The Learning Renaissance

Repurposing Online Images for Teaching

When I first started teaching in 1980, the height of information technology was a device called a Banda Machine. This involved making a master copy of a written resource on a carbonated sheet of paper. This master was then attached to a drum roller which dragged it through a bath of industrial strength alcohol and deposited the carbonated writing onto a now damp sheet of A4 paper. The whole infernal process is explained here…
I wouldn’t like to think how many hours were spent at the beginning and end of the school day, hastily taking my turn on the Banda machine.

Later I was able to reproduce (without author permission) grainy black and white images from books.

I could scarcely have imagined that a generation later, teachers could have at their fingertips the ability to conjure up from the internet just about any image they could ever need to present to their classes.

However, the ability to project images says nothing of the quality of the learning that takes place in the classroom. The test of learning effectiveness depends on how these images can be re-purposed to present stimulating and challenging learning experiences.

There are a number of ways in which images can be re-purposed and customised to support learning. The simplest being to use the snipping tool on your computer to edit and crop the image so that it is fit for purpose.

PowerPoint and other presentation software allows for the image to be associated with text, sound and video.

However, a distinction has to be made between using images simply to establish a narrative and challenging students to interrogate, explore and interpret image sources presented to them.

A quick note on copyright… It was increasingly clear that copyright, as established over centuries in the use of written sources, was stretched to breaking point by the freely available images on the internet. By way of catching up with digital technologies, the category of Creative Commons Licences were developed. These allowed for the re-purposing of original images for use in an educational context, where there was no financial or commercial gain from the re-purposed resource.

You can read more about Creative Commons here:

This link shows some interesting tools for re-purposing and annotating images:
The Best Teacher Tools for Taking Screenshots and Annotating Pictures

About educationalist04

I'm convinced we can, as a species, do much better than this if we set our minds to being much more positive and productive towards our fellow humans. The solution is learning - creating independent and autonomous learners who can problem solve, innovate and create a better more equitable and sustainable world.

One comment on “Repurposing Online Images for Teaching

  1. Pingback: On Personalised Learning | The Learning Renaissance

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