Need to backup your Flickr photos? Check out Bulkr & Flickredit

Good morning all,

I recently uploaded my 10,000th (!) photo to Flickr. Since I have some (but not all) of them in local folders on my home network file server (a Synology DS109 – highly recommended, BTW), I decided it was time to get everything backed up properly. This has been on my to-do list for a while.

Anyway, earlier today, Teryl Magee posted a Facebook update about Bulkr, a $29.95 utility that promises to back up your photos (or anyone else’s!) with just a few mouse clicks. It’s free to “try” but the free version lacks some strategically critical capabilities, including the ability to “select all” when identifying sets for download and the ability to back up files in their original sizes. I hate crippleware as much as the next guy, but since these two features in particular were crucial to me, I went ahead and ponied up the dinero. The image below shows the application happily backing up my stuff. It was still cranking along when I had to leave for work…

When I got home, it had finished working, backing up 10,128 files into 184 folders (sets), representing over 12gb of data. It did exactly what it said it would do. At $29.95, it wasn’t cheap, but it was effective. I consider it a necessary cost given how important Flickr has become to my digital lifestyle. That said, this capability is something I’d hope the Flickr folk are considering to make available to Pro subscribers like me in the future.

Back to Bulkr … I like the interface, it’s clean and easy to navigate. My cable modem connection is pretty speedy (20 mb/s) so the backup didn’t take long. I am less happy with the fact the software does not allow incremental backups, leaving it up to the user to recall what needs to be saved. I’m also somewhat concerned that the service allows anyone to download anyone else’s photos – regardless of license. That isn’t good, and, there should be a way to easily prevent that and respect the wishes of the images’ rightful owner. But for individual use, it’s just fine.

Another option is FlickrEdit:

Image credit: FlickrEdit

I’d actually used the previous version of this tool, FlickrBackup, with some success, though it started to choke on my backup when it got extremely large. The software is free and works essentially the same way Bulkr does, allowing you to specify what to back up and where. It also works quickly. The latest version runs as a Java applet in your browser – no download required. Here’s a list of its features (source: http://sunkencity.org/flickredit/):

Display your Flickr Photos and Sets
Display your Not in Set, Recent, Favorites, Contacts and Group photos
Search photos based on date and tag
Backup your Flickr Photos and Sets
Backup Title, Description, Tags, and Copyright and store them into the IPTC header of the images.
Upload new photos to Flickr (including asynchronous upload)
Edit Photo and Set info, add comments to Photos and Sets
Rotate photos
Delete photos or Sets
View a photo or selected photos slideshow
Switch between multiple Flickr users

So, there you have it – these two utilities will help you back up your Flickr collection – and more. One costs $29.95 and handles even the largest collections with ease; the other is free but does a good job as well, particularly with sets having under 10,000 photos. 🙂 Decide for yourself which is best!

Hope this helps,

-kj-

This is how it’s done: Arizona’s Technology Integration Matrix

(Ok … before you even read this blog post, take a few minutes to watch the video above. It will prompt you to download a file – it doesn’t stream unless you watch it from the link on the bottom of this page.)

Folks, this is how it’s done … The Arizona K-12 Center, created in 1999 by then-Governor Jane Dee Hull, is a powerful example of what can happen when you combine visionary educational leadership at the state level with modern technology, dedicated professional teachers and FUNDING. I discovered this site by accident over the weekend as I was catching up on Twitter / reading my RSS feed / planning my lessons for the week (like the child in the video above says, “great teachers never stop learning.”). It is probably one of the ten the most important resources I will have shared on this blog!

“TIM,” the center’s Technnology Integration Matrix (http://azk12.org/tim/), reminds me of Florida’s also-excellent Technology Integration Matrix. This intuitive, easy-to-use matrix lets you browse lessons at the intersection of two variables:

the level of desired technology integration (from low to high, i.e., entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation); and
five characteristics of what they consider meaningful learning environments (again from low to high: goal directed, authentic, constructive, collaborative, active).

Once you have chosen a spot on the matrix – presumably aligned with the instructional environment at your school and your own comfort level with technology – you are presented with detailed example lessons (divided into K-4 and 5-8) featuring brief video summaries, detailed standards (specific to Arizona, unfortunately), objectives, procedures, materials and more. These ideas are terrific and can easily be adapted by teachers everywhere.

