Last week I taught a class for the New School’s Institute for Urban Education summer institute program. The class, called Rebooting Pedagogy: Digital Tools for School Change, provided hands-on instruction for teachers to learn how to use social media and blogging platforms to create a professional public presence for the work they are doing in their schools toward education reform. I turned the teachers on to free tools they can use to gather and then edit images on the web, so I thought I’d share those tools here as well.
First, one of the best free resources for fair-use images is Flickr’s “Creative Commons.” The link above takes you to Flickr’s “Advanced Search” page. From there, put in the key words you want to search for, then check the following box:
Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content
From there, you can also check either of the two boxes below:
Find content to use commercially
Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon
Since you will likely not be using your image commercially, the only other box to think about is the second box—“Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon.” Checking this box will prompt Flickr to search for photos that users have uploaded and made available for use and adaptation by others. So if you wanted to modify the image in any way, checking “Find content to modify, adapt, or build upon,” ensures that you have permission to modify any of the images returned in that search.
Wondering how to modify images without paying for Photoshop? There are lots of great, free photo editors out there. Two favorites of mine are Aviary and Pixlr. There’s also Skitch, which I found out about from a student in class last week. One of the other students used it in a presentation and loved it:
Image editors can be extremely helpful for drafting instructions for students to follow, particularly if you are trying to show them how to do something online. They could also be a fun way for students to illustrate creative projects for various classes. So try them out! Experiment! It’s fun!
Have favorite image editors not listed here? Let me know in the comments!