Category Archives: flickr

Five Card Flickr – what a great lesson

Teaching is such an up and down thing. I always hesitate to say ‘teaching’ because I’m a teacher librarian, and we don’t teach the same way teachers teach. Our role is so diverse, and we are sometimes seen in the classroom and other times seen at our computers, madly reading or researching and creating stuff for teachers and students. But teachers we are, so it’s teaching that we do.

Anyway, as I was saying, I think most teachers would agree that during a typical school week it’s common to experience ups and downs, and sometimes so many of these that you just want out.

This week just past was one such week. Most of the time it seemed that it would just be a downward roll but somehow the last lesson of the week was so enjoyable that it redeemed the rest.

Sometimes simple things can work so well. So it was when I joined a teacher and his Year 9 English class to give Five Card Flickr a go. It’s one of the writing  prompts in my new blog called Storyteller. It seemed simple, we both decided to give it a go. Secretly I thought it might bomb since this was the last period of the week, and after all, these were Year 9 boys.

But lo and behold! it was a success! After a brief explanation the boys were bent over their laptops typing away. And they kept typing! Now I have to explain that our lessons are over an hour long so I thought there was no way that this activity would take up the rest of the period. But it did! There’s something heart-warming when you see a room full of 14-15 year olds engrossed in something at school.

So what’s Five Card Flickr? Simple: you go to the website and you’re presented with five photos pulled from Flickr – so they’re photos people have shared. Real people, and you can check out a little about these people because their usernames are hyperlinked to their Flickr page. So you can have a look at what else they have been  photographing.

Ok, so out of these five photos, you choose one, and as soon as you click on it, a new set of 5 photos appear, and so it goes until you have 5 photos which you’ve chosen for your piece of writing. Then you add your username, a title for your story and write it directly into the box provided. You save and then it’s added to a gallery, and you can also share it as a permanent link.

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Valbusa on Flickr

As soon as the boys started writing, they peered across to the student next to them to see what they were writing. Mr T. was also writing a story and his was projected onto the screen, and it was cool to see it evolve as a process along with the editing. After they’d written their first story, the boys were curious to read everyone’s contribution in the gallery. And that’s the whole point of this kind of technology – to open up to the group; kids like the social aspect of writing. They like to compare and have a laugh at each other’s stories. The sharing becomes the most important, most satisfying part of the experience. Compare that to writing something for the teacher full stop.

I think they were also chuffed to see their stories on the Web; they liked the fact that other people – people they didn’t know – would read them. I think it made them feel like mini celebrities. Never know who will read your stuff.

Five Card Flickr could be used in so many ways – in English class, ESL, foreign language. You could allow any kind of written response – we said write whatever. So they could write a poem, prose, a song, first person, third person, etc. After the first one we decided to specify genre, so they had to write a horror story. There are as many possibilities here as your imagination allows.

Pictures are such a good prompt for writing, and Five Card Flickr is a winner. You should try it.

Here are some of our boys’ responses:

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Week 3 – Take a photo with movement

This has been cross-posted from Through global lenses

Week 3: Take a photo:
With movement, maybe one of your hobbies, or activities at school or freetime

*Write about:
Your hobby/hobbies or extra-curricular activities at school, what made you choose them and what they give to you.

Photo by Danielnau on Flickr

Cricket and football were at the top of our boys’ list of hobbies and pasttimes for Week 3′s assignment. This prompted a discussion about the different types of sport with questions about Australian Rules football and cricket.

You’re right; cricket is not a very common sport in the USA. I don’t know to much about cricket, but it kind of looks like baseball. Is cricket only a male sport, or do women play too? Wow 4-5 hours! That’s a really long game! Do all games last that long or only the games that go into overtime?

And yes its not very common sport in Finland. Actually I don’t even know any Finn that plays it. I’ve seen some cricket games on TV and they sure are very long. How long is an average cricket game?

(Another comment) Is cricket little bit like baseball? Cos i only know how you throw the ball and that the bat looks weird:)

In some cases students learned the rules of sports they didn’t play in their country, for example, one of the Australian students explained the rules of squash to a student from Finland.

There is ample evidence that students are engaged in learning from the overseas students – much more than if they had just read the information in a text.

Finnish student: Mostly we swim in summer because its only time in the year when water temperature goes over 20 degree Celsius.

Wow! I can’t believe that 20 degrees is warm. What is the water temperature usually?

It really depends on the time of year. Most of summer its like 15-19 degrees but it goes way below that on other time of the year. Some finns even go to swim when water is just over 0 degree during winter.

