Random Thoughts

The Best $25 Your School will Spend this Year

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Flickr Logo by ipodfan1.Of course I’m talking about a Flickr Pro Account. Flickr has to be the one website that I would say is definitly worth the $25 you’ll spend and can benefit every teacher in the school. There is no way, I don’t care how big or small your school is that for $25 you can create, maintain, and support:

  • Unlimited uploads and storage
  • Unlimited sets and collections
  • Access to your original files

That word unlimited is where it’s worth its weight in gold. We’re in our second year of using Flickr here at ISB and we’ve found it so useful that we bought three accounts one for the Elementary, Middle School, and High School. Yes, that’s right we’ve spend a whopping $75 just to keep the levels separate. Of course the elementary teachers are using it the most and training them to create a set using their name was easy….much easier than teaching them how to resize a photo for their blog or newsletter.

But of course that’s not all you get with Flickr. Once the pictures are on the web you can then push them out to any website you want using their embeddable slideshow. So for example you can have the latest pictures from PreK filing your website.

In the Elementary each grade level team has created a set called “Grade Level Slideshow” any pictures put in this set when uploaded end up in the slide shows they have embedded on their class blogs. Some teachers have done this just for their class as well.

And if unlimited space, and the ability to show photos in numerous ways on numerous web pages isn’t enough for you. How about allowing parent access to download the size and quality of picture they want to keep. Parents can access the pictures and download them to their computer for safe keeping. No longer do you the teacher have to send home a CD of pictures for the year. The parents are now in control of that throughout the school year and only keep the pictures they want.

Know Your School Rules:
Of course right away if you visit our Flickr accounts above you’ll notice we have all our pictures open to the public and we show student faces. If teachers are following the rules you shouldn’t find any names however. This of course leads to understanding and knowing your school rules for picture usage. Some schools don’t allow student faces on the web, while others do without names and of course there is all sorts of gray area in between. Understand what your school allows and then just follow those rules. It’s pretty easy and quick to learn to take pictures of the back of kids, or over their shoulders real quick. Or quickly bring a photo into some sort of photo editing program and apply a filter that distorts the faces.

Create a Friend Account:
If you do want to allow parents access to pictures of students at school, a simple work around is to create another Flickr account and make it a “friend” of the school account. This of course opens up other issues such as now they can upload pictures to that friend account, and if someone leaks the password within the school community well, it might as well be public.

In the end there are ways around these issues and for $25 you really can’t go wrong. Unlimited space to store photos….that’s just crazy!!

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


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  5. Chris Walker Reply

    Sounds great. Frustratingly, our school doesn’t even allow teachers access to flickr (let alone kids). So all educational benefits are lost. I would like use your post to help build a case for unblocking. Any other helpful links/posts on this? Thanks!

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  8. While I agree that $25/year is money well spent for photo hosting, I have to wonder if this violates Flickr’s terms of service or user agreement. Most sites prohibit the sharing of a premium account login- a logical business model.

    I perused the TOS but couldn’t read through all the legal jargon to make a judgment on this- besides, it would be a jury or judge’s call that really matters.

    I know that for my district, this is not something we’d ever do without express written consent from Flickr/Yahoo.

    Do you have that written permission or are you subscribing to the philosophy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” here? It seems to me that you’d really want to cover your tail!

  9. Our school district blocks flickr. I’d like to know how you convinced your district to allow access to the site? We were told there is no way to filter the pornographic photos from children.

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  11. Some great ideas there on how to use Flickr, especially if it is within the terms and conditions of their TOS. Unlimited online storage for that price is a bargain and something that all schools could put to good use. I dont think it would be too hard to put a case towards your district for unblocking Flickr. There are worse things out there for sure…

  12. I have to agree, $25 is a bargain for such a great tool/service. I signed our Junior School up nearly 12 months ago and this year have uploaded hundreds of photos. I keep expecting an email to tell me I’ve gone over the limit, but Jeff’s post reminds me that it is unlimited!
    Our photos are viewable by anyone but they can’t be found by searching, this helps to keep it a little bit private. The web address is given out to parents and they are encouraged to download whatever images they like.
    It’s been much more efficient than the process I used to use to get them on our Intranet and students can see them and share them at home.

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