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By Terry Freedman

If you like taking photos then you will probably want to share them with others. There are a number of photo-sharing sites available, perhaps the most well- known of which is Flickr (http://www.flickr.com).

There are others too, though: see this review:

http://www.little.org/blog/PermaLink.aspx?guid=f132eca2-705e-4216-836e- 09832dc00bb4

Let's face it: clip art is, generally speaking, boring. And the reason is not hard to fathom: if a popular program comes with clip art all ready to use with no extra payment needed, then people who are in a hurry are going to use it. The question is: should we not encourage children in schools to look beyond the standard fare?

The answer is a cautious “yes”. Why cautious? Because one of the things we should be teaching children is that there's no point in reinventing wheels just for the sake of it. If a piece of clip art is just right for the purpose, then why not use it? The problem is, many teachers seem to go no further than telling kids where the clip art menu item is. In the words of the standard school report, they could do better.

One way is to create their own photographic clip art with a digital camera. Storage is no longer a problem if a class Flickr account is opened: it's free. What's more, there are thousands of photos on Flickr which have been uploaded by other users, many of which can be used free of charge under certain conditions. Most of these pictures are as unique as the people who took them.

There is another outcome of going around taking photos: you start to notice things more. Here's an example: when I went around taking pictures according to a theme of “numbers”, I noticed for the first time ever that London buses have three numbers: the licence plate or registration number, the bus number itself, of course, and also, inexplicably, another number displayed in the driver's windscreen.

That outing also made me start to notice that some shops advertise goods at 50% off while others advertise goods at half price. Does that make a difference to people's perceptions? I have no idea, but I do know that once I'd got going I started to notice numbers all over the place – and I noticed even more numbers in some of the pictures when I looked at them afterwards on my computer screen.

What better way to fire up a young person's interest in numbers and in their environment?

My most recent venture was to take pictures of patterns in the street: it's astonishing what you notice once you really look. Some are very nice indeed. And there would have been even more of them had I remembered to charge up the camera battery and the spare battery before leaving home!

You can see the photos I've referred to by going to www.flickr.com/photos/terryfreedman

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