Common Sense Review
Updated March 2012

Flickr

Popular sharing site potentially useful as a classroom photo resource
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Common Sense Rating 3
  • You can find some incredible photography on the site.
  • The Flickr Commons catalogs and tags historical photos.
  • Check the map for geotagged photos.
  • Flickr's interface is very easy to use.
  • To share content, you can join or create a specialized group.
Pros
Many Flickr photos are under Creative Commons licenses, which means you can freely use them in the classroom.
Cons
It's easy to stumble upon inappropriate content.
Bottom Line
Make use of some incredible photographs in your classroom, but don't let students wander astray on the site.
Michelle Kitt
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Teens will find this a hip place to store, manage, and share digital photos and videos and view other users' photos from around the world. It can be really fun; there's some beautiful photography to see on Flickr.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

As teens decide how to manage photos, what photos to see, and how to mingle with others in the Flickr community, they build digital literacy and social networking skills.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

The site is easy enough to use that teens won't need much guidance. Users can find most questions answered in the Help Forum and FAQs.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

You can browse Flickr for public domain pictures that fit into your lesson plans; there's some incredible choices to be found there, and the Creative Commons license means you can share the images with your classroom. Ask kids to post an old family photo to the Commons and tag it with historical and personal information, or you can choose a photo and ask them to research it. Allowing kids to roam entirely free on the site probably isn't the best idea; even if you have the site's filters on, some questionable material can pop up.

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What's It Like?

Flickr provides a place for students to upload, organize, and share their digital photos and videos. A free membership to the site includes a huge amount of storage per month. A pro membership -- with an unlimited amount of storage -- is also available for an annual fee. All memberships come with your own Web page, complete with personalized URL. When kids upload things to their personal accounts, they choose who can see them: family, friends, or the public. Emails with links to their page are sent to family and friends. If users choose the public setting, visitors to Flickr (not necessarily members) can find images and videos by searching tags or member profiles.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Students can learn from engaging with people and photos. "Geotagging" allows older kids to pin their photos to a location. They can also learn about other cultures this way. The Current Events and Commons (a project that tags historical photos) sections expose kids to science and history with a personal twist. An historical photo may be interesting on its own, but a user comment with a firsthand account gives meaning and context to it.

Kids can create a photostream with simple tools, contribute to Flickr's social experience with comments, or view photostreams from sources such as NASA, the White House, and the Library of Congress. Flickr empowers kids by letting them control what they upload, share, and post. More built-in feedback to help kids with photography or social skills would augment the experience.

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