Why can't children add pictures to blog posts?

This is a question we get frequently asked, along the lines of:

 

Hi John,

We would really like our kids (contributors) to be able to add images that are saved on our network. For example when writing their football match report be able to select photographs taken of the match. Right now they are unable and also can’t copy and paste these in either.

Thanks

 

 

The standard configuration in our blogsites (and the standard configuration for Wordpress) is not to allow image uploads for contributors for 3 reasons:

1) The teacher has no way of telling if the image uploaded is licensed for re-use or not. i.e. whether or not the image is copyrighted: see here for what happens when a school infringes copyright.
2) If they upload personal pictures of their family there is no way of telling if permission has been sought.
3) It’s impossible to restrict image uploading to in school only.

Note: in some browsers, copy and paste now works so be vigilant if children have discovered this for themselves.

Work Arounds

There are a number of different ways in which you can work around this issue, most of which are actually much better than the simple expediancy of amending the rights of contributors to allow the upload of images.

 

Flickr and other photo hosting services

Actually children can “upload” images by embedding them from different websites.

Our first suggestion is that you use Flickr to host images. Provided that the images you upload are all tagged and are publicly viewable (school policy issue), then children can embed images from Flickr

This will have lots of additional benefits:

1) The children will have access to a tagged and searchable database of online images to use in their blogging from home or school.

2) Images can be uploaded to Flickr direct from a mobile device using the Flickr app or other apps. Once uploaded those images can be displayed instantly on a blog via a Flickr gallery – no need to embed or post separately. The homepage of all our blogs includes a Flickr widget and Flickr integration as standard.

3) Masses of space can be freed up on your server

4) We use the Slickr Flickr plugin to integrate Flickr with blogs, so if you do decide to use Flickr ensure you get in touch so we can configure your blogs accordingly. (See here for Slickr Flickr tutorials)

 

Using Gravity Forms

We include a Gravity Forms licence in all our sites and using this you can create a form in which children can create a blogpost with a picture included. (Tutorial here) These posts can go straight into "pending review" in the normal way providing the form is set up correctly.

 

Amending Contributor Rights

There are ways in which we it is possible to amend Contributor rights to allow the upload of images but we really don’t like to do this as it creates a lot of extra responsibility for teachers. In such a scenario, teachers would become directly responsible for checking the copyright status of every image uploaded.

 

Changing the role of users on a temporary basis

If you have a set of pictures in a folder on your network from a school trip, for example, and you wanted children to write an account of the trip, you could change the children's role from Contributors to Authors for that specific lesson, thus enabling them to temporarily upload images.

To change the role of your children to Authors:

From the teacher's dashboard click 'Users'

Filter your view by clicking 'Contributors' (just above the user list)

Now select all by ticking the box at the head of the column (note, the screen displays 20 users at once so either repeat twice to ensure all users are converted or click "Screen Options" (top right) and change the number of lines to display to a number larger than the total number of children in the class).

Use the drop down menu at the top to change role to 'Author' and click "Apply".

Important Note: once you have changed the children's role from Contributor to Author, not only can they upload images, but they can also publish immediately without review. Therefore it's essential for you to do a 'walk round' to make sure you are happy with their work prior to them clicking 'publish'.

It is imperative that you remember to switch them back to Contributors at the end of the lesson.

 

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