explored the contests, saw where the photographers came from or took photos of.  And that was only in our first voyage there!  She asked the next morning if she could do some more.


My concern as a parent, not unique, is that if she is exploring the sites on her own, she may come across some questionable images.  Dyrli (2006) says it quite succinctly:

“The most serious objection to photo-sharing sites is the general lack of censorship, so searches may uncover images that are not appropriate for classroom use for a variety of reasons including mature content. However, issues in using photo-sharing sites are identical to those in using the Internet at large. In both cases an informed school community, clear policies and appropriate supervision are essential. As [Mark] Ahlness says, ‘How can teachers integrate online technology into the curriculum when those tools are prohibited and blocked [by teachers or administration] from access in our schools?’ ”

I am beginning to feel more comfortable with the idea of using Web 2.0 tools personally and professionally.  I have taught the basic computer course described earlier for the last three years, and only last year did I allow students to access photos from FB to put into their creative pieces.  I know that this year’s course will be VERY different and we will spend a lot of time looking at Web 2.0 tools, such as Photo Sharing sites, and how to use them safely and creatively.


Cornally, S. (2010).  How to teach for jobs that don’t exist. Dangerously Irrelevant. Retrieved from http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2010/09/how-to-teach-for-jobs-that-dont-exist.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dangerouslyirrelevant+%28Dangerously+Irrelevant%29&utm_content=Google+International

Dyrli, O.E. (2006). Photo-sharing web sites. District Administration. Retrieved from

Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis and podcasts. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press. (As a Kindle download from Amazon – note: no page numbers available to use for direct quotes)

Teaching Hacks.com (2007). Photo sharing in education wiki. Retrieved from


One comment

  1. Love your use of Captain Kirk and Bridget Jones to frame your discussion and pull in your readers. A strong, thoughtful discussion.

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