Finding Images for Free

Plagiarism and copyright infringement are not new in the education world, but they entered my vocabulary somewhere in early 2000. A good four years after I started teaching in schools. Academic honesty till then remained limited to, students not copying from one another in tests.

But slowly and strongly the idea of academic honesty broadened not just for students but teachers as well. With the increase in the access to digital media and teachers looking at different ways of accessing student learning, there was an increase in the ways students started presenting their work. Students were no longer submitting their work only to their teacher but many times to a wider audience too. And for that they needed good pictures. Teachers were becoming more conscious of academic honesty and began talking about it in more broader terms.

Nevertheless, many times teachers are not clear about it themselves and limit their explanations to just encouraging their students to acknowledge the resources used, which is a good practice but not enough.

This post is therefore for those teachers who are new to teaching or would like to know more about creative commons or for students who would like to know more about it too. You can also read about attributing images here.

Creative Commons

The creator of the work allows the use of their work but may have certain terms. These terms are called license.  If the work already has the creative commons license, it is easier for us to use the work without seeking permission from the creator if we just follow the requirement of the license.

CC Search

One way to look for creative commons images is by using CC Search. This is fairly new and highly beneficial search tool offering from Creative Commons, that allows users to look for curated images that carry openly licensed images, based on the attributions that you want.

Advanced Search option Google

You can also use the Advanced Search option by Google to curate images that carry Creative Common attribution.

Creative Commons Licenses

There are six  Creative Commons Licenses.



You are free to use the work if you give attribution.


Attribution ShareAlike

You can use the work but if you decide to add or change something in the work, then you must share with the same BY-SA license.



You cannot change the work in any way and must use it the way it was originally created.



You can use the work in its original form, add to it, change it but cannot use the work to make money. They do not need to license their derivative work on the same license.



You can change the work, share it with the same license but cannot make money from this work.



You can use the work, share it, but cannot change it or make money from this work.

As you can see, the attributions move from least restrictive to most restrictive as you move through them.

Along with this, there are attribution free options as well

Public Domain

You can use the work as you would like to, no permission or attribution needed; copyright expired.

Creative Commons Zero

You can use the work without permission or attribution as the creator has released it in public domain.

The license is a generous gift from the photographer to you so remember to always give credit.



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