Tag Archives: Creative Commons

Picture This

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:

Cartoon Illustration: A stick figure is looking at a TV news report which is saying,

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.

Creative Commons Licensed photograph of a Salami sausage with a slice cut off it.

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:


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.

Screengrab showing where to add Alternate Text.

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!

An exciting participatory Project for Science and Maths Teachers

Some of you already will probably have heard about our Open Educational Resource programme ‘The Virtual School‘ before. Today we thought: let’s write an open letter to all Pedagoo members who haven’t. This is just one page, but you might prefer a video to reading a document:


Maybe this is already enough to make you want to give it a go and participate.

Get in touch by sending us an email: vsteam@fusion-universal.com

For those of you who want to know more:

Why are so few teachers in the UK doing something like Khan Academy?

Many teachers in the UK have been looking across the big lake at what the guys at Khan Academy are doing. We have met many teachers in the UK who think they can do an equally good or even better job in explaining the easy and difficult concepts of the secondary curriculum in the sciences or in Maths. Many of them are saying: why not do it through videos, if that means that they can reach thousands or sometimes even hundreds of thousands of learners – now that’s one really big classroom!

But how can you manage to make videos in your spare time?

Nowadays, any teacher can record her or his voice (and therefore a lesson) – because recording devices are all around us: pcs, macs, ipads, phones – the list continues. But making a video based on an audio lesson takes time and animation skills – and only few teachers in the UK have both.

No doubt: At ‘the Virtual School’, we want to co-create resources with those select few 21st century prototype teachers. But we want more: we want to give all motivated Science and Maths teacher who haven’t got this visualisation ability the same opportunity to get their lesson to the hundreds of thousands of learners out there waiting for good teaching to come their way.

Our creative design team picks up the 2-3 min audio lesson, and turns it into an engaging video. Let’s say for instance for the topic “What are Quarks?”:



Anybody, including the contributing teacher, can pick this video resource up for free and integrate it in a blended learning model with their own students.

Our background:

The Virtual School is the social responsibility programme of our educational technology startup Fusion Universal. Our social programme is funded by our work in the corporate space, in which we have created a successful social learning platform called Fuse. This cloud platform and our video production facilities are being used by our corporate clients. Our idea: now that we have all this expertise and technology, why not also use it for a purely social project and make a real difference? That’s why we not only distribute the co-created Virtual School videos absolutely free of charge under a Creative Commons License (contributing teachers are of course accredited) but also make sure they are translated and available to learners in developing countries.

To do all that we need your help – at the heart of our project is your brain – and your teaching.

To be honest: months have past since we first stumbled upon Pedagoo – how one get’s carried away by the day to day… Mind you, maybe the wait has been for the better: since then we have learned many lessons and have honed our collaboration with teachers to make it really easy for you to contribute. Teaching thousands of learners really is just a couple of mouse clicks and a little audio recording away – and all that in a topic of your choice that you feel really passionate about.

You can view our videos co-created with UK teachers to date under: http://www.youtube.com/virtualschool
And of course, we are also available on Twitter: https://twitter.com/virtualschooluk

It would be great to discuss in the comment section what you think about our programme.