In the News This Morning — Google & LIFE

I’m an iPhone App junkie.  I scan the App Store daily looking for the coolest new tool-oy or update of yesterday’s tool-oy.  But, hands-down, my most often activated app is Mobile News, powered by Associated Press.  ..and this morning, I learned that Google has launched an online photo gallery that will ultmately feature millions of images from Life magazine’s archives — photos that have never been seen by the public.

Two Million photos from Life Magazine’s Libraries are suddenly available to the lifestyles of the connected world.

Starting today, Google offers to the connected eye and mind, about 2 million photos.  The Mountain View company plans to scan all 10 million photos from LIFE’s library.  According to the AP article, “About 97 percent of LIFE’s archives have not been publicly seen, according to LIFE.” ((“Google gives online life to Life mag’s photos .” The Associated Press 18 Nov 2008 19 Nov 2008 . ))

My family received Life Magazine when I was growing up.  It was one of the highlights of the month to be able to scan through the photos, those pages providing a window on our world.  It, and other published and broadcasted images and sounds, had a profound affect on my generation.

Today, however, the Internet, and the inventive and often donated efforts of many organizations, like Google (but many others) are providing lenses for drilling so much deeper into our world, its workings, its past, and even the future.

Yet, for many schools today, access to LIFE’s library remains limited to that single magazine, perched on the magazine rack, along side many of the very same journals that we perused decades ago — and the shame is in our prevailing belief that schools that limit learners’ access to content remain adequate for educating our children.

We know that a crucial part of the formula that describes and defines the education experience that today’s children desperately need is access to abundant, rich media that is digital and networked.  Services like Google LIFE photo archive, offer not only access to knowledge, but perhaps more importantly to the pedagogies of a digital world, raw materials for working information in ways that provoke learning, not just administer it.

According to the AP article, “The photos can be printed out for free as long as they aren’t being used as part of an attempt to make money.”

From Google’s blog article (LIFE Photo Archive available on Google Image Search) about this new offering…

One of our favorites is this classic Eisenstaedt image of children watching a puppet show.

Alfred snapped this in 1963, at the climax of Guignol’s “Saint George and the Dragon” in the Tuileries Garden in Paris. Just as the dragon is slain, some children cry out in a combination of horror and delight, while others are taken aback in shock. Every child is consumed with emotion, masterfully captured by Eisenstaedt’s camera… ((

Image from Google’s LIFE Photo Archive ((“Factory workers displaying gyroscopes from assembly line..” Google Photo Archive. Google Inc. 19 Nov 2008 link. ))
[Click to enlarge]

Couldn’t we learn to capture learning, instead of just measuring it, like this.

We must make a clear statement, a demand, that 21st century learners and teachers (master learners) must have convenient access to networked, digital, and abundant content and the tools for working that content.

This is not about future schools.

This is not about special schools.

This is about the characteristics of basic education today, for today’s children, and their/our future.

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6 thoughts on “In the News This Morning — Google & LIFE”

  1. This is a fabulous web site. What a great resource for primary documents for our students. And as they say…..a picture is worth a thousand words.I have passed this website on to all of our teachers and bookmarked it for use. I could spend hours looking through the pictures re-living events during my life all over again.

  2. Thank you for reminding your readers about the Google/Life photo archive. One of my duties as a library media specialist is to teach the responsible use of media. Students may think that free means free not to cite. What a wonderful place to start or remind our students of “the pedagogies of a digital world.” As a transition to the topic of digital literacy and appropriate citation guidelines, I want to use the image from Alfred Eisenstaeat for a writing prompt titled “What emotions do I see.” After collecting the assignment, discuss the photographer, the background of the photo and the story of Google offering the photographs of Life magazine archives. Thank you for reminding me that part of my responsibility as an educator is to provoke and inspire learning, which requires access to a digitally rich learning environment.

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