Flickr Fun: Mash-Ups!

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Boy, there are some really neat Flickr Mash-Ups out there!  This was actually another one of those humbling assignments that made me realize just how much I *don’t* know about the tools that are available on the web.  I just keep repeating to myself, “How do you eat the elephant?  One bite at a time!”

The first application I played with is Montager, which creates mosaics from Flickr photos that are searched out based on a tag name of your choice.  At first I didn’t see a practical use for it, but the more I played with it, the more I realized what a neat tool it is.  It would be a new and creative way to compile photos from a particular event and display them on a website, or you could use it on a school webpage to display photos of your faculty and staff.  (With their permission, of course.)

Next I looked at the Big Huge Labs website and tried out the Captioner application, which allows you to add speech and thought bubbles to your photos.  This caught my attention because I thought students would enjoy seeing photos turned into cartoons.  (In fact, back in the day, I used to buy caption bubble stickers to use on the “real” photos I displayed on my media center bulletin board!)  Here is my creation:

SCASL Apple

Original Image: ‘Yummy Apples
www.flickr.com/photos/23078991@N05/2796325875

Mash-up created with Flickr Toys.

I have two caveats for those who want to use this tool.  First, you cannot upload or import Bitmap photos to be captioned; they need to be in the JPEG format.  The apple photo that I found at Flickr CC was originally a bitmap image, so I had to convert it in order to caption it.  I used my Microsoft Paint program to do that by opening the photo in paint and then saving it, choosing “jpeg” from the Save drop-down file type menu.  Easy and free!

Second, you need to start with a large image because the caption bubbles are too big to fit onto a small photo.  You can shrink it down after you’ve created and saved it to whatever size you want to use.  I had originally saved my apple photo using the “small” option, so I had to go back to the Flickr site and re-save it as a large photo.

 

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Life-Long Learning

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I just finished viewing the 7 1/2 Habits of Lifelong Learners video, which was interesting to me because it presents a different viewpoint of learning – putting the learner in control of the process and outcome.  Too many of us in education keep all of the learning “power” in our own hands, rather than allowing our students to make decisions.  Even within a set curriculum, there ought to be room to factor in the interests and strengths of the individual learner, perhaps in the topic chosen, the resources used, or the end products created.  Starting now, I plan to look for ways to give students more freedom of choice when it comes to projects.

The easiest of the habits for me is accepting responsiblity for my own learning.  I have always been willing to read and research new things, attend workshops and trainings, and play around with available technologies.  Although not a digital native, I attended college in the 80s when computers were beginning to be widely used, so I’ve used them enthusiastically throughout my professional life.

Ironically, the most difficult habit for me can be using technology to make my life easier.  That’s because sometimes it seems as though the amount of time it takes to become proficient with an application outweighs the time that will be saved in the end, or that the time to learn a new skill just isn’t available at all.  It’s probably Habit #1, Begin With the End in Mind, that will help with this problem.  If I can pinpoint a particular task and recognize that there is a more efficient way to accomplish it, then I can feel good about taking the necessary time to become familiar with the new way of doing things.

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23 Things

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I’m excited about doing the 23 Things with other S.C. media specialists!  This summer I started doing All Together Now: A 2.0 Learning Experience from the School Library Journal website.  I stopped after learning that SCASL was offering a similar program, but even the few exercises that I completed through the SLJ website have already changed the way I do my job. 

For example, I knew I wanted to start a systematic technology training program for my teachers this year, and my original plan was just to communicate with them via email.  It was the SLJ Blog Thing that led me to create a blog – Technology Teasers for Teachers – to organize and disseminate the information I knew my teachers would need.

Thanks to everyone at SCASL who has worked and is working so hard to provide these tutorials!  Your time and effort is greatly appreciated!

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