Monday, July 01, 2019

Web-ulous tools, part 3

Every couple of years, I share my favorite online tools, as I did in November 2017 and March 2014.

In this post, I am going to concentrate on tools to support Creative Commons image usage. I am not specifically going to cover the process of searching for CC images , but how to make sure attribution is included when these images are used.
Before I begin, I want to mention the use of watermarked images. Images are watermarked by the creator or site to showcase the image and offer a copy for sale without the watermark.
As educators, we need to model appropriate image usage, and should not use a watermarked image in anything we publish online or share with students. A discussion of watermarked images should be had with students so they understand both why items are watermarked and learn how to take the steps to watermark their own images if they desire to keep them from being “borrowed”.

Photos for Class

One great online site that solves the attribution problem for students is Photos For Class. This site allows student to conduct a search of Creative Commons-licensed images, receive the results, and download an image with an embedded citation/attribution included right on the image!
Although this is a great place to search for images and makes it easy for students to include attribution, educators should be aware there are some images that are not included in the results from Photos for Class. Below is the information on which Creative Commons licenses Photos for Class return results for and which ones they do not.

The Photos for Class search does not return photos that do not allow derivatives, of which there are many. In addition, they eliminate the “share alike” images which require the user, if they edit the image, to license their new image with the same license as the original creator assigned to their image.

Adobe Spark Tools

The Adobe Spark tools, Spark Video and Spark Page, have an image search engine built into the interface.
Free photos search in Adobe Spark Video
These searches, as per Adobe’s site, state that…
Spark searches Flickr for Creative Commons images and Pixabay for images tagged as public domain. Icons are retrieved from The Noun Project. When you search for images and icons, we’ll automatically add the credits at the end of every Video or Page.
The automatic attribution on the credits page is also great for students, as you can see below!
Automatic credit for CC-licensed image used in Adobe “Free photos” search
Adobe also states their searches only return Creative Commons-licensed images for images that are licensed as “commercial use with modification”. However, they remind the user to check the original image to verify the license.
With the return of images that are CC-licensed to use commercially, the pool of images located in the Adobe Spark tools “free images” search is probably smaller than the Photos for Class image search results, since it is more likely creators will allow their items to be used non-commercially than used commercially.

Keeping track of URLs

Of course, students can use use the image searches in Google ImagesFlickr, or Bing to find their CC-licensed images. Do they want to edit an image? Do they need to use an image commercially? Or will an image be fine “as is” with attribution? Each of these search tools easily allows student to limit their search to a specific Creative Commons license, based on their need.
The thing to remind students to do is to save the URL of the image once they locate it. The full citation can be created at a later time, but it is important students can get back to the image itself to cite it properly.
Here are a few suggestions on methods to do this.
  • Have students keep track of the original URLs and brief description of the photos in a Word, Doc, or Pages document.
  • Have students use a page in Microsoft OneNote, in the app or on the computer, and add the URL and a small version of the image once they find it.
  • Have students create a Keynote, Google Slides, or PowerPoint presentation with blank slides, upload the image to the slide and add the URL to the slide, too. When they are done collecting images, students can export the presentation as images or jpegs. The URL and/or full citations now always stays with the images!
  • The teacher or students can create a Google Form template which includes the components of a Creative Commons image citation and students can save their information in a Google Sheet.
  • Students can create a Padlet page to store thumbnails of the photos When they add the URL to the link button, the photos shows up on the Padlet wall. When they click on the image, students can open a new window and be sent directly to the original photo page, which, in the images below would be the Flickr page.

Citing Creative Commons images

The Creative Commons site provides guidance in how to cite an image. Foran image I took of my home, a geodesic dome…
…the attribution would look like this.
Geodesic dome home” by Kathy Schrock is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.
Title of image/video [linked to original image] by Author [linked to profile page] under License [linked to license description page].
If students were not live-linking the citation, it might look something like this (which covers TASL- title, attribution, source, and license).
“Geodesic dome home” by Kathy Schrock ( at Creative Commons licensed under an Attribution-NoDerivs Generic 2.0 license.


Do you have some tips and tricks to help students easily provide attribution for Creative Commons images? Please share your thoughts on Twitter! #kathyschrock