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Sharing photos with family and friends has never been easier than it is today.  With the advent of digital cameras and photo sharing sites it has also never been more cost effective to show off your photos to friends and family!  I  recall, not too long ago it was a time intensive and often a costly affair to process a role of film and it was also a gamble (at least for me) to know if there were photos that would be “share” worthy, until I picked them up from the photo shop. Now, I am able to delete bad photos immediately after capturing them and can upload the remaining desirable photos from my digital camera, in just a few short steps, to store them on my computer.  I can then use and share them in a multitude of ways, at my leisurely convenience, and since I have the computer and the camera there is no major cost involved with taking photos.  

According to Richardson (2009, p. 99), as far as creating, publishing and using images onlie, digital photographs are “the easiest place for teachers and students to begin experimenting with creating and publishing content other than text.”  There are so many options for photo sharing and I have considered just a few for this blog.  Further considerations will be shared in upcoming blogs, as I progress through the course and find further uses for photo-sharing. 

For my work we seek photo submissions from our students only once a year for our annual awards celebration where we honour all student and mentor of the year nominees and award winners.  We put the photos in a slide show presentation for the celebration and then that is it they are filed away for good.  Upon consideration, I can imagine many ways that photo sharing could be integrated with our teaching and learning though. How about as a tool for marketing students to create portfolio’s for which the link could be included in a resume or cover letter. Or we could create an account where all students with out of town placements could create an album introducing their new locations to current and future co-op students.  As well, it is not hard to imagine that if we find ways for students to create blogs for their assignments that they could find many creative ways to utilize photos and photo sharing sites in their blogs. 

Photo heaven here we come: I love taking photos and looking at pictures, mine and anyone else’s and so although researching photo sharing has been a lengthy task it has been enjoyable every step of the way.  While researching photo sharing I was sure to check out Joanne de Groot’s Trailfire recommendations on photo-sharing, http://www.trailfire.com/joannedegroot/trailview/61576?q=joannedegroot, and I must admit that she has an eye for good finds on all topics Web 2.0.  I too enjoy the Common Craft series “…In Plain English” and have found it simple and informative on every topic we have covered to date.  Joanne also recommends the Wiki on photo sharing and I agree that it too has a very thorough overview of photo sharing and provides users with many possible directions to begin photo sharing.  When I did the Wiki search specifically for Flickr, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flickr, I was patriotically pleased to learn that it was developed and originated from a Vancouver based company! Way to go Canadians on diversifying our economic base – I would love to see and hear about more Canadian technology start ups.  Just guess who they sold their wonderful product to (follow the wiki link above to find out). 

Here are my Flickr considerations, to date.  I signed up this week and loaded a few pictures to see what it is all about, since when it comes to photo sharing research Flickr almost always tops the search list.  I added their blog to my sidebar links and you can also see the Flickr WordPress Widget (reminder: widgets are the add-ons included with all Wordrpress blog accounts) in the sidebar.  If I wanted to, I could also load my flickr address into to the sidebar widget and you would then see my photos but I am going to leave it as it is because I like that it updates with 3 random Flickr photos every time you come back to my blog.  Flickr comes very highly recommended, from Richardson (2009), with all of chapter 7 dedicated to “Fun with Flickr” and of course, wiki on photo-sharing includes flickr on its list of photo sharing websites, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photo_sharing.  Because I have a yahoo account it was easy to sign up.  I have only loaded six pictures to test it out and can share my flickr pix with you now so that you can check this application out for your consideration, http://www.flickr.com/photos/curlyspix/.

