Picasa is a free photo-hosting service from Google. It is a simple and easy way to upload photos from your camera and computer onto the web. Picasa Web Albums allows you to share your photos and video clips with anyone and everyone and there is built-in geotagging. You control the the upload size and album privacy. Picasa works with Macs, PCs and mobile phones. Users get 1 GB of free hosting and can pay for additional storage space.
The goal of Picasa is to make transferring, finding, organizing, editing, printing, and sharing of images easy and efficient for the user.
Target Student Population:
This is geared for those who can manage a Google account responsibly. Senior high school students through adults.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
If using a Mac, there is a special download. Software must be downloaded. No prerequisites in photography are necessary.
Type of Material:
Free software and online management area.
Teachers, especially art teachers, can create image albums of student work,subject matter content, or specific groups. Picasa can be used to create dvd covers, desktop wallpapers, collage posters, restore old photos, face movies (from a selected photo), and more. You can make slide shows from your albums and then link to them or embed them. Faculty and/or departments could make very good use of this feature. There is now a Picasa Web Albums for iPad that allows you to share your images in another way. You can also add name tags to photos.
Intel Mac OS X 10.5 or newer;100 MB available hard disk space; 256 MB RAM; 1024x768 screen resolution or higher
Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7; 100 MB available hard disk space; 256 MB RAM; 1024x768 screen resolution or higher; Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or newer
Evaluation and Observation
This is a powerful, easy to use, picture editing program. You can add crop, straighten, correct for red eye very easily. There are special effects such as auto color and auto correct that usually come only with high end editing software. Image processing effects are available.
Picasa makes it incredibly easy to upload, manage, and be creative with photos. It offers a range of free photo-editing tools that users can apply to develop their own digital photography skills. There are a range of options from basic photo management to tools that allow for creative photo editing and sharing. Because so many people take photos and this crosses disciplines, this is a tool for all educators.
This site now (March 28, 2012) links to Picnik, which will not longer be available after April 15th.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Picasa provides free photo-editing software from Google that allows for online organization, management, and sharing. Once Picasa is installed, it can literally scan your computer for photos. You can also import photos from cameras, CDs, scanners, and more. Educators might use Picasa to document what their classes are doing, field trips, student visual art portfolios, etc.
From your online Picasa site you have three clearly labeled tabs--Home, My Photos, and Explore. The Home tab shows you your recent albums, any recent activity from your site (following others or others following you--all determined by you). Under the My Photos tab you upload your selected images or you can simply drag and drop. This process is so fast and easy, that once educators have Picasa set up, they will wonder why they did not do this sooner. The Explore tab takes you to larger overall Picasa site where thousands of photos can be explored through featured photos, popular tags, and locations. There is also a Where in the World game here. Because of the geotagging, you can guess where the images were taken.
The software does have to be downloaded.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Downloading, installing, and getting started with Picasa takes just a minute or so. Picasa will immediately find where there are photos on your computer. Once you have downloaded and installed Picasa, you have total control over the photos that Picasa displays. Picasa shows you the photo and video file types that you tell it to find, in the folders that you tell it to search. Then be sure to login in with your Google account to the online Picasa site, picasa.google.com.
Teachers can create albums for their students to upload pictures. You can even create a movie if you have an audio file from some source such as Audacity. The result is a .wmv file that can be uploaded to YouTube. The price is right: Free!
There is an online well organized Help Center for addressing "How To" questions and "Fix a Problem" issues. Furthermore there is an online Help Forum, Blog, and the ability to connect to Google+. Google has provided so much information about Picasa (the software) and Picasa Web Albums (online storage) that you can start with the basics--which are clear and easy--and then discover possibilities to suit your educational needs.
The labeling for the Picasa software is clear and intuitive. The same is true for the online Picasa Web Albums site. Both are easy to use and offer hours of exploration and discovery.
Other Issues and Comments:
No issues. Everything worked as presented. Impressive.