Creating a Collaborative Online Image Catalog

Mrs. Fishel, our Journalism teacher, recently shared an idea with me. She would like students to be able to collaboratively create an online catalog of images that they can access and use in their projects. This brought to mind Pinterest. She was describing a social image curation network appropriate for school. So I started looking for a tool that included:
  • Free accounts that allow the saving of several images
  • Shared space in which various users could curate images
  • A display of multiple images on one page, not just the URL or file name
  • The ability to download the curated images
  • Image source documentation (URL)
  • Ability to tag images to create an index
  • Search features
  • An appropriate environment for high school students
  • Doesn’t require the installation of any software (browser add-ons are ok)
  • Not blocked by the filter

Image Catalog Instructional Uses

Such a catalog could be used as a resource for various activities including: presentations, graphic organizers, timelines, multimedia productions,  etc. The curation process alone could be a way to activate prior knowledge at the start of a new lesson.

  • English: Find an image that represents implore and add it to our Diigo group. In the description explain why you choose this image. Tag the image with “imperative and any other appropriate tags.
  • Math: Find an image with a quadrilateral and add it to our Diigo group. In the description …
  • History: Find an image of a primary document or picture that represents the Harlem Renaissance. In the description…
  • Science: Find an image that represents flammability, corrosion, or oxidation. In the description…

Setup Accounts

Using your school email address, sign up for a free account at Diigo. After your account is set up, log in and request an upgrade to an Education Basic account. This will give you access to a Teacher Console that you can use to create groups for your classes, accounts for your students, view their passwords, etc.

Using the Teacher Console, create a group for your class or course.

You can give this group a name to reflect it’s purpose such as American History Images.

To create student accounts, start by adding them to this new group.

You can easily do this by uploading a csv file of data that you created by exporting the data out of SISK12.

By creating your students’ accounts, they will be able to save up to 20 images a month. If the students sign up for free accounts themselves, they will be limited to 30 images total.

Install the Firefox Toolbar

Students should use Firefox to log into their Diigo accounts. They will need to install the Diigo Toolbar for Firefox, not the Diigolet. The Diigolet doesn’t include the option to save images. While our high school students are not able to install software on their school provided laptops, they are able to install this toolbar.

Saving Images

To save an image to a Diigo account, students just right click on the online image and choose “Save to Diigo.”

Adding a Saved Image to the Catalog

Students should access their Diigo library by navigating to and signing in if necessary. Using the Edit link for an item, students can add tags, a description, and share it with a group, aka the catalog.

If students have several images that they would like to add to the catalog, they can change their view to Advanced then be able to perform bulk actions such as add several items to a group at once.

Accessing the Catalog/Group

To access all the images contributed to the catalog, students click My Groups and choose the appropriate group.

From the catalog students can view thumbnails of all the images contributed by all the members of the group. They can click the thumbnail to view a larger image and download the image. They can view the web address for the image, as well as see who has contributed the image. Images can easily be filtered by a tag using the Tags list in the right sidebar.

Related Note: I am anxiously awaiting approval of my application for an Education Domain for our High School at Diigo. Which means anyone who signs up with their Willard Google Apps email ( will automatically get a student/educator account. Teachers can then use a Teacher Master Code to upgrade their accounts to teacher and gain access to the Teacher Console.

So what are your thoughts? Can you use this in your classroom?