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Created By: Matt Hamilton, Samantha Lippert, Harry Newell, Becki Labash, Deana Fandrei

Last updated by: Courtney Bemiller, Abby Sroda, and Steven Albertson on October 18, 2011

What are the uses of tumblr.? What does it do?

Tumblr. is a utility designed to make it easy for the user to post blogs, pictures, audio and video content of all types so that the user can share their content with other people in a single location.  Created from the tumblelog idea first created in 2005, tumblr. enhances this function for ease of use - it takes only seconds to set up an account and begin using tumblr.  Its usefulness presents itself to the user who wishes to display their personality in a way that combines mixed-media artifacts, perhaps writing compositions, photography, music, video footage, favorite quotations, links to favorite websites and so forth.  This use has educational ramifications.  For example, teachers can use this as a site for students to see different forms of text and visual information that the teachers want the students to learn. It can also be used by the students to give instant feedback and share their thoughts with other students.  With tumblr., there is no need to use one place to teach certain information and one to post about it, you can do both on one site. This makes it an easy tool to use in educational setting.  The objective of tumblr. was to be able to upload anything and everything quicker and easier than the previous photo or blog posting sites.  The way that people have been describing tumblr. is as a scrapbook blog, where you can include anything in a visual or text format using either free or purchased customizations.

As stated, the tumblelog idea was first created in 2005.  It was on a site called Anarchaia where you could post any digital text or file and share it with anyone in one single location.  The creator of Anarchia's name is Christian Neukirchen, who was inspired by the format of  Neukirchen's company, Ruby on Rails, put together the first tumblelog and put it on Anarchaia.  It was then bought by Fred Wilson and became public for everyone to share. 1

Listen to David Karp, the founder of tumblr., describe the objectives of the site and give a tour of the tumblr. headquarters.

David Karp Interview


Who uses tumblr?

I. History

I.1 Devolopment

David Karp founded tumblr. in 2006 because he wanted to have an identity online, not just a way to blog.  He moved to Japan when he was 17 to work for a site called Urban Baby, a parenting site for urban-living mom and dads.  In developing tumblr., Karp has found a way to make your page, personalize it, add anything you want ( pictures, video, text) without the commitment other sites have and it takes only seconds to sign up and begin using.  When asked about competition or money, Karp is more interested in seeing the company grow than being bought out and making money off it.  To read more about David Karp's vision of tumblr. and his strategies click on the link below. 2

David Karp's vision of Tumblr

I.2 How to Use tumblr.

To begin using tumblr., go to Once you have reached the home page, all you need to do is create an account to get started. To accomplish this, you have to put in a valid email address and create a password. Once this is completed, you will have access to your own tumblelog. You can change the style of your tumblelog by clicking on the customize tab on the top of the page. This allows you to change many aspects of your tumblelog to create an individualized feel to your web page. To get a better understanding of how to use tumblr., look at the following video:Tumblr. Tour

Adding text to your tumblelog log is as simple as clicking the text box on the tool bar provided on your homepage. You then can create a title for the text if you like and begin typing anything you would like in the text box. It also allows you to create lists and add pictures to your text by giving you simple tools in the tool bar. In this tool bar you can also change the font to make it bold, underlined, or italicized.  You are also given the option to spell check in order to make sure that your text post is grammatically correct. When adding a text post you are also capable of adding a URL link in order to connect directly to a website when referencing it in text. This text option makes it perfect for students and classes to add journal entries or type information for projects.

Adding photos to your website is easy to do. Like adding an attachment to any document, you simply click on the photo icon on the tumblr. web page and click the browse button. Once you have found the image you would like to add, simply select that image and upload it.  You are also given the option to upload a picture directly by selecting the '+ another photo' button or the option of taking a photo directly off of tumblr with the 'Take a photo!' button. Another option given to upload a photo is with the URL link.  This allows you to add a photo from a different website. Once this is accomplished you can add a caption to the photo. This works out great for classrooms that go on field trips and take pictures. Students can then add captions to pictures either describing what they were doing or possibly give valuable learning information about what was taken in the photo.

This is a section of tumblr. that allows you to add your favorite quotes easily onto your tumblr. web page. It functions the same way as adding text; however, it is formatted in a different place on your tumblelog. A great addition to your tumblelog web page, quotes can also be used in educational settings as well. Students can place quotes from their favorite authors and scientists right onto their teacher’s tumblr. web page.

The link tool allows you to add your favorite web sites so your viewers can visit them. One way this tool can be used educationally could be to have students create a tumblelog for a research project. They could add links to websites that give valuable information related to their topic.