Photo by tiaafi on Flickr

Experiences are very different amongst students. This American student’s comment has been echoed by some of the Australian students:

I like this picture I looks like it came out of an imagination not from a real place some where. I have never touched snow but I have seen it before and it did look like a lot of fun.

Photo by keithtAU on Flickr

The above photo was greeted with surprise

(Finnish student): Woah! I never believed that there is a place fort ice skating in Australia. Is that some kind of indoor ice skating arena?

Sometimes the comments are about the photography:

Photo by brentonwau on Flickr

I really like this picture. You can see the movement in it but its still very sharp (Finnish student)

Some responses go deeper:

Photo by KierenT_au

I got this picture when I was gardening and when I saw it I was fascinated. It showed to me that us humans should be like this big although there are a lot of minor obstacles in the way there are also very big ones which I think is a perfect example of life. This bug showed me that there’s always a way around even if it was very big and take a long time to get around it still managed to get around.

While watching this bug for ages I just saw at some points that you get stuck and cant move and you need a helping hand or you might just get stuck and struggle for a bit but soon figure out how to get unstuck. I think that time is the greatest thing on this planet without time where would we be? Also without choices where would we be what if we couldn’t make our own choices?

I’m not sure if I could have asked for a better response if I had included more prescriptive guidelines. This student has blended photo with higher order and creative thinking. It’s interesting to see the occasional contribution with a surprising perspective. When students read the entire cohort’s responses, they get a rich diversity – so much to take in and respond to.

Understanding is unpacked through the dialogue. An Australian student talked about swimming when it was 30 degrees and an American student responded by saying

That’s insane 30 degrees I would die down in florida when it gets to 40 i think it’s like an ice age!!! It’s so crazy on the difference between there and here. By the way your picture is very cool and the pool looks amazing:) I love swimming.

A Finnish student clarified:

Are you talking about fahrenheit or celsius? Cos 30 degrees in celsius is really hot and morgan is talking about an ice age:)

Whatever the students have shared in this week’s assignment, there is plenty of positive reinforcement from their cohort:

This is very cool. the fact that it’s your passion and you enjoy it is even cooler. I like how you actually enjoy and look forward to it is awesome.

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Week 2 – People in your life

This has been reposted from Through global lenses

Week 2 assignment:

Who are the people you see every day? What do they mean to you? Are you a person who needs to be with people all the time or do you also like solitude? Which people have been most influential in your life, how and why?

Week 2 took students from the initial focus on who they were to their circle of family and friends.

I was surprised again that our boys were so unashamedly grateful to their parents; I think that they’re more likely to admit their feelings in writing than through class discussion. It has been very encouraging to note that all students have exemplified the best online behaviour, leaving comments which have encouraging, supportive and leading to spirited conversation.

Although Week 2′s contributions were all similar, centring on family and friends, the little details created interest. I thought I’d share some of these details.

Photo by JamesMAU

“My Mum and Dad will do anything to make me happy and to see me having fun, they even wake up at early hours of the morning to take me to 5am basketball training 30 minutes away from our house and school, just to make me feel happy and cared for.
My Mum and Dad aren’t life savers but they are just regular parents who provide so much for me and make me feel safe and secure. I am very lucky to have them and there are many ways I wish I could thank them”.

“My family mean a lot to me; they help me through the hard times and support me through the good times. My parents are great; they support and respect the decisions that I make.

“My friends mean the world to me, if I am having a bad day they can make me smile, they are always there to support me and help through the good and bad times and I try to help my friends as much as they help me”.

Photo by LukeS,Au

“My little brother is a person i see daily and also someone whom i love to spend some time with. Not only is he my brother, he is one of my best mates and i adore him for that”.

Comment:

“I really like this picture. It made me smile. The light from the sun completes the picture, in my opinion. I also like it because it shows how close you are with you little brother. I, personally, have three little brothers and they mean a lot to me. =]”

Photo by KierenT_au

“This Photo to me shows my relationship with my friends, I really don’t care if people say wearing that stuff is for girls only and stuff like that. I think it’s fun sometimes just to dress up and mess around and not care what the world thinks of you. The relation with all my friends is great we all get along and we are all into music also we all love to chat and just hang and chill at places”.

Comment:

“You seem like a really cool person. :)
I love how you can be your own person and not really care about what other people think”.

“I’m not really a person who needs someone always to be around them I love just being by myself and seeing where I’m heading and also just time to relax. I love to be outside when I’m by myself I sit on my fence or either up on this brick wall at the side of our house and I just sit there and enjoy the wind and the fresh air and free space, I got to say that the only thing I don’t like about sitting outside is at night I cover my whole body basically from head to toe but I still get bitten by the mosquitoes”.

