Thing 2: Photo Fun

Photo by Skitterphoto : CC0 Pixabay

Thing 2 is a topic that will have you snapping away on your digital camera or smartphone camera, getting creative and playing as we explore photo sharing sites, photo editing and lots of photo fun.


There are so many different ways to share photos on the web. Some services are focused on organizing and storing your photos, others are primarily social sharing services and others are special purpose sites, like geolocation sites that place your photos on maps.

Traditional Tools: These tools emphasize online storage, organizational tools and some social aspects. One of the oldest photo sharing sites is Flickr (part of Yahoo). Flickr gives you 1 terabyte of storage space for free (that’s a LOT of space!), You can organize the photos into albums and share them with friends or the world. Tie-ins with commercial services help you print photos, create photo books and more. Other similar services include: PhotoBucket, Snapfish and Shutterfly. Even Dropbox now has a feature for organizing photo sets for sharing.

Social Tools: With the growth of smartphone & tablet ownership, services that rely on quick uploads from a phone camera and emphasize social sharing have become increasingly popular. Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and tumblr are all very popular.

Geolocation Tools: Have old photos to share? HistoryPin and What Was There all have interesting map-based sharing features. Build a tour of your town, share historic photos, explore far flung locations.
And then there are tons of tools for editing photos and creating fun projects with your images (some examples in the “More To Explore” section at the end of this page.)


So, what kinds of things can libraries and schools do with photo-sharing?

NOTE: Photo Permissions If you’re taking photos of students in school, make sure you know what your school policy is about posting images of students.


Working with photos is a great opportunity to educate students about copyright and fair use. It is so easy to find and “borrow” the perfect image for papers, presentations and other projects. But if an image isn’t licensed for reuse, then you should assume it’s copyrighted and get permission to use it.

Better to start with tools like Pixabay, Photopin and Unsplash that limit searches to Creative Commons licensed images. Creative Commons licensing allows for reuse of a image (and other intellectual content) under certain conditions. The licensing is easy to understand and having students select how they want to license their own work is a great way to get students thinking about copyright, reuse and attribution. The Creative Commons site includes a summary of the licenses and a handy license chooser tool. Another terrific resource is Joyce Valenza’s Copyright-Friendly Toolkit


There are so many services that let you to upload and share your photos. Each has its pros & cons and some people absolutely love one tool or another. If you already have an account with one of these photosharing sites, feel free to use your existing account for your project. If you don’t have an account, we recommend Flickr or Instagram to get started.

Traditional Photo Sharing/Storage Sites

  • FlickrFlickr options include: tagging photos, commenting on the photos of others, searching by tag or user, downloading images in multiple sizes, creating sets (sets are like photo albums), creating groups for sharing among colleagues, using geotags (location information), and much, much more.
  • Google Photos – Note that “Google+ Photos” is now just “Google Photos.” No need to participate in Google+ just to store your photos. Android and iOS apps let you create movies and timeline stories with your photos.
  • Snapfish – From HP. Free unlimited photo storage with the ability to organize, edit, and add borders, tints and other creative touches. Create calendars, albums and other printed products. Share photo albums with friends and family.
  • Shutterfly – Unlimited free storage. Print photos to pick up at local stores and create printed photo albums. Offers an online community where you can share your work and see projects created by others as well as a blog full of great ideas. Shutterfly Share offers free webpage space and templates for showing and sharing your photos.

