Thursday, October 8, 2015

Safely Using Images From The Internet

Probably one of the biggest problems with students using the internet for school work is the inappropriate or illegal use of images found online.  Teachers like to think that Educational Fair Use means that anything can be used with students.  Not so.

(Click to enlarge)
A teacher in my PLN (Professional Learning Network) shared the picture below.  A teacher in her district found a picture in a Google search and copied it from the search results page and used it in a presentation. That presentation file was uploaded for a few days on her website for students to use and then taken down.   The company, a part of Getty Images apparently, has tools actively searching the internet for their work and they found their image.  The teacher was sent a bill for $1480 for the use of the image online.  Legally, it had to be paid.

Researching into this more, there are a good number of educational institutions sharing that they have been hit with similar bills.  The teachers that posted the images online are responsible for paying the bill, often in the thousands of dollars.

Looking for an authentic object lesson for students or teachers about copyright and the use of images found on the internet?  This is pretty authentic.

Where Do I Get Online Images For The Classroom?

Not everything on the internet is evil or copyrighted.  Students have access to a wealth of images that can be used for reports.  Do keep in mind that the practice of citing your image source for each image can help the writer be mindful of copyright permissions for images used.

Google Image Search
There is a lot in The Google that is legally useable. Go ahead and use the Google image search, but change the settings to only search for images that have been labeled for reuse or reuse with modification.

Again, these photos belong to somebody. They are just letting you use them for free if you give them credit with a citation.

Flickr Creative Commons maintains a Creative Commons ( ) that houses millions of photos that are free to use.  This page quickly describes the Creative Commons licenses and groups the photos by license.  Not all of the photos are elementary safe, but teachers can collect some great images and provide them as a photo bank for classroom projects. Look for the Attribution icon for freely-usable images.

Google Docs Research Tool
One of our favorite tools in Google Docs, the Research tool is found in the Tools menu in Docs and Slides. (Google support).  Using this tool, students can search for images, websites, statistics and more right beside the Google Doc they are working on.

Finding an image is as easy as typing your search term at the top and clicking the 'G' to give you access to the Images search.  You can now find a good image in the results and simply drag over to your document.  I love showing this to teachers in a large room, just because you quickly hear gasps of joy as they realize that the Research tool automatically creates a footnote for that image and places the citation at the bottom of the page.  No rolling the typewriter up from the bottom of the page anymore.

Images, websites, quotes and more can provide a clickable citation for your document.

More Online Resources For Free Images For The Classroom
Our friends at Harvard Law School Library have published a guide for appropriate use of online images. Finding Public Domain and Creative Commons Media. They share a few more resources and legal definitions for public domain images.

What are some sources that you use with your students?

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