Free Technology for Teachers: 9 Places to Find Creative Commons & Public Domain Images

Monday, June 27, 2011

9 Places to Find Creative Commons & Public Domain Images

When students create multimedia projects they might be tempted to simply do a Google Images search and use the first images they see. But as educators we have a responsibility to teach students to respect copyright holders’ rights. One of the ways that we can do that is to teach students to use Creative Commons and Public Domain images.

Morgue File provides free photos with license to remix. The Morgue File photo collection contains thousands of images that anyone can use for free in academic or commercial presentations. The image collection can be searched by subject category, image size, color, or rating. Morgue File is more than just a source for free images. The Morgue File also features a “classroom” where visitors can learn photography techniques and get tips about image editing.

Wylio is an image search engine designed to help bloggers and others quickly find, cite, and use Creative Commons licensed images. Wylio results only return images that are listed with a Creative Commons license. Wylio makes it easy to give proper attribution to the creator of the image by providing you with html code that includes attribution. All you have to do is copy the code and paste it into your blog post or webpage.

William Vann’s EduPic Graphical Resource provides free photographs and drawings for teachers and students to use in their classrooms. Mr. Vann is an amateur photograph (a good one at that) and a teacher. Mr. Vann gives permission to teachers and students to use the images in any manner needed for instructional and learning purposes.

The World Images Kiosk hosted by San Jose State Universityoffers more than 75,000 images that teachers and students can use in their academic projects. All of the images can be used under a Creative Commons license that requires you to give proper attribution when necessary. You can find images by using the search box or you can browse through more than 800 portfolios and groups organized by subject.

ImageBase is a personal project of professional photographer David Niblack. ImageBase contains more than one hundred pages of images that Mr. Niblack has released for free reuse and redistribution. In fact, the top of the ImageBase site says “treat like public domain.” In addition to the hundreds of images that are available, ImageBase also offers nearly one hundred free PowerPoint templates.

Photos 8 is a great place to find thousands of images that are in the public domain. These images can be used in any way that you and your students see fit. There are twenty-two categories of images of which the largest collections are of animals, birds, and sunsets.

To find images that can be reused and remixed use Google’s Advanced Image search options. To use the usage rights filter option, select “advanced image search” on the main Google Images page. Once in the “advanced image search” page, you will find the usage rights options at the bottom of the page. In the usage rights menu you can select one of four options; “labeled for reuse,” “labeled for commercial reuse,” “labeled for reuse with modification,” or “labeled for commercial reuse with modification.”
Yahoo Images has an option similar to Google’s for finding Creative Commons licensed images. When you search for images using Yahoo’s image search tool,  you can select filters to refine results to show only images that are licensed under Creative Commons. The filters allow you to select filters for images that can be used for commercial purposes or images that are licensed for remixing and building upon.

Animal Photos is a great source of Creative Commons licensed photos of animals. All of the photos are categorized by animal. Each image indicates the type of Creative Commons license associated with the picture. Animal Photos also offers advice on giving attribution for each photo.

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Education Week: Why Core Standards Must Embrace Media Literacy

Published Online: June 21, 2011

Commentary

Why Core Standards Must Embrace Media Literacy

By

Richard Beach & Frank W. Baker

Today’s young people are growing up in a world full of smartphones, texting, YouTube, Internet access, and instant entertainment and information. But while they may be media-savvy, we maintain that they are not necessarily media- or digital-literate.

Multiple studies have shown that many young people lack the media and information-literacy skills they need to be competent communicators in the 21st century. Many don’t venture beyond the top result when searching online and lack the critical skills to assess the validity of online-search results and identify the sources of information from both online and other media.

“Kids and Credibility: An Empirical Examination of Youth, Digital Media Use, and Information Credibility,”Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader

a 2010 study funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, surveyed 11- to 18-year-olds and found that 89 percent believed that “some” to “a lot” of what they found on the Web was believable. They failed to challenge the ideological assumptions inherent in dramas, news broadcasts, or product and political advertising.

Throughout much of American education’s history, there have been calls for more attention to fostering media literacy—the ability to access, evaluate, produce, and critically analyze media and media messages. More recently, the sharp increase in the use of digital tools for constructing and communicating ideas using online databases, blogs, Twitter, wikis, texting, podcasts, image repositories, and digital videos has involved a completely new set of digital literacies that not all students necessarily possess.

