Congratulations! You’re at the halfway mark of our course. 🙂
This could be a good time to consider whether you’ve completed the first four tasks, or whether you need to catch up on any. I’ve added a new page to the blog to make all the task information a little clearer.
This week we explore the topic of images, copyright, and Creative Commons.
Is that a groan I hear? I realise there are some experienced bloggers who know they need to either learn more about this topic or teach their students about it.
Don’t worry, I’ll break it down and show you options to find free images that are:
- age appropriate
- not too time consuming to source/attribute
A blog without images would be pretty boring, wouldn’t it? So everyone definitely need options to find pictures. Images can really enhance our posts, pages, headers, widgets or any other part of your blog you want to jazz up.
Students seem to learn very early on how to search on Google images and how to copy or save these pictures to use elsewhere. While we should give them credit for mastering this workflow, unfortunately, using Google Images on your blog is something we really need to avoid. We need to actively teach our students this too and, of course, offer them alternatives.
As Ronnie Burt’s cat has told our community before…
What's In This Post?
An Overview Video
I’ve made a short video to explain the options for finding free images for your blog posts or digital creations.
Please set aside 5 and a half minutes to go through this presentation before you move on.
There was a lot of information there! If you want to go through it all again, I’ve got a blog post that breaks it down in written format.
Key information from the video
Things to remember:
- Google Images is not a good option. Most images are protected by copyright (and the advanced search filter to find images available for reuse can be complicated).
- Making your own images is an excellent option. This can be done either by drawing, taking your own photos, using computer software, or using online tools. Just be mindful of two things:
- Creating images can interrupt your workflow (ie. some kids can take two hours to draw a picture when drawing wasn’t the learning focus for the lesson).
- Many online tools have age restrictions (often over 13).
- Purchasing images is an option for some (usually businesses). While schools wouldn’t have the budget for this, consider having a class discussion on the ethics of paying artists for their work.
- Creative Commons is worth knowing about! Everyone’s work is protected by copyright unless stated otherwise. Creative Commons licences let creators tell others what they can or cannot do with their material in a clear and universal way. CC licences don’t just apply to images but also text, videos, music etc.
- If you’re using Edublogs, the Compfight plugin is an excellent shortcut. It lets you find and attribute Creative Commons images without any fuss. If you don’t want the attribution information on your picture, or want a broader range of choices, you might want to look elsewhere at some stage (see the next point).
- Another popular shortcut is using Creative Commons Zero or Royalty Free images. These are the least restrictive licences so anyone can use the images freely and attribution is optional. There are an increasing number of sites where you can find CC0 or Royalty Free images but remember:
- Many sites contain inappropriate content if you search for it
- Many sites have age restrictions (13+ or 18+)
Below you’ll find the resources I mentioned in the video to provide a snapshot of what some of the more popular sites do and do not offer.
This collection of websites are easy options because the images on all of these sites don’t require attribution, except Photos For Class (but the work is done for you on that site!).
All you really need to do when using the sites below is learn how to search for an image, save it, and insert it into your blog post.
Beware of advertisements
Remember, when using sites with advertisements, teach children the difference between real search result options and ads for paid stock photography sites. Make sure they know not to click on ads.
For example, on Pixabay, I typed ‘dolphin’ into the search box. The top row of results has a Shutterstock watermark on it. Clicking on this takes me to the Shutterstock website which is a paid stock photography site.
Links to sites listed are:
Note: I recently added Pics4Learning to this chart. I didn’t add it originally because I found the images a little restrictive and amateurish, however, some teachers have mentioned they find it useful. It’s probably an easy option if you teach students under 13.
Also note that Pics4Learning actually contains “copyright-friendly” images meaning the creators maintain the rights to their images but allow teachers and students to use them.
For easy reference, I have created two printables for your classroom. Print them off as handouts, embed them on your blog or display them as posters.
1. Task Card for Students Under 13
2. Poster for Older Students and Teachers
This document references the five sites that are useful for 13+ students (remembering Pixabay requires permission for users aged 13-18).
Final Thoughts: Invest In Fluency
To gain a comprehensive understanding of all things Creative Commons and copyright, check out this post by Sue Waters and Ronnie Burt.
Teaching students about the full range of Creative Commons licences and attribution is an investments in time. However, I strongly believe this is something students should learn about at some point.
If you’re not up to that or don’t want to interrupt your workflows, you might want to take a shortcut. Using Public Domain or Creative Commons Zero images (or the Compfight plugin) are better shortcuts than using copyright images. Avoid that at all costs!
Whatever approach you use, it’s worthwhile investing time in becoming fluent.
For example, if you decide that one or more of the sites mentioned in this post are going to be useful for your blogs posts, invest a little time in playing around with the site and teach your students how to use the site properly.
Then when you need an image for your post, you will able to grab one quickly without having to interrupt your writing too much.
Newbie Technical Checklist
Some of you might not have tried inserting images in blog posts before. If this is you, you’re encouraged to take a look at the tutorial on adding images to posts or pages.
Once you’ve tried it a few times, it will take you no time to enhance your posts with some visuals. As always, be sure to ask if you have a question.
Try out anything that was mentioned above and report on it in a comment.
Reminder: When you comment, please write your name at the end of your comment if it’s unclear from your username. 🙂
Maybe you could:
- Use one of the websites mentioned to find an image for a blog post. Share your post.
- Print off the task cards and use them in a lesson. Tell us about it.
- Try out the Compfight plugin.
- Write a post or page with some information about images, Creative Commons, and copyright (obviously, your own interpretation, not simply copying this content 😉 ).
- Explore ways to create your own images — eg try out some of the online tools available such as Adobe Spark, Canva, BeFunky, AutoDraw etc. (There are many more!).
- Don’t forget your support and encouragement of a fellow participant via a comment or visit to their blog makes a big impact!
Next week’s topic: Connecting with other classes around the world!