Friday, May 29, 2015

Finding free images for your classroom

image courtesy of Creative Commons
In today's digital world students are creating many projects that include images and videos gathered from various web resources. It is important that you and your students are not violating anyone's copyright. The best way to do this is to search for images and videos in the public domain.

Unfortunately most people go straight to Google Images and grab any image they find in the search results. Most likely these images are not free to use and are rarely attributed. A better way is to search for images that are licensed through Creative Commons. With these images you and your students know you have the proper permission to use the image.

This video from gives an overview of Creative Commons.

Finding images with a Creative Commons license is very easy to do. Below are several websites and curate these kinds of images.

Pixabay offers high quality images free of copyright and can be used for any purpose. I love this site because it also offers most images in a variety of sizes, making easy to find the one that looks best in any project.

Flickr is an image hosting site where any person can create an account and upload their photos. Many photos on the site are licensed under Creative Commons, allowing their use for any project. Students can search for photos on any topic and filter the results by license type.

Pics4Learning is a safe, free image library designed specifically for education. Photographers from around the world donate images to this collection. While the photographers retain the rights to these photos, they have graciously allowed their use through this collection.

Photos For Class works in conjunction with Flickr to filter high quality images suitable for education. Any picture downloaded from this site automatically has the proper attribution included with the picture. You can see the license and author included in this sample photo.

Google Images is probably the most common place students search for images. The problem with this is that most images found are not properly licensed for student use. There is an easy way to filter search results by license. After searching for the image at click Search tools and you'll see a dropdown for Usage rights. Use that to further filter your results. 

Getty Images is the world's largest photo service, providing photos to news organizations and other services. Previously all images were watermarked with the Getty Images logo. But recently the company has decided to remove that watermark for embedded images, as long as they are attributed back to Getty.

Search for the image and hover over it. Click the embed icon (the </> button shown below).

In the new window that pops up, highlight the embed code and copy/paste it into the website. Images will appear with the proper attribution as shown in the preview below.

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