Experienced teacher and tech visionary Dan Roberts will be sharing practical ICT ideas to use in the classroom, picking out his weekly web wonders and offering advice and support in his regular Tech Blog.
Tag Galaxy is a fantastic free visual search engine that you can use in your classroom very easily. You simply type your search term in, press enter and you get a galaxy populated with planets, each with their own tag, that you can then select and look into further. The image on the right is for a search that I did using the word ICT. You can then click on each planet to display the visual images based on that search – the images are sourced from the popular photo-sharing website Flickr. Have a look at second image on the right for an example of what appears when you click on a planet.
How to use Tag Galaxy in the classroom
As with any new classroom tool, practice makes perfect. On occasion, you can get inappropriate images on a search – I’d advise checking your keywords before you use them in class.
Tag Galaxy can be used at the start of a new topic as a way of sparking discussions based on some of the images that come up during a keyword search.
Other ways I’ve found it helpful include as a starting point for an essay – it’s proved to be a more collaborative and visual way for students’ initial thoughts about tackling an essay question.
I’ve used it as a creative homework activity, too. Students use the site with keywords supplied by the teacher and pick the five most important images they think represent that word. I then ask them to justify the reasons behind their selections.
You can also use it to review and recap on what students have learnt at the end of a lesson or topic. I’ve used it by typing in keywords and getting students to explore some of the images in the context of what they have learnt.
If you have a go at using Tag Galaxy then please leave a comment below letting us know how you used it and what the impact on learning was in your classroom. Please leave us examples of your Tag Galaxy searches too – we would love to see them.