Why This Matters

This site is not important because it has great lesson plans. (There are many on the Internet already.) This site is important because it allows anyone with an interest in quality, effective instruction – teachers, administrators, school/educational leaders, parents/community members, professional developers, State Department of Education staff, school board members, everyone – to see what effective teaching with technology looks like.

Quoting from their About/History page:

Most quality school reform efforts focus primarily on the end result of improving K12 student performance. At the core of these efforts is a call to rethink the practice of teaching in ways that would raise standards, increase student achievement, reshape curricula, and restructure the way schools operate. The Arizona K12 Center was created to bring these topics into focus in order to increase Arizona teachers’ abilities to improve student performance.

We can’t solve the problems we face in K-12 education by cutting budgets. We can solve them by investing in people – professional educators – and holding them accountable for solutions.

Bottom line, if you are a classroom teacher looking for an engaging lesson leveraging technology, the Arizona Technology Integration Matrix has detailed plans you can use right away. If you are a school leader and you are wondering what “true” 21st-century learning looks like, the Arizona Technology Integration Matrix has the information you need. If you are a parent or community member wondering how what’s happening in your child’s classroom compares to others, this site will give you some perspective. If you are a district administrator planning professional development, the Arizona Technology Integration Matrix can show you what’s possible with the right support and expectations for technology use.

To be sure, every state has different resources, leadership, population, infrastructure, and challenges. What’s routinely possible in one state may be a distant dream for another. The Arizona Technology Integration Matrix has something for everyone, though – whether you need an lesson idea to run with today, or, a vision for the future of your school tomorrow.

Heck, these folks are even on Facebook. And Twitter.

See you in the future,

-kj-

Kindergarten Digital Camera Scavenger Hunt: A Look Back

Q: What do you get when you give five digital cameras to groups of rambunctious kindergartners and challenge them to find objects to photograph in their classroom?

A: Pure magic (and a little chaos)

After dreaming about this lesson for years I finally decided to give it a try several weeks ago. My goals were to familiarize students with operation of a digital camera, have them work together to locate objects in the classroom, then compose and successfully take pictures of those items. Secondarily, I wanted them to be able to recognize the object (type its name) and explain the purpose of the camera lens, shutter, flash and wrist strap.

In the Classroom

With my wife’s help, I prepared five sets of eight 3×5″ index cards with handwritten words of objects commonly found in a classroom: Paper, Crayon, Book, Computer, Floor, Chair, Desk and Carpet. Meeting my students in their regular classroom was very effective as it heightened the students’ curiosity and helped me maintain their attention. I introduced the lesson by explaining we were going on a “Digital Camera Scavenger Hunt” and they instantly knew what I was talking about. When I asked how many knew how to use a digital camera, in every class, nearly every hand in the room went up. After a quick demonstration of the camera’s main features (mostly Kodak CX7300′s) and a run-through of the cards I’d created, I gave one of each to the groups of eager students. Then, I got out of the way…

101_9494

As you can see above, the photos weren’t all perfect, despite my instructions; in fact, only about 70 pictures were worth keeping out of the several hundred the kids took. But many were just fine and a few were perfect. I love how the kids’ tendency to cut off subjects’ heads (or photograph only parts of faces) made it easy for me to share these photos online. 🙂

The students exuberantly bounced around the room, shouting with joy as they located each particular item and pleading for attention of the group’s photographer (we made sure this job was shared.) It was a flurry of frantic activity that took about 15 minutes. We collected the cards and cameras, made sure everything was accounted for, then headed down to the computer lab for some games for the rest of the period.

In the Lab

The following week, our follow-up lesson involved a warm-up featuring eight puzzles I’d created using selected photos and the terrific, free Jigsaw Planet website:

These puzzles were ideal thanks to the large, friendly shapes (6) and the option to have the “Ghost” image behind the puzzle for those who needed it. After that warmup, we moved on to the main lesson, the completion of a PowerPoint template I’d prepared for them. Essentially a keyboarding exercise, they needed to navigate to each slide and type in the name of the object (which was shown on the photo itself.) They needed to spell the words correctly and capitalize their names before we printed the presentation out in handout form to take home:

What’s in our Classroom (KDG)

Our Digital Camera Scavenger Hunt was a great success, thanks largely to a good bit of preparation and allowing plenty of time for kids to work at their own pace, individually and in groups. This isn’t the most original idea, but, it’s one I’ve wanted to try for a while, and I know the kids had fun and learned a lot. I’m looking forward to doing it again next year!