Picasa is another photo sharing website and is the way to go if you have a Google account and if you are using Google’s Blogger you’ll be on easy street for sharing your photos on your blog.  If you have loads of stored photos on your computer(s) hard drive(s), like I do, it is amazingly fast at searching your drives and organizing all of your photos on your computer with just the click of a button and as a result they are organized and ready to upload to your online account. WOW, this was an almost instantaneous process once the initial program install finished!  It is also exceptionally easy to upload your photos to your Picasa account so that they are there to share and use for all of your online purposes. Additionally, the computer application has many fun and easy to use features, including the ability to create photo collages, movie presentations and creating gift cd’s.  I chose to create a collage from a folder of pictures from my Italy trip to show you an example and I uploaded the collage to Picasa where you can now view it from this link, http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/J4SZB7aRMYtZjm8nK0VDpQ?authkey=Gv1sRgCOyJ-L6q8_TuVg&feat=directlink.  So easy, so fun, and so cool! ~:)

Ossaia Collage Created with Picasa

Ossaia Collage Created with Picasa

Facebook is an alternative to share photos that is not commonly listed as an online photo sharing website.  I have been using it as my photo sharing site since I first started facebooking a couple of years ago.  I find it includes one of the simplest photo uploaders that I have come across and as a whole it is extremely easy to use to share photos. It is my preferred choice because as a facebook user who is connected to many friends and family members through this social website, most of the people that I would currently be interested in sharing my photos with are already listed as my facebook “friends” and I don’t have to send them links or individual messages to share my photos – they automatically see in their status feeds when I upload a new photo album.  I could share in a similar fashion on other photo sharing websites if I take the time to start adding/finding all the contacts I want to share my photos with but because I have such a head start on having my contacts already listed I can’t imagine switching quite yet.  My family and friends (as a side NOTE (oops – edit was required, my initial post said NOT instead of NOTE and that leads to the total opposite of what I was trying to say – family you are my friends!!~:)) many of my family are also really my friends but it just flows to delineate the two categories for some reason???) can view my albums if they choose and can post comments on the album and/or on individual photos.  I am notified when new comments are posted.  It is possible to share facebook albums with anyone, even those who do not have a facebook account.  You simply send non-facebookers the web address to the public link for your pictutres; it is located at the bottom of each album’s page and can be cut and pasted in order to forward or share in other formats.  To view a selection of my facebook albums simply follow the links below:

Florence, Italy: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2157236&id=120407175&l=bcf7334235

Cortona, Italy: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2157230&id=120407175&l=df705a6954

Photo Creation Fun: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=34990425&l=16a95e91ea&id=120407175

University of Alberta Campus, Summer 2008: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2118637&id=120407175&l=d70037ca97

Sydney, Australia: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2041154&id=120407175&l=1aa6aa37ed

Facebook photo albums allow some control over who can see your photos, for example, you can choose to have only friends be able to see the photos or you can choose to allow friends of friends, networks you belong to on facebook or everyone on facebook to be able to view your albums. You can set your privacy settings for each album so if there are albums that you are fine with everyone viewing you can leave them open for all to view or you can set them so only your “friends” can view certain albums.  

There are many other online photo sharing websites including: Photobucket, Smilebox, Smugmug, Atpic…….. you get the picture (lol)! ~:)

Looking back: I recall the first scanner we bought about ten years ago with all intensions of opening up the printed photos and scanning them to share with all of our family members.  The majority of my old, printed photos never even made it into an album, never mind to the scanner bed and in fact most currently rest in small boxes waiting to be seen again someday. Sometimes, I do choose to print a small selection of my digital photos from home, on my Canon colour printer for a mere cost of just cents per copy, so that I can include pictures with special occasion cards that I mail to family back in BC.  When needed, I upload my photos to London Drugs, and can even enlarge to poster size photos for very minimal and reasonable fees, https://www.londondrugs.com/LDPS/psLogin.htm.  When I first used 1-hour photo service back in the days of film and dark rooms, I felt as though I had come upon an amazing cutting edge technology. 

