Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Free to use... with Flickr

{This is a duplicate of an earlier post. See Too smart for my own good for an explanation.}

I'm not sure if this is really a part of my irregular series on educational uses of Flickr. It's certainly not the next post I intended to make but it is about Flickr and educational stuff, so I guess it must be the third in the series. :-) I was talking to some secondary school teachers yesterday about Flickr (among other things) and it was their reaction to something I said that prompted this post.

I was being enthusiastic (also known as ranting) about the educational potential of Flickr notes (see a previous post). I was demonstrating different uses of notes: teacher drawing attention to an aspect of an image; teacher giving a clickable link to further information; teacher asking a question; pupils sharing something they've noticed or learned; pupils asking questions; pupils highlighting areas of danger in a photograph; etc. I also talked about geotagging (which is what I meant to talk about next and will feature in a blog post soon) but that's not what made them sit up and take note either.

When I mentioned that all the pictures in my presentation had come from Flickr and that they were copyright free -- that's when they sat up and took notice!

originally uploaded by bhell13.
Now, before I go any further, I know that it is not accurate to say that Flickr photographs are "copyright free". However, many are made available under Creative Commons Licences and if people have not heard of Creative Commons, I find it easier to say, "copyright free" and then, once I have their attention, explain what Creative Commons actually means. :-)

I hope I didn't give the impression that all the photographs on Flickr have a Creative Commons licence (I was pushed for time) but a phenomenal number do! The Flickr Creative Commons page describes four different aspects of the licence that can be applied to Flickr photos. Perhaps the simplest is the Attribution Licence. This means the photographer will:
let others copy, distribute, display, and perform [the photographer's] copyrighted work - and derivative works based upon it - but only if they give [the photographer] credit.
At the time of writing there are over one and a half million photos under an Attribution Licence! However, the largest number of photographs (almost 4.7 million) are available under an Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivs Licence. Roughly speaking, this means you can use a photograph as long as you give the photographer credit, do not sell it or use it to make money, and do not alter it in any way.

If you go to a Flickr Creative Commons Licence page, (e.g. the Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivs Licence page) you can search for photographs with that particular licence. Brilliant!
originally uploaded by 4blueeyes.
I love Flickr Creative Commons searches. When I want an image to illustrate a blog post or a presentation, it has rarely let me down. I like that you can enter fairly abstract terms and find good, concrete, visual illustrations. For example, in a previous post I wanted an image that said, "help". In the end I went for a photograph of a help key, but I was very tempted to use this image of Alec.

So, why not give Flickr Creative Commons pictures a try the next time you want an image for a worksheet, or to use as a stimulus for creative writing, or to support a discussion task, or to illustrate a point, or...? You get the picture? :-)

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