I remember many years ago when I was working on my MLS and I was taking the required management course. One of the projects we did, in collaboration with a local library of our choosing, was to create an annual report for these libraries. We had a detailed rubric of items that needed to be included, which included photos of people using the library.
Photos (and now also movie and audio files) are excellent vehicle for illustrating and documenting library-related activities, including education and training. Back in the late 1990’s when we wanted to share photos, we were limited to printing our photos unless we stuck them onto a web page. Tools like flickr were not readily available like they are today.
Fast forward to years later when I started as a teacher librarian, I was confronted with policies and practices that, while well intended to protect our students, were confusing and less than clear about what I could or could not do with digital photos and related media. Due to this situation, I have not done too much with online photo sharing as part of my library program.
Students should be exposed to taking and sharing their own photos. In addition to learning about artistic and photographic techniques, they should also be learning about things like tagging and licensing of their media files. If I were teaching a course on media use, I would also be tempted to broaden the topic of photo sharing to include file sharing. We often ask students to work together on school projects but they are often left to their own devices on how to best share their files between themselves. While many times the students will come up with acceptable practices (e.g.: using email to send a file to someone), sometimes they will do something inappropriate like sharing account passwords. We need to include in our lessons ways to properly share media files (photos, movies, word documents, powerpoints, etc.) as well as our expectations that our student will use these tools properly.
As part of this lesson, I will further explore and describe my recent experience with using flickr in my library and how photo sharing could be used in a school environment to share information with the community.
(As for the photo of Herbert George Ponting in Antarctica with his camera, it kinda looked like I was there today with our winter weather advisory for the snow storm in Central NYS.)