Do you remember the onset of 1-hour photo labs – so cutting edge!! For a blast from the past read about the 1 hour photo revolution from the London Drugs perspective and pause for a moment to recall your personal history with photography:  http://www.londondrugs.com/Cultures/en-US/Content/CorporateInfo/The+Story+of+London+Drugs/One+Hour+Revolution.htm. ~:)

 Over the past five or six years though, it is extremely rare that I print my photos but I can say with confidence that my photos are now viewed and shared more than ever.  It pleases me immensely to share my photos with the people in my life that matter to me, especially those who do not live close to us.  I do not really have a desire to put them out there for everyone to see but I do want those who are dear to us to share in the fun and creative things that are happening in our life and through photos, I feel I capture the special events and am able to share them with my uploaded albums.  ~:)

Reference:
Richardson, W. (2008). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. (Second Edition.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

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Had I completed the first assigned readings from Will Richardson’s text, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms( 2nd Edition) before I plunged into exploring existing blogs online while I was only through the introduction, epilogue and first chapter instead of through the assigned chapters 1-3, I likely would have started my very first blog from www.Blogger.com, a Google owned web publishing tool. After all, I already have a Google sign in and password from a previous job where we used Google Analytics and because now that I am finished the assigned class readings, I find that Blogger is highly recommended as a great place to start blogging by Richardson and he even goes so far as to use it as a primary example for his “blogging step-by-step” section (p. 48), so it seems easiest to begin with Blogger instead of any other publisher. Richardson shares that although there is not yet a “perfect edublogging program” (yes, his lingo – edublogging, take it to mean blog publishing tool specifically intended for educators/education/educating…) it is nonetheless easy to start a blog and I do agree that Blogger is quite accessible with many appropriate add-ons (tie-ins???, widgets or whatever the correct Web 2.0 lingo is – I am just beginning to form my working two point OH vocabulary).   However, I found in looking at existing Blogger weblogs that although the sites have the capacity for great content, and appear to have many useful and easy to get add-ons, the beginner blogs just are not as aesthetically pleasing, at first glance; the templates just do not seem as visually pleasing as beginner www.Wordpress.com blogs, which is my chosen beginner blog publishing tool.

My initial leap towards WordPress over Blogger was firmed up when I logged into our eClass (WebCT) and compared a couple of eager classmates early posted blogs, one stood out as decisively better looking and it was created using WordPress. Of course, it is not necessarily based on sound judgement to select a blog by its early and beginning cover and I may change my mind once I progress and play with both blogging publishers throughout the course and learn how to move away from just utilizing the provided templates. I have signed up and begun a Blogger blog too but will keep it private and just play in the background when/if I have time along the course and I hope to compare and contrast some of the add-ons/widgets as I consider the upcoming Web 2.0 applications. Perhaps when I am savvier and can customize my blog to a greater extent than I currently am able, I will change my mind. Or perhaps, the ability to choose add-ons will enhance my content enough to accept the less visually appealing (in my opinion) templates.

As I progress through this journey of considering Web 2.0 for teaching and learning I plan to see what others in my field are doing to utilize these ever evolving tools. I have learned how to add links to my side tool bar and will update with links and blogs that are relevant for my role as an adult educator, co-op coordinator and career services facilitator, in hopes that I can improve upon my practice to support our student’s growth and development.

Setting up this blog and getting through the readings has kept me busy but I have found the time to begin seeking out best practices and plan to use the most promising finds in my future blogs on considering Web 2.0 for teaching and learning. Here is my upcoming blogging considerations schedule – check back to see how my considerations progress (the listed dates are the deadline dates for our posts but I anticipate always remaining ahead of schedule because my classmates and I have an 8:00 am deadline on the due date for our related blog posts and well, I like to sleep before making my way to the office by 8:00, lol)

Introductory blog: July 7 (just to get started–here we must post an introduction to ourself and our blog – and that is what I have now accomplished)

Blog topic #1 (Photosharing): July 9

Blog topic #2 (Videosharing): July 13

Blog topic #3 (Social bookmarking): July 16

Blog topic #4 (Podcasting): July 20

Blog topic #5 (Virtual Libraries): July 23

Blog topic #6 (Wikis): July 27

Blog topic #7 (Multimedia Sharing Sites): July 30

Blog topic #8 Social Networking): August 3

Blog topic #9 (Twitter): August 6

Blog topic #10 (Blogs, Blogging for PD, RSS)

Hope to see you again soon and thanks for taking the time to visit me – feel free to comment below. ~:)

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