Comment:

“love listening to the wind too. It’s amazing. Especially at the beach. And, yes, wow mosquitos are the biggest pests any where in the world. :P

I love how the Week 2 assignment broadened the group’s knowledge of each student within the circle of his/her family and friends. It brought together students from different geographical and cultural backgrounds, highlighting what young people have in common everywhere. In some cases it aroused curiosity –

“Is these clothes what you wear at school? We don’t wear school uniform in Finland.”

The best part of the project for me, again this week, was seeing the enthusiasm of the students racing to read what others had said in response to their posts and  photos. The smiles on their faces …

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Thinking about evaluation

Contributed by Darren Kuropatwa in Flickr Group Great quotes about learning and change (pool).

I’ve been collaborating with Marie Coleman (Florida) and Sinikka Laakio-Whybrow (Finland) through Flickr to bring our students together in a photo-journal project. Yesterday I interviewed some of the students for feedback and, once I figure out how to edit these avi files, I’ll be sharing these very interesting interviews here.

This has been cross-posted from Through global lenses.

Our Flickr project has come to an end, and I haven’t even been able to keep up with what’s been happening.

Nevertheless!

I’m not going to let the opportunity for reflection, evaluation and showcasing escape. It will be done – eventually.

This week I hope to start asking students and teachers for feedback. This will take the form of questioning on the ning, as well as recording interviews which I hope to start today.

Here are some questions for student evaluation:

1. What did you enjoy the most about the Flickr project?

2. What, in your opinion, didn’t work for you?

3. How could this project have been improved or done differently?

4. What sorts of things have you learned?

5. What was the most valuable thing you learned?

6. What do you enjoy about connecting with students from other countries?

7. How important is the photo in the writing assignment?

8. What did you enjoy about other people’s photos?

9. What did you learn about taking photos?

10. What was your favourite/What were your favourite weekly theme(s)?

11. What was the most interesting thing you learned from another student?

12. What have you learned about other cultures?

13. What sorts of things do you have in common with students of other cultures?

14. What do you think are the main differences between you and students of other cultures?

15. Would you like to visit/live in the USA or Finland? How has the project influenced your answer?

Some questions to ask teachers:

1. Did you enjoy the project? What were the highlights?

2. What did you expect from the project at the outset?

3. Did the project meet/exceed your expectations? In what ways?

4. How did you find the collaboration? online/global aspect; time differences; school term differences, etc.

5. What difficulties did you experience during the project? What worked and what didn’t?

6. How would you do the project differently if you did it again?

7. What do you think students gained from the project?

8. In your opinion, how important a role did the photo play in the writing?

9. Was this project an enhancement for students? Which ones in particular (were there any surprises)?

I’ll be responding to these questions myself because I think that an evaluation is the only way to truly learn from something. Some of these things are only half-formulated in my mind, so this exercise should help me think more deeply and define what I think.

So what does the quote – If all your kids do is learn to read and write, they won’t be literate – mean to me?

There’s a bigger answer to this, but for now I’ll give the smaller answer, the answer relevant to the objectives and outcomes of this project.

The learning that has taken place here has been learning with and from other people – students who share interests and passions with each other regardless of their geographical location.

Instead of learning from a book, a fact sheet or article provided by the teacher, our students have learned from each other.

Their learning has been sparked by curiosity, a desire to connect with peers, natural dialogue, and an opportunity to share and be creative within a stuctured but relaxed framework.

They have learned by asking, by reading each others’ contributions – within an online community.

They have done this with respect for each other and through positive comments. This is much more than just ‘reading and writing’.

More about this later….

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threesixtyfivephotos – daily photo challenge

This year I decided to take up the challenge of posting at least one photo a day as part of a Flickr group challenge. I ended up creating the blog, threesixtyfivephotos, so that the daily photos and small amount of written description would have somewhere to live. Now that I’ve almost finished, I realise that this exercise has proved to be surprisingly more than I expected.

