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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


TagGalaxy

by Stephen Wood
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Jun 06, 2011 by Teacher Education
Overview: This site is an image search engine that uses Papervision3D to explore Flickr photos. You find the images by typing a tag and then a virtual 3-D planetary system pops up. If you click on one of the planets surrounding the center planet that planet will move to the center and its' subtags will show up as planets. If you double click on a planet the photos will show up. 235 photos show up on a planet so you need to click the arrow at the top of the page to continue viewing more images on that planet. Basic skills are: Mouse wheel to zoom; Drag mouse to rotate; and Click on center planet to view.
Learning Goals: The intent of TagGalaxy is to provide optimum visual and 3D mapping for searches of photographs in Flickr.
Target Student Population: Upper elementary through university; Those interested in arts education, photography, and multimedia. Teachers should be advised that mature subject matter in the images may be inappropriate for younger students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Internet access.
Type of Material: image search image for photo sharing
Recommended Uses: Because this visual search engine is interactive, it offers many opportunities for instructors and students engage and focus their audiences. TagGalaxy would be particularly effective used on a Smartboard in a classroom setting. Looking for a story starter, images to jumpstart an art project, or visual prompts for role playing scenarios? TagGalaxy can offer millions of choices, literally. Learning how search effectively by using appropriate tagging can demonstrated and then applied using TagGalaxy. The content crosses all curriculum areas and beyond so educators may want to conduct searches in advance if they work with younger students.
Technical Requirements: Internet connection; The newest version of Adobe's Flash Player is needed to use and view the images in TagGalaxy.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: TagGalaxy creatively allows search and 3-D views of tagged images from Flickr. Its strength is in its structure for interacting--rotating, zooming, searching photographs by keyword and then seeing image results. Browsing the images by topic and subtopic is an entirely different experience. Images are viewed in groups of 235 per "planet." Each planet can be rotated, spun, or moved by flicking or moving the cursor. With millions of images in the Flickr pool, image searching crosses all curricular areas.
Concerns: Directions could be optimized to make use easier.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The characteristics of this learning tool allow for development of visual literacy skills, image search engine use and discernment, and reorganization of topics searched. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If so, then TagGalaxy offers libraries full of ways to see, understand, and connect curriculum content. Since the image pool in Flickr holds millions of images, learning material can integrated into and across the curriculum. Instructors should find images that can be tied directly to the pedagogy of their specific disciplines. A vast range of assignments can be created using the images discovered and the creativeness of the instructor.
Concerns: Just a reminder that not everyone who posts images to Flickr indicates how their images can be used. Therefore, when using TagGalaxy pay attention to appropriate copyright, Creative Commons, and Fair Use policies.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: This site is extremely clean. Information is presented as you need it. As you progress through your search, labels and the simple directions for using the site appear. Clicking on individual images enlarges them. Any information that was submitted by the person who posted the image to Flickr is also displayed. A number count at the top of the page tracks how many images you have viewed for a particular topic. To view more you simply click the forward arrow and the new images appear and the count goes up. In the lower right corner there is a tab to view the image search results in full screen. In full screen a message appears indicating to use ESC to leave full screen. There is also a button in the lower right to do this as well.
Concerns: Use of animation may require extra time for some users.

Other Issues and Comments: This animation is a VERY clever thesis project from Steven Wood at the University of Applied Sciences in Nuremberg.