This tool allows people to communicate on each other's tumblr. pages. In order to chat, the user must first select the chat tab on the tumblr. homepage. Once this page is reached and a title is given, the chat session begins. The discussion will be posted on the creator's tumblr. page so others can comment on the posts. This feature would be great for students because it would allow them to critique each other's work. It could also be used as a way for group members to communicate, making it easier to share ideas about assignments.

This tumblr. tool allows you to add MP3 clips to your tumblr. page. You simply click on the Audio tab and click browse to find the MP3 that you so wish to upload to your website. Once you have accomplished this all you need to do is add a description and click create post to add it to your site. There is a limit to 10MB an upload and only one MP3 a day so uploading a lot of audio files may take a decent amount of time. Being able to add audio files however allows someone to add a more personal touch to their tumblr. page.

In tumblr. you have two options for adding a video clip. The first is embedding a video from another website such as YouTube. You do this by simply adding the URL and any description you would like to the text boxes and click create post.

The other option you have is adding a video by using Vimeo. You will have to create an account with them and upload a video using their software. This sounds like a lot more work; however, it allows you to upload a video that you have found online or one that you have on your computer. To check out vimeo please click on the following link: Vimeo

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II. How tumblr. Relates to Other Applications

MP3 Players and Cell Phones

With the explosion of the Iphone and other interactive cell phones, many applications have been created to work with these devices. Tumblr. happens to be one of these applications that works incredibly well with such devices. You can access and post information on tumblr. with your Iphone/cell phone with ease as if you were on a personal computer. You can even add photos that you have taken straight from your phone and have an instant post.

Facebook and Twitter


It is now possible to have a tumblelog on the new updated Facebook as well as the newly updated Twitter. When the application for tumblr. is added to Facebook or Twitter, a new tab is added to the profile of the user. This tab will always be up to date without the hassle of having to click the refresh button which was required in the old application. By adding tumblr., you are able to post photos, audio, movies, quotes, text, and links. When you interact with tumblr. it then adds this information to your mini feed on Facebook, as well as directly linking the information onto your timeline on the Twitter application.


Firefox has a new extension called Tumblr Post that adds a task bar to your browser that is linked to your tumblelog. to your status bar. This tool lets you click and drag items directly from your browser into your tumblelog. This can be very useful, as it allows you to add information, pictures, music, and videos while you are surfing the Web. The extension is easy to use: all you have to do is right click on the media you want to share on your tumblelog and select "Post to my tumblelog" from the drop-down-list. Tumblr Post also comes with a useful feature that helps prevent plagiarism. When adding something to your tumblelog, the citations for the material are automatically included in the post.

II.1 Unique Ways to Use tumblr.

Another possible application of tumblr. is to raise awareness of artwork. Many people that are involved in the tumblr. community use their pages to display paintings, sculptures, and other personal creations. They do this in the hope of attracting a public audience or an organization that can represent them.  Tumblr. also allows teachers to post information such as course syllabi or directions for a project directly to their sites. Teachers can post examples of projects and samples from past students who have done superior work, allowing students to understand what's required of them.  Not only can teachers use the site, but students can make their own pages with information about themselves.

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III. Real World Application  

III.1 Educational Lesson Plans
i. Elementary Lesson Plan

Let's Make a Color Book: 1st Grade Art |Tumblr^Lets make a color book.docx||||||||||||||||||||||||\            pdf version|Tumblr^Lets make a color book.pdf||||||||||||||||||||||||\

Overview: The purpose of this lesson is to have the student’s make a tumblr. page that has a collage using pictures or drawings that contain a certain color. They will show what color they were assigned without using words. They will have to find pictures, videos, or whatever else they can find to portray that color.

I Get Up When I tumblr.docx .I Get Up When I tumblr.pdf

Overview: The purpose of this lesson plan is to engage the students in writing about a time in their life when they had to get back up after a difficult time. Using and marking five strong adjectives, the students will create a tumblelog on the teacher's tumblr page, type their story and insert a picture.

ProjectII-EDCI270.docx ProjectII-EDCI270.pdf

Overview: The purpose of this lesson plan is to show the students how to be descriptive of different aquatic life animals. Using 5 different description words, they will comment on the 5 images previously uploaded of aquatic life animals on their tumblelog. This lesson plan also helps the students begin to have knowledge of different blogging sites. 

ii. Secondary Lesson Plans

Optimization: High School Calculus

Project II Plan.docx Project II Plan.pdf

Overview: The purpose of this lesson is to teach students the principles of optimization and the importance of collaboration in mathematics.

Making a Zoo Book: 6th Grade Science (S.T.E.M.)|Tumblr^Making a zoo book.docx||||||||||||||||||||||||\             pdf version|Tumblr^Lets make a color book.pdf||||||||||||||||||||||||\

Overview: The purpose of this lesson is to make a picture book from photos that students have taken at the zoo, found on the internet or scanned from home. Students will create a short story using these pictures.

