Over the past 5 years as a librarian I've tried more and more to document my work in the library with pictures. When I first started I was a little shy about taking pictures, but I've slowly grown more comfortable with getting the camera out for student work, bulletin boards, events, and other cool things students do. Last year I abandoned the library's digital camera and started taking pictures of everything with my phone; once the pictures were on there I could share them to my school Google account at my leisure. I'm pretty good at remembering to take pictures, but what I need to work on is more actively displaying and posting the pictures I take.
Twitter has been one platform that has helped me tremendously this year with actually getting my pictures out to the public. It's still a work in progress, and I don't post as often as I'd like, but so far it has been an excellent way to show lots of people snapshots of library life. I also maintain the library website, but I actually got rid of the slideshow feature Weebly provides and replaced it with my Twitter feed. I think I will continue on with Twitter as my main photo sharing site, and I'll keep library Instagram or Flikr accounts for future possibilities.
However, reading a few of the Cool Tools articles gave me some ideas for pictures I want to try out! The "10 Ways to Use Instagram in Your Classroom" article had some neat thoughts about work showcases and scavenger hunts, but my favorite idea was using pictures for writing prompts. I love doing a haiku lesson, and it would be fun to show kids pictures from the library or from around the school and then have them write a poem about it. The other idea I'm now itching to try out is the #BookfaceFriday hashtag from the New York Times article. I think that would make for a really fun project for the kids.
For one of my picture projects for this lesson I made an avatar (Avatar Maker) for my public Google image. I rarely post pictures of myself, but I'm hoping this will be a friendly presence to the kids who share things to me and who see my profile. I enjoyed making myself look cool and composed, two things I rarely feel during a school day. The website I used was pretty easy to manipulate, and I appreciated being able to make an avatar without having to log in or create a new account.
I also created a poster using PosterMyWall. I usually have to revert to using Microsoft Word for flyers, since the Google apps are still not as robust for designing things, but now with PosterMyWall I think I've found a good free alternative! I did have to create an account, but it didn't ask for much personal information which was greatly appreciated. I made a flyer for my library's annual "Book Swap" event, which allows kids to swap their used books with each other. It will be nice to have something pre-made when I'm getting ready to advertise the event!
The last thing I took away from this lesson was the different creative commons image websites there are. I was familiar with Pixabay, and I've used it with the kids before, but I had never looked at any others. I was really impressed with Pics4Learning. I love how the website breaks up the categories, and I think it will be very user-friendly for my students! I created a new page on my website to gather these image websites together. I like being able to give kids a choice, and I've also noticed that different web browsers support image hosting websites to greater or lesser degrees. I had fun doing this lesson, and I look forward to playing with more pictures!