I’ve been trying to figure out a way to set up an organized and easy photo sharing system for my students to access on their iPads. I used to have students copy anchor charts into their notebooks. But I always suspected that I might be harming my own goals. Afterall, a student can’t really engage when they are trying to copy everything down. That’s not to say that they don’t need to learn note-taking because they do. But copying is not note-taking nor is it really teaching note-taking.
Why did I start this practice in the first place? Perhaps on some level I thought it might keep them more engaged, but really I wanted to have a record of lessons that they could refer back to. I can’t keep up every chart we’ve ever made for every subject all year! I know, I tried once.
Hence the idea to use Flickr. My thinking was that a student archivist could be responsible for photographing, titling, and tagging the lessons for the week and then upload them to a Flickr group. Then students could access these photos at any time then needed. The tagging would ensure that they were organized and easy to find. Plus, students would learn a little bit about the purpose of tagging and how to use search terms in order to locate things.
As with many things on the iPad once I come up with what I want to do, I have to find a way to do it. My parameters were that I really needed the Apps to be free and I needed to find a way for students to view the photos without having a Flickr account. After a lot of experimenting and a lot of deleted apps this is what I’ve come up with…so far.
Students can use the App Flickit to upload photos. Because it requires a few steps and access to my Flickr account I decided that we would have a new class job, “Archivist.” That way I don’t have to go around logging in everyone and I can take away access to the account when a new student takes over the job. I also like this because the students will need to title and tag the photos very carefully, so I would prefer to coach them more individually on this skill. As you can see from the image below the interface is very simple which is key for students. The only drawback is that it’s an iPhone App so it has that half screen appearance or is pixelated when enlarged, but for a free app that meets my needs I can live with it
A few settings need to be addressed in this App. One is that you need to set the default metadata to make pictures public, otherwise you will need to go into your account and make each picture public each time. Because the viewing apps that do not require accounts to view photos only view public photos, your photos have to be public. So for the time being my use will be strictly limited to photos of anchor charts and class helps. Students will not be allowed to take pictures of each other to share. (which is probably for the best since fifth graders can be really silly with pictures.) As an added precaution I also turned off the geolocation feature on the app as well as any geolocation, searchability, or ability to add my photos to galleries through my Flickr account.
Finding an App for viewing the photos that was free was not as easy. After many tests and wasted dollars I finally settled on a pretty decent App called Flickrdecks. This App is simple, easy to use, and I think will serve my purposes well. Although it’s designed to create “decks” of photos based on interests, you can also create a deck by searching for a username. So, all my students have to do is make a deck by typing in my username and they can easily view all of the photos uploaded to my account.
However, I did not find a way for them to search the deck of my photos using tags, which is a little sad. They can search, but it seems to only search the title of the photos. So, in order to keep things organized, I’ve created a standard naming protocol for each photo. Notice the space between each word, this is key for making the search function work. I tried it with a date but it didn’t seem to recognize numbers, I suppose you could use a month, or unit title as well.
Subject Chart Title
Reading Guidelines For Independent Reading
Students can then search the title or the subject. If the student taps the photo they can make it a favorite by clicking a star, adding a further level of organization. The only setting that I adjusted in this app was through the settings screen on the iPad and that was to turn on the “Log out from Social Networks” feature.
I’m really excited to get going with this plan and like most things with the iPad, I hope it works.