The easiest place for teachers and students to begin experimenting with
creating and publishing content other than text is with digital photography,
a technology that is becoming more and more accessible every day.
Fairly high-resolution digital cameras can be had for as little as $ 1 00 these
days, and most are easy enough for even elementary school students to use
productively. And some camera phones can shoot pictures that are of a highenough
quality to be used in the classroom. And simple software to edit and
resize these photos is available for free on the Web. In short, teachers and
students can now include digital images in their list of things they can create
in the classroom.
More importantly, in the context of the ReadlWrite Web, there are a
growing number of ways to publish these photos to the Web easily and
cheaply. In fact, some of the best photo-hosting sites offer free hosting for
quite a large number of photos, and they allow users to create albums and
multimedia shows that can be shared with friends and family.
But it doesn't end there, and from an educational standpoint, this is
where the real fun starts. Imagine not only being able to put your own or your
students' photos on the Web to share with other audiences-what if you
could invite other people from around the globe to have discussions about
those images? What if you and your students could annotate them with your
own descriptions and observations? What if you could become a part of a
community that contributes images of similar topics for you to consume?
And what if you could consume those images via an RSS feed so anytime a
new picture was added about a topic you were studying it would automatically
come to you?
That's the potential of Flickr.com, which has become the Web-based digital
photography portal of choice for many educators. To be sure, there are other
online sites that offer to host images, but Flickr has evolved into something
much more than just a photo publishing space. And, since the last edition of
this book, it's evolved into a video-hosting site as well. Personally, I think
Flickr is one of the best sites on the Web. It's true social software where the
contributors interact and share and learn from each other in creative and
interesting ways. And for that reason, it's educational potential is huge.
Why consider posting images or video to the Web in the first place?
From a classroom standpoint, think about the ability to capture daily events
or highlights and easily share those with parents, community, and colleagues.
Field trips, speakers and visitors, special projects, and much more could
become a part of any classroom's "photo stream" and could be a great way
of sharing the teaching and learning experience. And what better way