It’s never too early to do the right thing. As students start to produce digital documents for class, there’s always a desire to dress it up with graphics and images.
I’m still a big proponent of having students create their own, whether by their own digital camera or via a drawing program. That adds so much to the process.
In the early days, clipart use was pretty clear. You bought it or a number of pieces showed up within the program that you were using. I was on the OSAPAC Committee when we licensed a collection for all schools with classroom friendly pieces of clipart – we called it the Canadian Clipart Collection. The committee also reached out to the Royal Canadian Mint and the Bank of Canada to license high resolution images of Canadian money – we called that the Canadian Currency Collection. A link to it is no longer on the OSAPAC website but you can be sure that I blogged about it here. It was helpful to have licensed images because so many products include US currency as the only option.
Like most things, time and technology moves on and things can often be simpler. Now that so many things are done inside a browser, it’s quite easy to right click and copy an image and then head to the document in process and paste it. But, do you have the legal right to do so? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Big search engines allow you to easily search for images. But, it’s important to know that the results only point to the images as they are hosted elsewhere. It’s really up to the person doing the copying and pasting to make sure that they have the legal right to use them in their personal documents. Teachers need to seize this as a teachable moment to talk about public domain, copyrighted, and then the whole area of Creative Commons. Creative Commons isn’t a thing but a number of different ways that people protect their creations. You need to understand it before using it and, in particular, the tough way of attributing the original image. Much has been written, including on this blog, about this.
A way to get started is with Photos for Class. The service will search Flickr (a repository for images) for images that you want, respecting the license. So, if I’m interested in “puppies”, I can do a simple search and there’s an incredible collection of puppies that come back. Now, I have two problems. 1) Which one to use? 2) How do I attribute it properly. Neither the website nor I can help you with the first problem. But, Photos for Class really helps out with the 2nd problem. When you download the image, it attaches the proper attribution to the image. Check out these adorable pups.
OK, enough puppy gazing. Look at how the image is properly attributed.
You can’t beat doing the right thing. Of course, there may a time when you want an image that’s not found at Photos for Class.
That’s when you really dig into proper licensing and attributions.