Who's Your Hero? 10th Grade English|Tumblr^whos your hero.docx||||||||||||||||||||||||\              pdf version|Tumblr^whos your hero.pdf||||||||||||||||||||||||\

Overview: The purpose of this lesson is to have the students make a video or collage of their hero.

Where's the Best College? 11th Grade English|Tumblr^Wheres the best college.docx||||||||||||||||||||||||\  pdf version|Tumblr^Wheres the best college.pdf||||||||||||||||||||||||\

 Overview: The purpose of this lesson is to have the students tell about what college they think is the best and make a tumblr. page about that college.

iii. Post Secondary Lesson Plans

Multicultural Class Journal: College Level|Tumblr^Multi Class Journal.docx||||||||||||||||||||||||\          pdf version|Tumblr^Multi Class journal.pdf||||||||||||||||||||||||\

Overview: The purpose of this assignment is to think and to be a part of something that is not part of the student's life. The assignment is to go to a University organized meeting that is about something that you do not encounter a lot in your life. A couple of examples of these are a meeting of a race or a religion that is not your own.

Creative Writing: College Level Writing               pdf version

Overview: The purpose of this lesson is to get students in a creative writing class to have the opportunity for people in the world to review and critique the student's work. This will give the students real-world criticism that they will need for a future in writing.

III.2 Business/Industry

Tumblr. can be a very useful tool in the business world.  Tumblr. would be very helpful for international companies because it is a good medium to share photos and sketches because it can be uploaded easily and quickly and then people in the other country can receive the information and comment through the blogs.  It is also a useful for communication. On tumblr. you are able to can hold virtual meetings through tumblr. and share ideas.  Tumblr. is ideal for sharing information quickly, which is important in an international business.


Given the tumblr. website, marketing/ advertising professionals will be able to upload sketches and drafts of proposed ideas quickly and easily and share internationally.


  • Computer
  • Internet Access
  • Graphics


  1. Create user login by following explained steps at the tumblr. website
  2. Create proposed plan to share at meeting by posting graphics and adding text and backgrounds and/or music
  3. Post blog, to explain the work created
  4. Respond to replies to blog about work and share ideas with people internationally instantaneously

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IV. Demonstration of Educational Value

While tumblr. may not have been used officially in the past in the classroom, it now can have a purpose in the classroom. Art teachers are able create a space where students can upload art or written works.  It also could be a fun way to do class introductions. The teacher could assign the class to upload pictures and things they enjoy doing. This way the teacher and other students get know each other better.  With the class introduction idea, you could focus on how as people we have a lot in common with each other and how genetically we are not very different at all.  Students can be told to look and see what they have in common with the other students and decide how genetics can play a part in their lives, (Nature vs. Nurture). Science teachers could have their students to bring in old photos of their great grandparents and other members of their family in order to create a genealogy and study genetics. In chemistry, students can be given an element and do research to see the importance of that element.  Is it found naturally in the environment, what are its chemical properties, etc?  Students can create a site for their elements, and they can teach them to the class, or use the other student's sites to study.  These are just basic ideas because we all know that as teachers it is our job to create new and exciting ways to reach out to students and integrate technology into our classrooms.

Here's an idea for a history class.  Have each student take a famous person in history such as past presidents, war heroes, influential people, and have them create a tumblr. page.  The students would act as if they were that person in history and write about their past accomplishments what they have done for their country and any other facts.  They could include pictures of that person and where they lived.  For example, General Patton had a beloved dog, so include a picture of him and his puppy.

Unfortunately, there is no real security on tumblr. and there is not a guarantee that all of the text, audio, and visual is suitable for a classroom. Teachers and parents should use extra precaution when a child is using the tumblr. website. One way a teacher can combat the safety issue is to not have their students make a tumblr. account and in that way they are not in danger from being esposedto predetors. Tumblr. is different from other 2.0 sites in a way that you do not have to have an active account in order to view other people's profiles.   

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V. How tumblr. Is Used Internationally

Tumblr. could be really helpful in a business setting.  A large number of companies are going international now, and it would be really efficient for them to use tumblr. as a medium to share proposals.  For example, say they were building an office in Japan, tumblr. could help in showing pictures and information on the progress of the new company. Instantly, people all over the world could respond and give feedback.
Tumblr. could be used to advertise for your business. You could display a new product that you would like to publicize. Since the internet is very popular, this would be a good way to use free advertising.  This way respondents could also give you feedback on how they think it will work or if there is anything that they think would work better.