Here are some of the themes:

My stuff, what I love and why Day 29 Toys     Day 232 Stuff

My garden and its seasonal transformation, how it responds to extremes in temperature in the summer (fellow bloggers in North America have documented how their natural surroundings have responded to extremes in temperature in the winter – interesting for me since we don’t have snow) Day 31 Heat damage in the garden  Day 242 First blossom   Day 225 Winter garden  Day 269  Rain rain  Day 256 The whole blooming lot

Good friends Day 13 Getting together with friends

Odd things around the place Day 20 The burning giraffe

Favourite Routines Day 17 Victoria Market

Traditions   Day 6 Christmas eve  Day 358  Christmas eve   Day 109  Orthodox Easter

Family Dramas     Day 5 Sasha doesn’t get his year 12 results  Day234  19th birthday saga  Day 302 Fencing

My City of Melbourne   Day 178 Federation Square  Day 164 Royal Arcade  Day 339  City sights

Food preparation   Day 212 Guest Photographer makes tarts  Day 348  Christmas baking

School events   Day 210  School Gala

Overseas visitors   Day 206  PLP and bloggers’ dinner at Southbank

Milestones and triumphs     Day 197  16th birthday  Day 187  He has wheels  Day 238  Namesday  Day 264 Day of Triumph  Day 246  Still smiling about yesterday  Day 338  Last day of school

Holidays   Day 185  Heaven  Day 318 Back to Barwon Heads

Special occasions    Day 312  Anna and Pat’s wedding   Babies Day 172 Baby’s first communion  Engagement Day 297

Self-fulfilling prophesies   Day 265 Once upon a time and Day 266 Lalo Symphony Espagnole

Special things    Day 288 Russian carving

The photoblog has been a surprisingly rich journey without even trying to be. It’s like a time capsule of sorts. And best of all, it’s connected me in a personal way with people I would otherwise not communicate with.

This could work as an individual student or collaborative class project. Definitely. Just one photo and minimal written description a day.

Why don’t you try it?

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More great quotes about learning and change

Originally uploaded by colemama

I’m spending more and more time on Flickr. It’s a rich resource in terms of creativity and content. I wanted to remind you about the Group Great quotes about learning and change.  I’ve mentioned it before, so forgive me, but I think it’s worth featuring again.

greatquotes

 Contributors to this group add photos with quotations about 21st century education. I like the succinct way quotations express multiple ideas and concepts, but coupled with an apt image they are even more effective. These can be used as posters to stimulate thinking, to promote discussion or even to remind yourself daily of what’s worth thinking about.

Top contributors currently are Dean Shareski, Scott McLeod, Darren Kuropatwa, Langwitches and Darren Draper.

There are other people who are using images for conceptual purposes on flickr. I stumbled across a few today. Amongst these was Costel Mago who uses beautiful photos to support his insights.

Here’s one of his that resounds with me:

All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.

pidgeons

Personally, I find that I’m turning to images more and more for a powerful and succinct way to express ideas. Flickr is a well of shared thoughts and ideas, as well as images. Dont’ underestimate what you will find there. Find the message in the picture.

I’ve been finding so much that’s valuable to my personal and educational life on Flickr lately; I think I’ll write another post about what I’ve found for learning and teaching in Art. See you next post.

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Random facts I learned from Flickr today

They may be random, but I’m still learning.

Flickr is fun to browse, but more and more, I’m discovering Flickr to be an interesting way to learn. The photos take me into places I’ve never been, to things I normally wouldn’t see, often providing interesting background information.

Here are a few random things I learned from Flickr photos today

This photo was taken in Russia by seriykotik1970

russianbuilding

An art nouveau building near my office that was gutted by fire last week. Sadly it’ll now probably be demolished and ‘rebuilt’. In Moscow fires of this sort are often started deliberately by unscrupulous developers.
Designed by Lev Kekushev in about 1910.
Photographed in 2007

Turkish roosters are very colourful

turkishcock1

turkishcock2

Smarthistory is a group on Flickr which complements the website smarthistory.org. The purpose of this website and Flickr group is to enhance or replace the traditional art history textbook.

For example, you can learn about Matisse’s Red Studio from a short video using Flickr pictures of art collected by group members. 

Redstudiomatisse

If you read About Smarthistory, you will understand the motive behind the creation of this website and Flickr group:  

We are dissatisfied with the large expensive art history textbook. We find that they are difficult for many students, contain too many images, and just are not particularly engaging. In addition, we find the web resources developed by publishers to be woefully uncreative. We had developed quite a bit of content for our online Western art history courses and we had also created many podcasts, and a few screencasts for our Smarthistory blog. So, it finally occurred to us, why not use the personal voice that we use when we teach online, along with the multimedia we had already created for our blog and for our courses, to create a more engaging “web-book” that could be used in conjunction with art history survey courses. We also realized that this content would be useful to museum visitors and other informal learners. We are committed to joining the growing number of teachers who make their content freely available on the web.

Smarthistory is an excellent example of what can be done to create high-quality, free educational resources through collaboration. You’ll understand the scope of this project when you look at the site map which provides a hyperlinked timeline of art history. I also like to check out the discussion in groups.

The best thing about learning on Flickr is that you don’t expect to.  That’s why it’s so enjoyable.

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