More About Flickr and Searching for Images


Please be mindful as you explore Flickr that not all images are free to use! Just because you can view it and you know how to capture it doesn't mean you have permission to use it. See notes at the top of the Flickr Search Tips page for a few words about copyright and Flickr. The good news is, Flickr currently has over 60 million images licensed under Creative Commons, and also, many Flickr photographers will graciously give permission for educational and classroom use of their photos. Incidentally, this same concept holds true for Google or other image searches. We are responsible for honoring copyright, seeking permission, citing sources and teaching these essential ethics to our students. For a handy reference to traditional copyright, please see TechLearning's Copyright & Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers.

  1. Anatomy of the Flickr Explore Page (The many possibilities for exploring photos in Flickr)
  2. Anatomy of a Flickr Photo Page (How to navigate a photo page; how to download or link to a photo)
  3. Flickr Basic & Creative Commons Searching (It's important to understand the difference)

Discovery Exercise

(~15 min)
Spend a few minutes just getting to know Flickr. One of the best ways to do that is visit the
Explore page, where you can check out: Most Interesting Photos, Most Popular Tags, Places & Maps, Groups, and general Search. (Try browsing and sample searching in each of these modes). Flickr treats each search word as a separate tag, so you may have better results using phrases, e.g. "long island" or compound tags, e.g. long_island or longisland. Just have to experiment.

Find some photos in the CC (~15-30min, depending on your personality and chosen search task!)
Pick a concept, topic or theme of your choice (preferably something you could use in your teaching or professional learning) and search the
Flickr Creative Commons to find 3-5 (or more if you choose) photos matching the theme (or telling the story, or supporting the idea or topic).Download the LARGE (unless it's really big) size of each photo (easiest to save them all to a single folder), being sure to save the photo page URL and photographer's username (I recommend that you paste them right into the bottom of your wiki sandbox or blog page) so that you can give credit.

PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT to view the help guide for searching Creative Commons Photos, as it is a bit different from the regular search and NOT OBVIOUS. The search box at the top of the CC page is actually the "regular" Flickr search, which is definitely confusing. You have to click "see more" to get "in" the CC license pool...

An easy way to search all CC photos is to use Flickr Advanced Search and check the box that says "Only search within CC licensed photos." (If you click the regular Search without entering a keyword, you will return a search box that allows you to select Advanced Search).

Explore some Educational Possibilities for Flickr (~15-30 min)
You can't help it, you are teachers, and you want to know about the educational possibilities of Flickr. For a mere start, take a look at some of these resources and examples:

Individual Lessons/Examples

A Quick Word About Photo-Posting Etiquette
When posting identifiable photos of other people (especially minors), is it advisable to get the person's permission before posting their photo in a publicly accessible place like Flickr. Never upload pictures that weren't taken by you (unless you have the photographer's consent) and always give credit (and a link) when you include photos taken by someone else in your blog, wiki, slide presentation or digital story.


Select one of the themed/topical photos you downloaded above. Insert the photo via link or by upload, so that it appears WITHIN a blog post (see video below for help) in which you reflect on your Flickr experience. Please share some things you learned about Flickr, the topic/theme you selected for your search, and any ideas you have for using Flickr (or other photo sharing tool) to support your own teaching and learning. Be sure to post an attribution -- or, credit -- to the photographer, in the form of his or her username and a link to the photo page. Be sure to include "Think 13" in your post title.

HELP VIDEO: Insert a picture in a blog post