One of the benefits that tumblr. users have, is that it allows is the ability to access information from people around the world. Tumblr. users have the ability to access blogs, art work, music, photos, etc from individuals located anywhere. The boundaries of distance have been eliminated which allows for communication across the globe. Students can now work with each other from miles away and can blog information and visual items with ease.

Tumblr. could also be used to help with teaching new clients about your business. You would be able to upload video's about your company, brochures, pictures of how you would like certain things to look and also training video's if you are wanting to train new employees.

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VI. Additional Resources

For a quick overview of ways tumblr. can be used in the classroom, check out the tumblr. Brochure.

tumblr. brochure|Tumblr^tumblr||||||||||||||||||||||||\

PDF tumblr. Brochure|Tumblr^tumblr. brochure PDF.pdf||||||||||||||||||||||||\

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VII. References

[1] Karp, D. tumblr. Home Page. Retreived November 9, 2008 from

[2] Tumblr's path from Anarchaia to Fred Wilson. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2008 from http:////

[3] Allen, J. (2000). World Icons. In Free Icons. Retrieved December 3, 2008, from Website:

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  1. Welcome Tumblr group,

    My name is Matt and I'll be the project manager for this project so feel free to come to me with any questions or concerns you may have. My goal is to get a superior rating, 94%, on this project so we all do not have to take the final. I'm currently adding pages to our project to get the initial outline of the project completed. At any time you may change or alter these web pages, the current pages are just to get the outline of the project started. The time line for this project is pretty quick. I added a Schedule page so you can see when we have to accomplish certain tasks. If everyone could introduce themselves on the Tumblr Team Introductions page that would be great. This way we can get to know each other a little better.

    During this project we need to complete the following questions:

    a. What is the title of the application? Who developed it?
    b. What is the purpose of the application (that is, what does it do)?
    c. How does it work? Briefly, what does one have to do to start using it?
    d. How is it related to other applications (that is, can it be used in
    conjunction with other applications)?
    e. What are some unique ways of using this application?
    f. How could the application be used within an educational/learning
    1) elementary
    2) secondary
    3) post secondary
    4) business/industry
    g. What are some examples (e.g., web sites) of it being used to illustrate its
    current educational value or potential value?
    h. For those teams with international partners, how is the application used in
    their countries? Are there unique features of the application that may be
    more relevant to those outside of the US?

    Well I know this is a lot all at once, so if you have any questions let me know. I'm going to send out an email tonight, 10/29/08 to let you know whats going on this week. I'm sorry if this is kind of confusing right now, but just give it some time and hopefully it will all start to make more sense.

  2. Unknown User (lippert)

    Matt- Will you make a child or something for the lesson plans? I don't know where to put them.

    1. Sure will, You can also add children too. just click the add child page

  3. Hi, Nice to meet you.
    First my name is Seul-A Kim, I'm Ewha womans unversity student.
    Frankly I worry whether I can help you with working together because of communication in another language.
    But I think I'm enthusiastic person so I'll do my best in this project.
    I hope this project goes on really well also Im sure that its gonna be really great experience for us.
    Let's work together.

    1. Hi (smile)

       I'm so glad to meet you. 

       My name is boyong. I'm Ewha womans university student and i major in educational technology.

       I'm so sorry that my poor English ability too.

       However, I'll try to use my utmost endeavors.

       Plese forgive me even though I make few mistakes.

       Thank you.

  4. Hello everyone,

      This is what we covered in the Project Managers meeting tonight:

    In the next week we need to:

     -Finish draft with added media (includes presentation materials)
     -Organize information onto one page ( much like the wikipedia format)
      *This will be put on a different page/ not the one we are in now
       (I will explain in lab, I know its confusing)
     -We will be turning it into next week Nov.17
     -Have references formatted like in wikipedia
       (We need to make sure we are referencing material where we are getting info.)
     -There will be a formating guide for the final wiki
     -We need to be teacher oriented, What kind of info would you want to find if you were a teacher?
     - Presentation
        -need computers
     -Think of back up plans

    Well that is what we covered in our meeting, if you have any questions or concerns let me know. Thanks again for all your help and work on the wiki.

                        Matt Hamilton

  5. Unknown User (evanlani)

    Hey guys I'm from the MSO Live group. I just wanted to tell you I really like your front page. It looks very well done and professional. Great Job!

  6. Unknown User (rwoerner)

    Hi, I'm from the flickr group, I wrote the code to make the final page. This is how you make text next to a photo:

    (insert photo here)
    (insert text here)

    you can play around with the sizes of the columns by changing the percents.

  7. this is result by team EWHA.

    I wish that it helps our project.

    Korea web.ppt

    I will survey difference between tumblr and korean website.

    also I will put on how does tumbler work at korean website as soon as I figure out.