Creative Commons Image Sources for your IWB

You can’t beat a powerful image to add punch to your lesson. Whether you want something to put up to draw questions from the class or just to add extra emphasis to a presentation. I’ve written about this before – and linked to a few good sources of images such as The Big Picture.

To help find creative commons images, there are several tools now which will let you search Flickr for CC images. My Favourite is FlickrCC – enter a tag to search for and it will return a load thumbnails. Click on a thumbnail to see more information and to visit the original page on Flickr.

Ground Squirrel @Lake Minnewanka

Other search engines which trawl Flickr include:

Compfight :

FlickrStorm :

Simple Flickr CC Search :

Flickr Creative Commons Search :

Remember to credit the original source of the image when you use it. I usually copy and past the full URL to the source image – you could also give the Flickr user name.

If you can’t find the image on Flickr, it’s well worth checking again in the future. About 5000 images get uploaded to Flickr every minute, so there’s a chance something more suitable will be there next time you check.

Some other sources of images include:

Geograph : A project to take photographs of every map square in the UK. Useful for finding photos of your local environment. And if there’s not many there, would be a good idea for a project to take some!

PhotoEverywhere : Photos from all around the world.

E2Bn Gallery : A community resource made by the educational community for the educational community. Worth a look.

Animal photos : Does what it says on the tin. Photos of animals.

The Open Clip Art Library : A good source of clip art resources. Registration required, but it’s free.

You can also use the advanced image search feature of Google Image Search to get it to check for licences and only return images that are covered for reuse, or commercial use. Go to Image Search and look for the “advanced search” button. Or click here.

The creative commons website also lists a stack of other image sites here : but I haven’t checked them all out.

You can also use the search engine provided by Creative :

You can also use the Wikimedia Commons, plenty of images there that are covered by a creative commons licence :

Remember to check the licence of any image you want to use. On Flickr, it’s pretty obvious – look below the tag list and you should see “some rights reserved” or similar. Click on that link and it will tell you the licence that image is covered by.

Of course if you do use Flickr to host your own images, consider changing the licence so that others can use them under a share-alike licence too. You can do this for individual photos, or change the default settings for all your photos. It’s good to share!

I’ve also produced a printable guide to Creative Commons, and some sources of images and sounds.

A quick tip if you are doing an image seach live – on your IWB – in front of a class. Although you might be searching with the best of intentions – sometimes even the most innocuous search can throw up images that you may not want the students to see. Some search engines have a “safe search” filter, and the school filter may block them, but it’s always best to cover yourself just in case. Check your Projector remote for a Blank or a Freeze button (most should have at least one or the other) and freeze/blank the screen while you do the search on the computer. You can see the search on the regular monitor and check that nothing untoward is being displayed.

Happy searching!

Author: Danny Nicholson

Danny is an author, Science teacher, ICT Consultant, PGCE lecturer and computing / interactive whiteboard trainer. He has delivered training courses across the UK, in Europe, and in Canada. Please get in touch with your training requests.

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1 Comment

  1. Danny – such a useful post, thank you. Particularly agree with the last paragraph!


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