While there are tens of photo-hosting applications on the Web, one of the most innovative is Flickr. Flickr is a photo management and sharing online application that provides a place to share photos and meet people with similar interests, even if photography is not their focus. Using Flickr, users can upload, download, tag, rate, and c
omment on photos. Users
can manage and organize images, and create private or public groups to
cultivate a sense of c ommunity.
Flickr offers a vast collection of images that are not available elsewhere, and its collaborative tools have made it popular in higher education. Flickr contains imagery that can be used in teaching to help develop visual literacy skills. University instructors have begun using Flickr images in their courses to share, critique, and analyze visual information. In addition, the design of Flickr intentionally promotes the development of community. The ability to engage users in a conversation about a photo, and to update that photo based on comments received, builds a sense of community.
Another key feature of Flickr is its integration with most of the major blogging services (like Blogger), which easily allows students and instructors to upload photographs into their blogs with a click of the “Blog this” button. Flickr also provides RSS feeds for everyone's photos, group and forum discussions, and specific tags so that students and teachers alike can syndicate their photos into their course Web pages. RSS feeds also allow teachers to have their students’ projects delivered directly to their browsers, saving the teacher the time-consuming task of having to enter each student’s URL in order to view his/her portfolios.