Finding and using creative commons images

A few years ago, if someone wanted to use an image in a presentation, then the norm would be to do a Google search for the image, then copy and paste that image into the presentation. This had 2 problems:

  • The images were often uploaded to the web as a low resolution to increase the download speed, so often ended up pixelating when enlarged.
  • The images almost always broke copyright, and were thus being used illegally.

Thankfully, due to the rise of image sharing sites such as Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket there is an abundance of high quality images out there, that are easily searchable, easy to use, and often uploaded with a creative commons licence. Creative commons is where the person that owns the image, has released it with a licence giving you permission to use it (with certain conditions) without having to ask their express permission.

So if I want to use an image for a teaching resource, and I don’t have an appropriate one that I have taken with my own camera, then I use these services to find what I want. Personally I use Flickr (just because it is what I know), and rather than searching within Flickr, I use a website called this searches Flickr for me, only selecting images that are released with a creative commons licence. Once I have found an image to use, I then use a site called, what this does is record the images that I use, and records the licence agreement associated with the image at the time that I used it. This is just an extra level of protection just in case the owner changes the licence agreement in the future. I have created a video to demonstrate how the 2 sites work.

(if you cannot view because YouTube is blocked then it can also be accessed at

It should be possible to find a high quality legal to use image on just about anything, which should make a huge improvement to the quality of teaching materials, and the learning experience as a result.

One Response

  1. […] Finding and using creative commons images May 18, 2010 tags: Copyright, flickr, images, Web 2.0 by Andy Turner Following on from an earlier post Copyright and the (virtual) classroom, here’s some more useful advice from Dave Foord’s Weblog on Finding and using creative commons images. […]

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