In 1989, Ernest L. Boyer, then the president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and former U.S. commissioner of education, noted: “It is no longer enough simply to read and write. Students must also become literate in the understanding of visual images. Our children must learn how to spot a stereotype, isolate a social cliché, and distinguish facts from propaganda, analysis from banter, and important news from coverage.”

In 1996, the National Council of Teachers of English, or NCTE, of which we are both members, endorsed a resolution that “viewing and visually representing are a part of our growing consciousness of how people gather and share information. … Teachers should guide students in constructing meaning through creating and viewing nonprint texts.”

In 2008, the NCTE’s executive committee recognized the importance of new digital/media literacies: “Because technology has increased the intensity and complexity of literate environments, the 21st century demands that a literate person possess a wide range of abilities and competencies [and] many literacies.”

“Studies have shown that many young people lack the media and information-literacy skills they need to be competent communicators in the 21st century.”

Being media- and digital-literate means having the ability to access and assess online information, share knowledge, connect texts, collaborate with others, build networks, create and remix multimodal texts, and participate in online simulations or games.

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills specifically lists “media literacy” as one of the vital and necessary skills today’s students must have to be competitive in a 21st-century workforce. Media literacy is embedded in the P21 curriculum-skills maps for English language arts, social studies, arts, and other disciplines.

For the past three years, the K-12 Horizon Report published by the New Media Consortium has declared that the top challenge for schools in the 21st century is “a growing need for formal instruction in key new skills, including information literacy, visual literacy, and technological literacy.”

Unfortunately, despite these consistent calls for more attention to media/digital literacies, many of the policy initiatives associated with the federal No Child Left Behind Act and increased use of standardized reading and writing tests continue to perpetuate a focus on teaching print literacies, at the expense of teaching media/digital literacies.

The strong focus on teaching reading-comprehension skills for print texts to prepare for standardized reading tests has ignored recent research indicating that understanding online texts requires the ability to locate icons or links related to one’s purpose for reading, necessitating a set of comprehension skills quite different from those used to process print texts. But those skills are not being taught because the focus is on preparing students for texts based on print literacies. And, because many state writing tests still require that some answers be handwritten, many teachers discourage the use of computers for writing to prepare students for these tests.

Meanwhile, the Common Core State Standards, currently adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, frame uses of media/digital literacies primarily in terms of comprehending and communicating information. For example, one of the reading standards for grades 6-12 says students should be able to: “synthesize and apply information presented in diverse ways (e.g., through words, images, graphs, and video) in print and digital sources in order to answer questions, solve problems, or compare modes of presentation”; and, one of the grades 6-12 writing standards: “use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and interact with others about writing.”

This focus marginalizes uses of a range of other media/digital literacies associated with social-networking sites, blogs, wikis, digital images/videos, smartphone/tablet apps, video games, podcasts, etc., for constructing media content, building social networks, engaging audiences, and critiquing status quo problems.

And, other than a mention of the need to “evaluate information from multiple oral, visual, or multimodal sources,” there is no specific reference in the common standards to critical analysis and production of film, television, advertising, radio, news, music, popular culture, video games, media remixes, and so on. Nor is there explicit attention on fostering critical analysis of media messages and representations.

A 1999 national survey of state standards found elements of media literacy in almost every state’s teaching standards. As states adopt the common-core standards, the result may actually be a reduced focus on media and literacy instruction formally contained in state standards.

We therefore recommend four ways to address the common standards’ limited focus on media/digital literacies:

1) Add additional standards for media/digital literacy. The Common Core State Standards Initiative allows states to add their own standards for use in their schools (up to 15 percent of additional standards over and above the common core standards). We recommend that states focus on media/digital literacies involving both critical analysis of media/digital texts and the production of media/digital texts. For example, the media/digital standards added in Minnesota expect 11th and 12th graders to understand, analyze, evaluate, and use different types of print, digital, and multimodal media; evaluate the aural, visual, and written images and other special effects used in mass media for their ability to inform, persuade, and entertain; and examine the intersections and conflicts between visual (e.g., media images, painting, film, graphic arts) and verbal messages. The Minnesota standards emphasize both analysis and production, recognizing that, through production, students learn about media/digital texts. And, through analysis of media/digital texts, students develop criteria for assessing the quality of their productions.

