We recently had a request to use one of the pictures on Pedagoo and this raised some interesting questions over the usage rights. In an effort to make sure we all keep legal and safe, We’ve put together a brief guide to image use, and also taken the opportunity to highlight some aspects of accessibility. Hopefully you will find these useful, and you could even take what you learn and pass it on in class.
Teachers are born hoarders. We spot something we could use in class, and grab hold of it. In my mum’s day, it was old cereal boxes and fairy liquid bottles, in mine, it is websites and online images. In fact, if this were true, I’d be loaded:
The truth is, the ease with which we can find pictures and images means that we can be quite bad at remembering where they came from… something we get away with in the classroom, but something that becomes more important if we wish to re-use the image on a website.
We want to keep Pedagoo online and useful, and that means making sure we don’t post any pictures of Salami… as the excellent Edublogs found to their cost. They were shut down while the offending image was removed.
Obviously, we don’t want the same happening to us, so here’s a quick Pedagoo guide to making sure your pictures are OK to use.
1) Take them yourself! This is really obvious advice, but often overlooked. If you have taken the photograph yourself, you hold the rights to it. If you use your own photograph, it’s a safe bet you’ve given yourself permission to use it. If not, why not?
That said, be very careful about what the photograph is of. A photograph of a branded salami with the logo in the picture could still be a breach of copyright… (I know. Don’t ask.)
2) Become familiar with Creative Commons. Creative Commons is a Copyleft movement that encourages sharing and reusing of works. It is an internationally recognised idea that is committed to making works available. In short, use Creative Commons (CC) as much as possible. Even better, upload your images to a site like flickr. That way, everyone wins.
3) Learn about other sites for image searching. It’s far too easy to simply go on to Google, type in the search phrase we want, and take the first image we find. (BTW: It’s worth clicking that link if you have never seen “Let Me Google That For You” before.)
Here is a very quick list of the sites I use regularly. It’s not definitive by any means… feel free to add any you use in the comments:
- Portal/Search Engine: http://search.creativecommons.org/
- Flickr Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/
- CC and Paid Content: http://compfight.com/
- A flickr CC search tool: http://flickrcc.bluemountains.net/flickrCC/index.php
- Creative Commons Choose a License: http://creativecommons.org/choose/
And a special mention to one of the most useful sites around for keeping you safe: ImageStamper. This site will log when you accessed the image, as well as keeping a note of the usage rights that were in place when you accessed it. Most of this is done automatically, though not all sites are supported yet.
Obviously, this is no more than a wee reminder and hopefully a couple of useful links you may not have known about. The bottom line is this, we need to be mindful of copyright issues if we are to keep Pedagoo on the right side of the copyright laws… Responsible Citizens, are we!
One final, but very important, point. You have the option of adding “Alternate Text” to an uploaded image.
This text will be read out by screen readers and aids visually impaired visitors. Adding it is straightforward, and also a good exercise in descriptive writing. (Try it in class some day… you’ll see what I mean). There is an excellent guide to making images accessible on the Web Accessibility In Mind site. It is highly recommended for anyone posting images online.
So, to sum up:
Please ensure all your images are allowed to be used on Pedagoo, and consider adding an Alternate Text description. Let’s be careful out there!