Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Beebot Group

I have been getting into Flickr a lot this summer, as you can tell by reading some of the my recent posts. Flickr is not a new Web 2.0 application, but it is still underused by the many. Certainly I have found that the collaboration thing is now starting to kick in for me, and rather than just searching for good shots, I am beginning to build a list of contacts and explore groups.I have recently experienced the excitement of having a photo commented on by a stranger! My contemporaries are not as sold on Flickr, as Facebook allows images to be uploaded and shared just as easily. But, I don't think it is an either or situation. While Facebook allows easy sharing and commenting with apparently no upload limits, Flickr allows searching by tags which are a very powerful referencing system developed by its users. I would also argue that the user base of Flickr is made up of many professional photographers, so the image quality is far greater in many cases. What is more I can only see Photos of my friends in Facebook and there is no way to search for images (via tags or keywords). Finally most Facebbok photos tend to be variations on a theme either groups posing in front of a landmark or eating a meal with a daft expression! So Facebook is good for social communication between friends and family, as is Flickr , but as tool for school that is cool - Flickr wins!

Groups are on of the most powerful things about Flickr, the idea being that rather than just one person uploading images of their pet interest or news worthy item, there are tens, hundreds or possibly thousands of people all contributing to a group pool of shots.

The same is true by exploring hot 'tags', during the week of the flooding in Tweksbury and the surrounding area, one of the hottest tags was of course flood and it was interesting to explore these images from a personal perspective, rather than looking at the stock images found by Google.

I have started my own Flickr group on the Beebot, as you can see in the slideshow below. To join is easy, you:

  1. Sign up for or login to Flickr
  2. Visit the the Beebot group by searching for the group under the groups tab


Click here


  1. Snap the little yellow one in interesting locations and upload to flickr.
  2. Above your uploaded picture you will see a command to send to group - do this and find the Bebot group


But why?

I guess my idea here is that of creating a resource (open source of course) for Key Stage 1 and foundation stage teachers to aid them in their ICT and literacy work. Over a year ago I made my own silly story about the Beebot using Photostory, even this was used by another colleague to bring context and interest to the unusual and slightly abstract bot. Would it not be great to have images of the Beebot on holiday or in the park to talk to the class about. This could help children as they decentre themselves and program this 'other' thing, that despite it's bright colours and intuitive buttons is still an abstract concept, particularly when we place it on a treasure island map. How does that connect with our urban environment?

I also think that the Beebot could work as another version of the Barnaby Bear idea. The QCA geography bear that visited many places around the world and who brought mapping and geography to life for many children.

Or it may just be that I enjoy taking pictures of the Beebot in the rain or after dark!

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