Systems of Support Supporting Educator Excellence through Technology and Strategy

Copyright Free Images

In a session last week I talked about the importance of using effective slides when teaching content to students using applications such as PowerPoint.  Unfortunately, templates in these applications have led us to believe that it is okay to fill a slide with a title followed by 7 lines of text.  While this may be okay if the goal is to print the presentation and use as a handout, it can have the opposite effect when using during lecture.  The reason being is that we tend to show a slide and then discuss it.  When this occurs, students are either listening to you speak or reading the slide, not both.

So how much text is appropriate?  As little as possible according to Garr Reynolds, presentation designer and internationally acclaimed communicates expert.

This brings up the question of what to include on a slide if little or no text is permitted.  The answer… images.  Images help to provide meaning while our stories can deliver the content.  However, as you may know, finding images that are permissible to use is not the most straightforward process.  Below are 4 resources I use when looking for images to include in presentations.

1.Microsoft Office Online – When using PowerPoint on a PC my first “go-to” resource for images is through PowerPoint.  If you choose Insert – Clip Art in PowerPoint a search box will appear (see below). There are two things I do before conducting the search. First, I select to view only photographs from the selected media file types drop down menu. This gets rid of all the cartoon stuff. Then I make sure that “Include content” is checked. This ensures that I get access to thousands of images through Microsoft. Many of these are high quality images that I’ve seen for sale on professional image sites. I also like searching for images within PowerPoint because it is much more efficient than searching websites. Note: If you are using a Mac you can search Office Online directly through the web.

Screenshot of PowerPoint image search is an online photo management and sharing site that allows users to upload thousands of photos for free.  Many of these photos are offered under a Creative Commons license, which means that others can use them as long as attribution is given.  A current glance at the site shows that there are over 55 million photos available under attribution only (meaning all you have to do is give credit).  There are millions more available for non-commercial use, which pretty much all classrooms fall under. Logo is a site developed “for bloggers by bloggers.”  It is basically a search engine for copyright free images. Logo

4.Google Images – A simple search on will pull up hundreds or thousands of results.  However, most of the images are not copyright free.  While this doesn’t stop some people from using them, you should know that unless you have permission directly or through a copyright that it is not legal to take pictures and use as your own.  Owners of pictures now even have a way to do a reverse search through Google and find any site that is using one of their photos.  If you happen to be one of those people there could be negative consequences.

Moving on to the positive side of things … Google also offers an advanced image search that allows users to search by everything from size to color to even usage rights (see below).  Doing an image search here and choosing “free to use or share” will result in images that you are permitted to use.

Advanced Google Image Search Screenshot

The above is my list of resources for finding images online, but there are plenty more out there.  What do you use?

About Jason Carroll

Jason has trained thousands on Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning concepts throughout the United States and beyond. His focus is on integrating research based practices into the work he does and helping others ensure that what they are doing works. He specializes in assisting people to bridge the gap between operation of technology and actual implementation. Jason is a published author, has taught Instructional Technology and Universal Design for Learning at the University level, and spends a significant amount of time on e-Learning and blended learning initiatives. He is a graduate of the Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP) from California State University at Northridge and holds a Masters in Business Administration. Currently Jason serves as Product Marketing Manager for North America at Texthelp Inc. where he oversees new product launches and speaks nationally on a variety of Assistive Technology topics.

2 Thoughts on “Copyright Free Images

  1. Pingback: Using Guided Notes | Systems of Support

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