Flickr’s primary purpose is to provide an online space where people can upload and store their photos and videos. Like many of the social media tools it also offers great potential for teaching.
Flickr affords opportunity to teach
  • The skills of digital literacy (uploading, tagging, organizing, creating networks)
  • Critical thinking skills (how to appropriately tag images/videos; comparison/analysis of tags used by other Flickr users)
  • Language skills (literal v figurative language; spelling; discussion/comments; creative writing)

A 1 hour workshop to demonstrate how Flickr can be used to realize these teaching goals.

Activity 1

¢ Show an image
¢ Brainstorm possible tags
¢ Distinguish between literal and figurative
¢ See what other images share the same tag
¢ Have students find or create images on assigned tag(s)
¢ Review images and use as starting point for discussion (critical thinking) and or creative writing

2. Using Flickr to create a class network
  • agree on a group tag (eg flickrteach08)
  • have students upload an image and tag with this agreed group tag
  • search all Flickr uploads for images using this tag
  • (use username of others in the workshop if no images appear with this tag)
  • go to profile of creator of any photo found and 'add as contact'
  • go to 'your contacts' to see the photos of your newly created network

  1. Flickr can sometimes take up to 48 hours for all images with the class or group tag to appear.
  2. You can also use the Create Group feature in Flickr to join group members together.

3. A Basic Exercise in Digital Literacy
  • each student uploads an image
  • have them give the image a title, description, and tags
  • students browse each others' images and comment on title, and tags (they might suggest further tags)
  • Discussion: the purpose of tagging

Note: any user can add tags to any other photo in Flickr but the user/owner must enable this feature.

4. Subject Specific Tag Searching
  • think of a topic within your subject or teaching area
  • search for images using that topic as a tag
  • select images that may be included as part of course content
  • explain why (discussion)

(Are there other ways you might use subject specific images from Flickr in your teaching?)

5. Uploading Images via Email or MMS
  • go to your account
  • click on the Email tab
  • you will see the automatically generated email address Flickr provides for email or MMS uploading of images
  • use the edit link to insert tags that always appear with any images you email or upload by phone

6. Creative Commons (via Advanced Search)
  • click on the Search tab (top right)
  • select Everyone's Uploads and Advanced Search
  • select Full Text or Tags Only
  • scroll down and select 'only search within Creative Commons licensed content'
  • start your search

Images designated as Creative Commons can be used freely for other purposes as long as the original owner of the image is attributed.

7. Finding your Flickr (RSS) Feed
  • click on your Photostream
  • scroll to the bottom of the page
  • notice 'subscribe to user's Photostream'
  • run your mouse over the latest link
  • right mouse click to copy the link to clipboard
  • paste wherever you wish to create an RSS feed of your photos (eg Moodle, Protopage, Google Reader, etc)

8. Getting a Flickr Badge
9. Using the Add Note Tool
  • open any photo
  • select the Add Note from the menu above the photo
  • position and resize the target rectangle as necessary
  • type comment in text box and press save

Possible Uses:
  • captions for photos - thought bubbles, imagined dialogue of people in a photo, highlighting aspects of a photo (eg the right and wrong way of using a power tool), etc
  • examples

10. Telling Stories
  • have students take a series of photos that tell a story
  • students tell their story in class, OR
  • have other students construct story from the series of images

11. Having FUN with Flickr
  • go to Big Huge Labs at to create Mosaics, Captions, and much more!
  • is a great way to create a world of image tags - punch in a tag and see what comes up. Click on the planet to see the images.
  • watch the images roll in on a world map in almost real time at flickrvision


Please contribute ANY OTHER IDEAS on Teaching with Flickr (click edit this page, add your bit, and save.)