Professional Development and Professional Learning related matters.

Where did that come from?

We ask our students to reference information from print text, online text, magazines, videos and so on, from such an early age. But when was the last time you asked your students to reference an image? Should they? The simple answer:



Usage Rights

There are plenty of tools available for referencing images and many usage types for images. Students can use search tools within Google to refine what usage rights an image has. It is very interesting to have a discussion with students on ‘usage rights’ and what they think it means- you will be surprised at what a clear understanding they develop. Awareness is really the key here.

You’re probably wondering about the term usage rights? So let’s break it down like this, there are 4 main usage types:

  1. Contracting for service directly
  2. Rights Managed
  3. Royalty Free
  4. Creative Commons

Each one has limitations and restrictions based ownership, costs and attribution that are detailed in the license for the image. Learn more about these types at

So once students know and understand they cannot simply take images from the internet without acknowledging where it is from, it becomes the question of what to do next…

What to do next

There are 3 paths you can take with this and help students develop solid skills and processes moving forward.

1. Teach students how to reference images and use captions properly.

Well really, we should be doing this anyway. To make this work you will need to think of the following, What’s your school’s standard referencing system? Does it include images? How do we make it consistent across the school?

2. Get around it by encouraging students to take their own photos? Or create their own images?

Excellent way to make sure the image is relevant and build their skills in developing media. Honestly the best outcomes solution, it means your students can publish their work independently too. Though it does take more time and effort which might be hard to find in your classroom. There is also the question around quality, but you’ll probably be surprised by how good some of the hidden diamonds in your classes actually are.

3. Use attribution free images.

What’s this?

Does not require you to attribute its creator

Similar to Creative Commons Zero, it is basically images that you can use for free, for any purpose, including commercially without having to say where it comes from. Most attribution free will have caveats about not being used in vilification, pornography or being represented as someone else’s work. I use Gratisography, Life of Pix, and freestocks to name just a few and I encourage my students to explore these too.

More info

If you would like to know more about the licenses surrounding images in Australia, try Creative Commons, really helpful information to help understand it better.

Have a look through our blog posts, you will notice many of the images are from Gratisography!

Get Connected and Stay Connected

George Siemens, one of my favourite writers and speakers, tweeted a fantastic article the other day from Scientific American, on “How Networks Are Revolutionizing Scientific (and Maybe Human) Thought”. It discusses the nature of networks and how this adds meaning to existence. Of particular interest to me was the spread of ideas via social networks and the importance of having ties beyond our immediate network of friends, relatives and colleagues.

I have always promoted that we should develop our networks and the tools of today only make this easier. Twitter (where I am very lucky to read many of George’s tweets), among other social networking sites, all help to connect and ensure as a teacher, I can share and develop my ideas and maintain perspective in my very busy job. It’s so important to get connected with like minded individuals and stay connected with them. for example, it is one thing to join twitter, but we need to be brave to share ideas and mention others in tweets!

For me, these networks are important as I live in Perth, one of the most isolated cities on Earth, and the ability to get to conferences is costly. So by following certain people and reading widely, I am able to stay in touch with what is happening elsewhere. My own academic research is supplemented by reading of writings of those around the world to give greater meaning and ensure it remains in touch with what is happening in the everyday classroom.

So if you are not connected, try and get involved with those outside your regular networks. And if you are already connected, make sure you remain active!