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Using Compfight to locate creative commons images

Compfight is an excellent little website, for locating images on flickr that have been released under a creative commons licence which means that we can use the images in resources etc, without having to gain explicit permission from the image owner.

I have posted about Compfight before at https://davefoord.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/finding-and-using-creative-commons-images/ and https://davefoord.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/finding-images-without-breaking-copyright/  but the interface has changed slightly, so I thought it was time to create a new screencast for this service.

Having located and used an image this way, I then use another service called ImageStamper which then records which images I have used and when, and most importantly what the licence agreement was at the time (in case someone on Flickr changes their licence agreement at a later date).

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Finding images without breaking copyright

For me, one of the best benefits of the Internet over the last few years has been the abundance and quailty of images out there, and how easy it is to use them educationally.

Most of these images can be found on image sharing sites such as Flickr, or Picasa and some of them are released under creative commons – which means the person uploading the images has given certain permissions for these to be used.

So a very useful skill for an educator to learn is the ability to search for images that are released under creative commons licence – and luckily for us various tools have appeared to help us.


Xpert

The first place that I go to find images to use in my educational materials is Xpert – http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/xpert/attribution/ a recently developed tool from the very clever people at the University of Nottingham (of Xerte fame).


The beauty of Xpert is that it attaches the relevant reference information and licence to the image as part of the image. This is very clever – as it shows where the image has come from, that it doesn’t break copyright law, it shows learners how to reference an image (and sets a good example to them) and because all this information has become part of the image it cannot be accidentally be seperated from the image.


Compfight

If I don’t find what I want then I go to Compfight – http://compfight.com/ which searches Flickr and displays the results as a series of small images (thumbnails) if you click on an image it takes you to the relavent image page on Flickr. This doesn’t attach the reference to the image the way that Xpert does, but it searches in a different way so will find different images. I then need to reference the image seperately.


Creative Commons Search

And then the third place that I go if I haven’t found what I want is the creative-commons search tool http://search.creativecommons.org/ which searches a variety of sources and returns images, videos and other forms of information from different sites.


All of these sites are very good, a lot will come down to personal preference as to which to use, but the main thing is that we can hopefully start to see the back of  low quality, low resolution images that have been taken illegally from the Web, and replace these with high quality, striking, stimulating images correctly referenced to show the learners the importance of referencing sources of information.

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 http://www.compfight.com 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 http://imagestamper.com/, 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 http://screenr.com/EAp

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.