Social Media in Education #1: Flickr

This week’s adventure is about using social media in education. Initially, I would not have ranked Flickr among the different social media sites. Yes, it’s a great place to collect images, but I saw it as more of a photo album that you could share with others. As I’ve accessed the site for pics to use in my blog, I found that people were commenting on some of the pictures. Then I began to understand how Flickr could be ranked among the social media.

Using It in Class

Some people have participated in a Flickr group that has people take a new photograph every day and upload it to Flickr for one year. Many of them post what was significant about the experience and what they have learned (Barton, 2012). This could work for a class, too. Students can upload one picture per day of themselves or something important to them and explain why their image is significant. Along the way, they learn about themselves and about their peers.

When I was teaching kids, there were times when I wanted them to search through a group of magazines and find pictures related to a certain subject. For example, when we studied geometry, I wanted them to find pictures of pentagons, cubes, and parallel lines. In Texas history, I might want them to hunt down images related to a major event in Texas such as the Texas Revolution or the Spindletop oil strike.

Flickr can be used the same way, but instead of finding pictures in magazines, students can look for the images in Flickr albums.

A third use for Flickr would be as a story prompt. The teacher or student would locate an interesting image and students could write a paragraph or two that would tell a story, whether true or made up, about the image. Before education became so standard-test driven, I used to use pictures, clip art, or trading cards for that in a language arts center.

What other sorts of ways might you use a photo collection in class?

timothy valentine c 2006 capturing ramon

(c) 2006 Timothy Valentine // Retrieved from Flickr and used unchanged under Creative Commons


Barton, D. (2012). Participation, deliberate learning and discourses of learning online. Language and Education, 26(2), 139-150. Retrieved from


5 thoughts on “Social Media in Education #1: Flickr

  1. Hi Cindy!
    First of all, when I read about Flickr I thought the same thing- it seemed like a tool to use if I wanted to create a photo album! I couldn’t imagine how I would ever use this in the classroom. But when I began thinking about it more (and after reading your blog) I realized there could be many uses for it. For example, in my clinical classes I can have students post pictures of different surgical procedures and explain that procedure to the class. It is a way for them to make a collection of different surgical procedures and they can use it as a reference when they need a refresher on a particular procedure. It also is a great way for them to keep track of the many things they learn in clinical because often you forget what you have learned from the beginning of your clinical.
    Enjoyed your ideas! Thanks for sharing!


  2. Hi Cindy!

    Let me try this again- the first comment didn’t go through!
    I felt the same way about Flickr when I first started reading about it. I didn’t see what benefit it could have in my classroom until I recently assigned a surgical procedure project in one of my clinical classes. I have students doing research on different surgeries that can be done in the doctors office and what information is important to know as a Medical Assistant. By using Flickr, they can keep a collection of all of the surgeries they have done research on and use it keep track of what they have learned and use the collection to explain the procedures. There are numerous ways you can incorporate this into the classroom, it is more then just a photo album.
    Thanks for sharing


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