The rise of edtech and 1:1 devices affords teachers to encourage online research. Recent Pew Research Center data suggests that the very nature of research has drastically changed: students quickly find just enough information to satisfy research assignments via big name search engines and stop there. Transfer a few sentences and an image onto a Prezi slide and voila! According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project study, many teachers “see the combination of text and images on the internet ‘bringing to life’ the subjects their students are interested in, in ways that prior generations did not experience”. They consider image access a wonderful asset of the internet. Explicative images accommodate visual learners and captivate students.
Google Safe Image Search is a great place to start research. However, the internet is a forum for public exchange of information and Google Image results can be inappropriate or irrelevant for student use, not to mention biased. Students may stumble upon unsavory content more often than not. Similar can be said for Yahoo and Bing image searches. Instead, have students use sites and databases designed for educational purposes, like the Creative Commons Safe Image Filter, to find the most credible and appropriate results.
Check out these sites to get the best images for research assignments:
Pics4Learning.com is a safe, free image library and the largest education image database on the web. They supply school-friendly friendly photos which cover everything from geography to art, olympics to astronomy, and much more. Searches for historical content are often times redirected to accredited archives; for example, a search for “Civil War” photos redirects to the Library of Congress Civil War Collection. They also have lesson plans for teachers, equipped with matching images.
US Geological Survey (USGS)
This Federal agency includes a branch devoted to education which provides images, videos, labs, and online lectures on their website to educate youth about natural phenomena. Resources are separated into three categories: “Grades K-6”, “Grades 7-12”, and “Undergraduate”. Biology? Geography? Geology? This is an extensive source for all things science.
Big Picture Education
Big Picture is a biannual publication known for its coverage of biology. However, you can use this site to find photographs, flowcharts, and diagrams in a wide range of topics for all ages. When searching for “drugs”, Big Picture Education provides images for the willow bark, the origin of aspirin. Like the previous two websites, BigPictureEducation.com also offers more than helpful image search results. Their interface is user-friendly and useful for narrowing down results.
Photos for Class
Photos for Class guarantees age appropriate images, automatic citation, and Creative Commons (photos licensed for legal, public use). Creative Commons kills two birds with one stone by ensuring legality, which in turn eliminates impropriety. And they have a sense of humor: a search for “sex” results in a redirect to photos for “adorable dogs”. Photos for Class sources from Flickr for stunning, high quality and well composed photos that are often editorial worthy!
For the latest tips on K-12 security best practices, subscribe to our newsletter: