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Flickr is a Web 2.0 application that offers both free and paid accounts for photo and video sharing. This application is relatively free; however, if the user creates more than 3 sets of photographs or organizes the photographs into more than 3 groups, then the user will be required to upgrade to a Pro account that includes a cost. Flickr has over thousands of photograph collections, which users can view or add comments and annotations. Through its many features of groups, contacts, and The Commons, Flickr facilitates the growth of connections and relationships with fellow users by sharing not only photographs but also the experiences and stories behind the photographs.[1]

Flickr is growing steadfast in its usage in the educational setting. As one student described social networking as the "possible exploration of education" Flickr can be used effectively and efficiently in the educational classroom to actively involve students in their learning. With more than two billion images [8] available for photo-sharing, this Web 2.0 technology is becoming more popular in higher educational settings. Flickr has the ability to connect classrooms globally and provide the opportunity for students to see other cultures. According to Educause Learning Initiative, "students who are engaged with content demonstrate better learning outcomes and visual media facilitates that sense of connection to subject material.[1]



History

In February 2004, Flickr was brought to life by Ludicorp, which is a computer-based company that is also known for creating the Game Neverending. In March 2005, the Yahoo Company acquired Ludicorp, and Flickr became one of its many applications.[3] When the Flickr application was created, the co-founders, Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake, had two main goals in mind. The first being to help people share their creative abilities with their friends and family as well as people all over the world. This goal is achieved through photo and video sharing, e-mail, and blogging. The second goal is to help people organize their photos and videos in an innovative way. This can be done by arranging the photos into sets or groups as well as being able to add tags, notes and comments by others. [12]

The masterminds behind this Web 2.0 application are Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake. When Flickr was started, Stewart Butterfield was the president of Ludicorp,and Caterina Fake was the vice president of marketing and community. We had the unique opportunity to correspond with Caterina Fake, who is a world renowned web designer. According to Caterina Fake, Flickr is "an infinite National Geographic, a family photo album, a place to meet, a place to show off, a creator of world peace and mutual understanding, a thing of beauty, a social network, a brilliantly designed piece of software, the original web 2.0 site, a wonder, a source of inspiration, a mirror of the world".[2]

How to Use Flickr?

Getting started is just as easy as entering a user name and password. All that you need to obtain a Flickr account is a Yahoo! account, because Flickr is a division of Yahoo!. Once your you have logged on, using your Yahoo! account information, Flickr will give you options to set your profile up, upload photos and find your friends. These are the basic functions of Flickr; however, there are other options once you've uploaded your photos. For example you are able to sort your photos into albums and then view them in a slide show.
The following videos will help you start using Flickr:


Unique Features of Flickr

Flickr has many unique applications throughout its site that helps categorize it as "certainly the best photo management and sharing application in the world" according to Caterina Fake, one of the co-founders to Flickr. The special features that Flickr has to offer to each user enable the user to successfully share their creative abilities with the world and to organize the photographs in a set manner. The following discusses the unique applications that Flickr offers:

FlickrMail - In today's Web 2.0 world, electronic mail is a universal aspect of the internet. However, any email that is received on your Flickr account is also sent to your Yahoo! account. In addition, you do not need to remember the email address of your recipient. Instead, you select who the email is being addressed to from your list of contacts. This is very beneficial in the way if the email in the Flickr account is deleted, then there is another copy of it in the Yahoo! account. [1]

Groups - Although Flickr is known for its photo-sharing capabilities, it has a unique feature of building networks and relationships with other users who share a common interest. This feature offers a search engine, where you simply type in keywords that describe the interest and within a few seconds, hundreds of groups are found that have this common interest. The group feature offers the ability to browse photographs from other users, add comments or annotations to the photographs, and has a discussion board for members of the group to chat with one another. [1]



[5]




[4]


Contacts - With this feature, the user can search for family or friends that are also have Flickr accounts, can list who is in the user's network, or the user can personally invite other friends who have yet to create a Flickr account. In addition, the user can be notified when any contact has recent uploads of photographs for the user to browse and comment on. [1]

The Commons- This is one of the newest features that has been recently added to Flickr to allow the public to view archives of historical photographs. Flickr has created a partnership with the Library of Congress in which 3,100 images are available for the public access to these collections of historical photographs, and for the public to add any comments to the photographs that may enhance the knowledge about that time era [8]

Privacy Settings- The user has the option for any photograph to be either available to the public eye or only available for the user to view. In addition, the user can select other privacy settings of who can view the photographs, meaning the user can allow only certain users to view the photographs. [1]


How does Flickr Directly Impact You?

Flickr is all about sharing content with family, friends and people from all around the world. But how does this apply to you? As a teacher, this innovative application allows the usage of new technology in the educational classroom to promote social learning. In one setting, multiple classes can collaborate with each other through the use of pictures and videos to enhance the students' learning. Not only will the students gain knowledge of usage of this new technology in today's world, but also will connect to cultures all across the globe. In the business world, corporations can share photos and videos to enhance the accessibility to global business partners.

