This is the first in a series of blog posts about Images & the IWB. In later posts, I'll be looking at ways in which images can be used in IWB materials, and how features of your IWB software can be used when working with images.
Today, however, I'll be concentrating on the first step: finding images that you can use as part of your IWB materials.
Google Images (http://www.google.com/imghp) is probably the first place most people go when looking for a photo. It's easy to use and many teachers with IWBs have discovered that it is a great way of visually illustrating vocabulary items to learners.
One example that I've used Google images for is to illustrate the difference between the words geek and nerd during an advanced class. Instead of starting with me trying to explain the difference / similarities, I showed the results of the Google Image searches for each of the words and then I let the learners talk about what they thought the differences/similarities were, which resulted in a stimulating discussion.
You do have to be careful when doing this, though. One thing I recommend is to make sure you turn on 'strict filtering' (accessible from the Advanced Search, especially if you are teaching children or teenagers. Belive me, it could save you a lot of embarrassment!
When it comes to finding images to legally use in your own materials, however, Google Images can be a little challenging. By default, you should assume that copyright exists on anything that you find when searching, and that you will need to obtain permission to legally use something you find.
Adding the words 'copyright free' when searching can help. Try, for example searching for 'copyright free clipart' in Google and you will easily find lots of images you can use without worrying about permissions. In the Google Advanced Search, there is an option to return images that are 'labelled for reuse' , but often, though, it is very difficult to find interesting images in Google which you can use legally.
This is one of the reasons why it's worth looking at an alternative site. So, although Google Images will be most people's first choice for images, a photo sharing website such as Flickr (http://www.flickr.com) is often a much better place to look for images to use in your own materials.
There are several reasons for this:
- You will often find more interesting images
- It's easy to find content you can reuse legally
- You can limit your search to photos/clipart/screenshots/etc.
To find images you can use legally, you will need to use the advanced search facility in Flickr and select the checkbox 'Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content'.
Creative Commons is a non-profit organisation that exists to make it easier for people to share digital resources. There are a number of different licenses that people can choose from when publishing content that encourages the legal use of material that people choose to publish, especially online.
In Flickr, once you have found an image to use, you can download it for use in your own IWB files. Usually all that is required in return is recognition (or attribution) of the creator somewhere on the resource you create.
I hope this brief guide will be of interest to you and make it easier for you to find and use images for your own IWB resources. In part 2, I'll be looking at ways of using the images you find in your IWB flipcharts.