Tag Galaxy

Tag Galaxy, one of the Flickr Tools, is a unique visual search engine which searches images from Flickr, then brings each category up like a series of planets rotating around a sun.

If you click on one of the rotating ‘planets’,  this will add extra terms to your search and reduce the number of photos in your final search.  When you have narrowed your search enough, click on the central ‘sun’ to view all the images in the unique rotating sphere, which you can then spin in different directions.

“Clicking on the central “star” will close in on that star and fill it with exactly 235 picture thumbnails. The star can be rotated with the left mouse button and zoomed with the mouse wheel. A click on a preview image will load that image in front, another click will load information about the picture like the name of the artist, a description and a link to the Flickr page.” (ghacks.net)

Click twice on an image to enlarge it, then either click a thrid time to shrink it back, or follow the link to view more photos in someone’s photostream in Flickr. If you would like to see more images, click on the link at the top of the screen to replace those images with another 235.

Watch a video of how Tag Galaxy works or, for an alternative way to view images easily, check out Cooliris.

Flickr: School Library Displays

If you don’t already have a flickr account, consider using it for showcasing to parents photos of events that are happening in your library e.g. author visits, competitions, storytelling sessions,  recommended books (get cover images from Amazon), Book Week displays and events. Having a flickr account also means that you can upload and save your photos from any computer, making it very easy to share them.

 Once you have created an account, you can upload photos into ‘sets’ and make them private or public. If you make them private, then only the people you invite can view those photos. This of course is good for photos involving students.


You can upload photos quite large in size, but I prefer to resize them first (to 800 x 600) for speed of uploading. I use VSO Image Resizer, a free program you can download at http://www.vso-software.fr/products/image_resizer/download-image-resizer.php  however Picasa will also resize photos for you.

If you would like to share some photos of your library displays, I have created a ‘group’ in flickr called School Library Displays:  http://flickr.com/groups/school_library_displays  It doesn’t matter if your displays are big or small, it will be a place where anyone can share ideas or get ideas. If you have downloaded Cooliris onto your computer (see my previous blog entry), have a look at the library display photos using the Cooliris photowall – they look really good!



 Some of our Redlands College library displays – see more in Flickr.

Cooliris (PicLens)

Cooliris is a plugin that you can download to view images as a fantastic moving 3D  ‘picture wall’, rather than viewing them one page at a time as you would with Google Images, or Flickr. Once you have seen and used it, you will never want to search for images or videos in any other way!

” Cooliris, formerly known as PicLens, is a web browser plugin that provides interactive full-screen slideshows of online images. The plugin is available for Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. At present, the software is compatible with Google Images, Yahoo Images, Ask.com Images, deviantART, Flickr, Facebook, Live Image Search, Photobucket, SmugMug, Fotki, YouTube (for videos), and any web site that implements mediaRSS <link> tags in their HTML pages. The software places a small icon in the corner of an image thumbnail when the mouse moves over it, which launches into a full-screen photo viewer when clicked, but without giving an option to save any of the pictures shown.” (Wikipedia)

View a movie of the picture wall here:  http://www.cooliris.com/demo/?view=movie

Voice Thread

 Voice Thread is a neat way to combine photos, videos and podcasts, but it also allows other people to view the voice thread and add their comments as well. You can also ‘doodle’ on the image as you add comments – e.g. you can add arrows, circle objects or underline words.

Voice Thread allows you to create 3 free threads, or you can register as a K-12 educator to qualify for special rates for schools. Making unlimited Voice Threads yourself as a teacher costs a one-off payment of $10, but if you would like your whole class to be able to create Voice Treads, this costs $10/month or $60/year.

To see how other teachers are using VoiceThread, take a look at this VoiceThread wiki put together by Collette Casinelli, and join the VoiceThread Ning started by Mark Carls. I especially love this book promotion VoiceThread where a number of the teachers at Valley Catholic school in the US are talking about their favourite books.

To create your account, go to http://voicethread.com/ and register, then click on the Create tab to upload photos or video.  You can then add comments by phone, by web-cam, by microphone, or by typing a comment. Once you have ceated your thread, you can easily post it to one of the websites below; you can add friends, then invite them via email to view the thread; or you can embed the code into a blog, wiki or website. 

The real benefit of Voice Thread lies in the fact that it is so collaborative. Once you have created your thread, you can share it with students on the other side of the world, and they can add comments to it as well.  Have a look at one of the voice threads that our students created for Book Week this year. (This is the email message that is sent out when you invite people to view your thread):

Winning the World Cup – Georgia and Zoe




Click the image or the link above to view and participate in the VoiceThread. Making comments is really simple and you can delete and re-record as many times as you like.

A VoiceThread is an online media album that allows a group of people to make comments on images, videos, and documents, really simply. You can participate 5 different ways – using your voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, audio file, or video (with a webcam). It’s easy to control who can access and comment on a VoiceThread, which makes it a secure place to talk about almost anything: business and academic presentations, travelogues, family history, art critiques, language study, tutorials, book clubs and digital storytelling. A VoiceThread allows an entire group conversation to be collected from anywhere in the world and then shared in one simple place.

READ Mini-Posters

These mini-posters are a fun way to advertise reading that’s happening in your libray or any other place!  Click on this link to go to the ALA page where you will be able to upload your own photos to create cool posters.


When you upload a photo, it’s a good idea to choose one that’s not too close-up, as it’s not always possible to get exactly the part of the photo that you want.

(Photo of dog reading from MBKepp’s Flickr photos)

Check out the READ mini-posters pool on Flickr, and add some of your own!



Animoto – www.animoto.com – is a great little site for uploading photos to create short or long videos (depending on the length of the music you choose and the number of photos you upload).  The program automatically creates transitions and effects, depending on how fast or slow your music is, and which photos you want to highlight.


You can upload your own music, or you can choose from music on the Animoto site. It costs about $30 / year, but for that price you can make unlimited videos and download them to your own computer. In order to speed up the process of uploading photos, it’s best to re-size them and Animoto suggest using VSO Image Resizer, a free program available for download from their site.

These statistics have come from the Animoto blog: “Since Animoto launched in August of 2007…

– 4 million videos have been made on the Animoto platform
– more than 250,000 users in 200-some countries have registered on Animoto.com
– Animoto vids have been watched over 50 million times on Animoto.com, blogs, social networks, video sharing sites and web sites around the world!”   (http://blog.animoto.com/)

I love the potential for using these videos in a school setting: either to use as an activity with students, to showcase important events in your school, to introduce a topic, or to show an audience what your students have been doing.

Click this link to see what some teachers have been doing:  http://education.animoto.com/casestudies.html#top

Click this link to see a combination of images and text: http://au.youtube.com/user/cloudrecruiting

Click these links to see what we’ve been doing at Redlands College:  Bayside Readers Cup Competitions 2003-2007  and  Redlands College Library 

If you register for Animoto in Education, you can allow your students to create their own videos, simply by creating dummy email addresses for them where you can monitor activity on each of their addresses. (http://education.animoto.com/learnmore.html)  

“All videos are completely private. The only way someone can watch a video is if they are directed to that video’s specific URL, or if that video is posted to another website. Also, no one will be able to contact your students via Animoto”