Photo-Sharing Web Sites: Sites Such as Flickr and Webshots Are Exploding in Popularity
Dyrli, Odvard Egil, District Administration
Jamie Reinsch has always taken photographs wherever she went. And as an educator who used her summers to travel to watch a space launch, see sea turtle nesting sites, and participate in professional conferences, she has plenty of interesting photos to share with students and colleagues. Now, thanks to new Web sites, this teacher and teacher educator from South Carolina has an easy way to post photos for everyone to see.
With the tremendous growth of digital photography and the ease of uploading and accessing pictures online, the use of photographs for educational applications has never been greater. There is no film to develop, the pictures don't fade over time, imperfections can be corrected with editing programs, and it is easy to take and erase countless pictures to get the best shots.
Most school districts now feature photographs on their Web sites, and teachers and students may be trying to keep track of hundreds and even thousands of photos. For this reason, users are turning to free and inexpensive photo-sharing Web sites to organize, store, display and distribute their growing collections. Online photos can be viewed as slide shows, downloaded, printed out and e-mailed. But in spite of the explosive growth of such sites--research by Infotrends estimates that 59 million people in the U.S. used a photo-sharing site last year--K-12 educators are struggling with how, or even if, to embrace this developing technology.
For example, New York's Ossining Union Free School District uses the free Flickr photo-sharing site extensively, and offers scores of online galleries with photos from various district activities. Student names and personal information are never induded as security precautions, but thanks to such photo collections posted throughout the year, the Ossining community is always connected to its schools.
Across the country, but poles apart in thinking about photo-sharing sites, the Seattle Public Schools recently blocked all access to Flickr because of objectionable content on the site. …