2) Build on the common-core standards to develop curriculum and instruction designed to integrate print and media/digital literacies. The common standards formulate instructional goals; educators can then use those goals to develop curriculum and instruction designed to integrate print and media/digital literacies. For example, in fostering critical responses to literature, students can use blogs and wikis to facilitate the sharing of responses and to link to other texts, authors, themes, or issues evoked by a text, as well as to create digital video adaptations of literary texts. In teaching argumentative writing, teachers can require students to formulate pro and con positions on an issue as part of an online role play.

3) Push for assessments that include measures of media/digital literacies that employ media/digital tools. Two consortia, the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, which includes 30 states, and the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, which includes 25 states, are developing computer-based assessments that will be implemented in 2014. Because these assessments will dictate the curriculum and instruction associated with implementation of the common standards, it is essential that they include some assessment of media/digital literacies. Assessments could require students to critique examples of media representations of race, class, or gender, or to engage in accessing and assessing the quality of online information.

4) Support and fund professional development for teachers to help them incorporate media/digital literacy into instruction. For busy classroom teachers, there is a need to provide in-service instruction. Already, several national groups, such as the International Society for Technology in Education, are poised to provide this training, but it must be offered and implemented regionally and locally.

The time to consider what’s missing in contemporary schools is past. We cannot afford to ignore students’ levels of engagement with digital-communication tools and popular culture in all subjects. Teachers need to demand that the implementation of the common-core standards includes a focus on teaching media/digital literacies in ways that make schooling relevant and meaningful and that better prepare students for life in the 21st century.

Richard Beach is a professor emeritus of literature and media at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Frank W. Baker is a national media-education consultant in Columbia, S.C., who operates the Media Literacy Clearinghouse website. Both are members of the National Council of Teachers of English and the organization’s Media and Digital Literacies Collaborative.

Vol. 36, Issue 30

 

 

Technology 101

I just had to share this great article from The Chronicle entitled Technology 101: The Basics No One Tells You. Click the link to read the article:  http://bit.ly/ltPMsI (and don’t say I didn’t tell you!)

 

Highlights:

·        Send your parents a care package using Teach Parents Techhttp://www.teachparentstech.org/

·        Check out these great Commoncraft videos – http://www.commoncraft.com/

·        Read these two great articles by David Pogue:

·        Ins and Outs of using Gadgetryhttp://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/technology/personaltech/19pogue.html

·        25 More Tech Tips and Trickshttp://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/25-more-tech-tips-and-tricks/

Even you techies might learn something! I did!

 

Feed your decisions with feedback

Qualtrics is a really cool survey tool available to UAA faculty, staff, and students. This tool can be used to post a poll in your Blackboard course or add a survey link to your department website, for just a few examples. Note: I have to make a plug for the importance of getting regular feedback from students, especially in an online class. Here’s how:

To go to UAA’s survey tool, go to http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/surveys/ and log in with your UAA username and password (the same one you use for Blackboard). To get started, click Create Survey. From there, you can use the Quick Survey Builder to create a survey from scratch or browse the Survey Library (use the Global Library). You can choose from many different question types and the display logic is very intuitive! Once you have added all the questions and chosen a “look and feel,” you can distribute your survey to get the survey link to add to your site. [Later you’ll use View Results to see the report.] This survey tool is collaborative, so you can invite others to help you create the survey if you want.

Here is an example I created very quickly using a web evaluation survey from the global library: http://uaa.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_e8Mtul4MAdLyqK8. Go ahead and fill it out to give me your feedback on my blog!

The UAA Technology Knowledge Base includes lots of good information about this survey tool: https://kb.uaa.alaska.edu/Wiki%20Pages/Qualtrics%20%28UAA%20Survey%20Tool%29.aspx

Qualtrics University has some video tutorials on how to use the survey tool (http://www.qualtrics.com/university/tutorial-videos/) as well as great information on research in general.

There are two simple alternatives to UAA’s Qualtrics survey tool that come to mind. Both are much more basic than Qualtrics. Blackboard has a survey manager that is much like the test manager but set up for anonymous summarized responses. Also, a Google form (from Google Docs) works well and is easy to embed in a blog or website (like Blackboard). I don’t think I’ll go back to these options after playing around with Qualtrics!