Below are more specific examples of ways to use Flickr in your occupation. For teachers particularly, there are four separate categories of elementary, junior high, high school or college level. Within those sections there are sample lesson plans of how to use Flickr in the educational classroom setting and Flickr in their daily studies.

Elementary Level
Below is a sample writing lesson plan geared towards second and third graders.

In addition to a writing lesson, Flickr can be used for students to create photo-journals of current events or field trips. It can also be used for students to gain a better understanding of the world's geography through the photographs obtained from distance learning.

Junior High Level
Below is a sample vocabulary lesson plan on taking previously learned knowledge about vocabulary and actively applying it to photographs.

High School Level
Below is a sample process lesson plan that focuses on teamwork, the planning process, and the usage of a Web 2.0 Application.

College Level
Below is a sample lesson plan for an English class to create a process-analysis photography project. The project would require each student to show a process of performing some task step-by-step visually through photographs.

Example of process-analysis projects: http://flickr.com/groups/visualstory/ [10]

Business Setting

Flickr is a useful application in the business setting, in the case if a presentation is needed to be created, it can be made into a slideshow on Flickr. Flickr allows access to the world through both photographs and videos. Consequently, if an employee is in another part of the world, then they can easily upload photos or videos to share his or her progress with the company. In addition, information that needs to remain private can be uploaded onto Flickr by changing the privacy settings to limit who can view the information. Any information that is uploaded onto Flickr is copyrighted by the creator. Thus, if the creator feels any information that has been used without consent, the Yahoo! Copyright Agency can be contacted.

Here is a link to view examples of how companies are currently using Flickr in the business setting:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/luchilu/2610864240/[14]

 

Flickr and other Web 2.0 Applications

Although Flickr is "almost certainly the best online phot management and sharing application in the world [1], there are other Web 2.0 applications that are quite similar with a few differences.

One such Web 2.0 application is Picasa, a photo organizing and editing application owned by Google. Picasa has many similar features to Flickr, such as creating web albums, sharing photographs with friends, family or for anyone to view, add tags to each photograph, and search through photographs of public albums. However, the main difference between Picasa and Flickr, is Picasa is completely free to download and use. This application has 1 gigabyte of free storage, which can store about 4,000 wallpaper-size photos. With Flickr, a user can only create 3 photo albums for free. If a user wants to create more albums, then the user must upgrade to a FlickrPro account for $24.95 a year. In addition, Flickr is more of a social networking site than Picasa. [15]

Another similar Web 2.0 application is CyWorld, which has been in existence since 1999. Currently, this application is used frequently in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the United States. Eventually, CyWorld will be introduced in Europe, South America, and India. Cyworld has very similar features to Flickr by being a social networking site that offers connecting with friends by joining clubs, uploading and sharing both photos and videos, and personalizing a profile. [9]




Global Usage

Flickr can be used for many global uses. It can be used in both schools and the work place to share photos throughout the world. It allows one user to upload photographs in one part of the world, and another user to view them on the opposite end of the world. For example, photographers can upload pictures on one side of the world and their boss or editor can view them right away.  This is an excellent asset for companies with branches all over the world or with field agents. 

Flickr is currently being used in classrooms all across the world to gain a further insight into different cultures and to enhance educational learning by being a teaching tool. In Japan, a class is currently using Flickr to learn the English language. The teacher has students upload photographs onto their profile, and then describe each photograph in English. By integrating Flickr into the curriculum, this allows the students to link the English language visually.[2] In New Zealand, a class is using Flickr to study structures from around the world. With this project, the class shares the photographs with students who are doing the same project in other parts of the world. To learn more about this specific example of global usage of Flickr, follow the hyperlink to view the New Zealand class:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/85689937@N00/[13]

Although Flickr has been in existence since 2004 and has become a popular photo-sharing application, Flickr has yet to fully develop in certain countries. One specific country is Korea. Until a year ago, the usage of Flickr was blocked. Since Flickr was just introduced in Korea, it has yet to gain in popularity, as other photo-sharing applications such as CYWorld. [9] However, other countries have completely banned Flickr due to controversial photos of religious or political views.[11]

References

[1]. ^Flickr

[2]. ^personal email from Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr

[3]. ^Flickr on Wikipedia

[4]. ^Flickr: Search for a group - teacherFlickr: Search for a group - teacher

[5]. ^The Commons of Flickr

[6]. ^"Setting Up Flickr," Instructional videos by Robert Woerner

[7]. ^"Setting Up Profile," Instructional videos by Robert Woerner

[8]. ^7 Things You Should Know About... Flickr

[9]. ^Cyworld

[10]. ^Flickr: Tell a story in 5 frames (Visual story telling)

[11]. ^Media Shift. YouTube, Flickr Become Forces for Cultural Change 

[12]. ^About Flickr

[13]. ^Pt England School, Auckland, NZ - Around the World in Eighty Day

[14]. ^My students on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

[15]. ^Picasa

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