Social Sharing Photo Sites

  • Instagram – Fun photo app for your iOS or Android mobile devices. Take a photo, apply fun filters (or not), share with followers. Allows for commenting and ‘liking’. Simple and fun way to quickly share moments from your day. Now owned by Facebook, there is a new web-based profile page for each member. (eg: Polly’s profile page) Photos can be also be cross-posted to Flickr, Facebook and Twitter. In August 2016, Instagram took on SnapChat by adding a “stories” feature.  Short videos and photos can be added to your story and they’ll disappear in 24 hours. Simpler to use than SnapChat, but currently lacking some of the crazy SnapChat filters.
  • Tumblr – What started out as something of a cross between a full blown blogging tool and the quick posting tool like twitter, tumblr has become a hugely popular social network where people post their own photos and content, as well as content reposted from all over the web. What drives me a bit nuts about tumblr is the difficulty finding the original source for an image. A photo of a beautiful vacation spot may have been reposted so many times, that it’s next to impossible to find the original source. Check out some tumblr posts tagged “school libraries.”
  • Pinterest – Not strictly a photo sharing site, but a great place to create a public display of your photos. Create a board for an event or a class project, make it a collaborative board so others can add to it. Students could create their own photo boards here too. Very simple to use and free. Also has a new option to create private boards.Warning, any content posted to Pinterest should be CC licensed and understand that great images will be reposted to other people’s boards.

Geolocation Based Sharing

  • HistoryPin – Great tool for exploring the world through photos. Students can also add their own photos, create tours and more.
  • What Was There – Similar idea as History Pin.

Tips, Tricks, Apps: If you have a smartphone, chances are you’re using that for taking some of your photos. And you probably already have some favorite apps. Here are a few more to explore!


OPTION 1: Getting your feet wet If you’re not ready to join flickr, instagram or one of the other services, this activity is for you! You’ll look for a photo that interests you and post it to your blog.

  • Pixabay is a great place to start looking for Creative Commons licensed photos.
  • Search for a topic that interests you.
  • Select a size and click on Download to save the image to your computer.
    • NOTE: Even though you don’t technically need to give credit for the photo, it’s a good habit to get into and a good example for students.
  • Your Blog post for this lesson
    1.  Please label your post “Thing 2 : Photo Fun”
    2. Post the photo to your blog by uploading it from your computer to your blog post. You may need to check the help files for your blogging platform, each one has a different process.
    3. Comment on your experience finding images and how you might use photos in your school or anything else related to the exercise.

OPTION 2: Join and Explore

Ready to join a photo service? Or dig deeper into one that you’re already using?

  • Join one of the Instagram, flickr, SnapChat or any of the other services and share some photos.
  • If you’re already a member of a service, but aren’t really familiar with it, go ahead and use that to explore more advanced features.
  • Explore features such as organizing photos into folders, sets or whatever the tool you’ve chosen uses.
  • Your Blog Post for the week:
    • Please label your post “Thing 2 : Photo Fun”
    • Comment on your experience with the service you tried. What did you learn? What advanced features did you find useful? How could you use these tools with students?

OPTION 3: Edit, create, share and more

If you’ve already joined a photosharing site and are ready to explore some more, here are some ideas! (all the tools are listed in the More To Explore list below) Then share what you’ve learned through your blog post. Please label your post “Thing 2 : Photo Fun”

  • Test out an editing tool that you haven’t used before.
  • Join a photo challenge – FatMumSlim photo-a-day is a popular and fun one. You don’t have to do a whole month. Try it for a week!
  • Create a collage and post it to your blog.
  • Explore Big Huge Labs and make something fun. A magazine cover, a Trading Card or…
  • Create a slideshow to put on your website or blog.
  • Try out some new photo editing apps on your smartphone or tablet.


  • Photo Editing– try your hand at editing a photo using one of these web and/or app photo editors.
  • Photo Fun– Make posters, slide shows, collages and so much more. Lots of interesting ideas here.
  • More ways to find photos


  • Write & publish your blog post.
  • Copy the URL for the post.
  • Return to the lesson page on the CanvasLMS site.
  • Use the SUBMIT ASSIGNMENT button in the CanvasLMS page and paste in your URL.

*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Canavas LMS system.


(updated for 2016/17 on August 6, 2016)


5 thoughts on “Thing 2: Photo Fun

  1. Serena Waldron’s great page on Snapchat resources and idea!

  2. 30+ website to download free photos:
  3. Student/classroom instagram account:
  4. A periscope broadcast on using instagram with students:

    14 copyright essentials teachers and students must know

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