Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Pics4Learning: Copyright-free Images for Education


Pics4Learning logoOK, so in this digital age what educator doesn’t need a go-to copyright friendly picture resource to utilize for classroom lessons, multimedia projects, websites, videos and/or portfolios?

Well, the answer is simple—we all need to sign up for one of those! That said, here’s to introducing Pics4Learning, a safe image library for education. Yep, this useful site contains thousands of free pictures—all of which are approved for classroom use. The images are indexed in a variety of categories including animals, food, education, space and countries to name a few.

To locate the perfect picture(s) for your project, just click the “Browse” button located next to the desired collection. Doing so will provide access to all photos available in the selected category. When you find one that works for you, just right click on it and select the “Save Image As…” option to download it to your computer.

The Pics4Learning site also contains a Creative Educator Lessons bonus section which includes high-level ideas for engaging students in the curriculum while building creativity, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Images and lessons… What more could you ask for—seriously?

Another cool feature is for the photography junkies out there! Not only does Pics4Learning provide teachers with images for use, but we also have the opportunity to contribute to education’s largest image collection on the web. More info about this option can be found on the home page. Who knows—you could be the next Ansel Adams… OK, maybe not, but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, right?

Anyway, here’s a sneak peek at the Animals Collection:


Classroom Connection:

Add Pics4Learning to your edtech arsenal as a way to provide students with copyright free images for use in any type of educational project. It’s also a great tool to introduce when teaching students about digital citizenship—particularly in the area of fair use and copyright regulations.

In addition, the Creative Educator Lessons offer a ton of excellent ideas for integrating images into curricular content while strengthening visual literacy skills.

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What’s Hiding Behind Your Screen?


digital citizenship teeOK, before you think I’ve completely lost my mind for posting an image like this on my blog, read on…

Maybe it’s my twisted sense of humor, but when a colleague of mine sent me this picture—one that was used during a recent cyber safety in-service program at her school, I initially cracked up laughing. But being the digital citizenship crusader that I am, I also immediately thought—this is a must-have resource to utilize with students. Talk about a powerful image to emphasize the dangers associated with engaging in online chats with total strangers! I mean, if this doesn’t illustrate the fact that one can never quite be sure what is creeping on the other end of that Facebook, Twitter or SnapChat conversation, then I don’t know what does.

Disclaimer: Of course, I don’t know this guy—nor do I even know where this photo originated, so my apologies for the lack of attribution. Nevertheless, I would like to thank him for sharing a brilliant idea! I also want him to know that he’s the latest bulletin board poster sensation in our computer lab! Hey, whatever it takes to help our students understand the importance of protecting themselves and their identity at all times, especially when participating in online activities.

Classroom Connection:

Add this resource to your digital citizenship and/or Internet safety toolbox. I think the rest is pretty much self-explanatory!

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Teach Copyright Basics with a Cool Interactive Tool


copyrightallrightsreservedThe Background: I was completing a digital storytelling activity with a group of fifth grade students yesterday.

The Problem: When I answered a question about whether or not images from the Internet could be utilized in the project (for the 17th time), one of the students nonchalantly yelled out, “But who’s gonna know?”

The Response: Well, instead of getting physical, screaming at the top of my lungs and/or throwing my laser pointer, I hopped on my digital citizenship and honesty soap box—again—and attempted to explain the reasons behind my answer (including “Do you really want the copyright Police banging on your door? Ha, ha!).

The Outcome: After witnessing 24 blank stares gazing back at me during my very calm and professional rant, I realized it was time to search for yet another resource to teach students about the topic of copyright and fair use. Obviously, all of the information I’ve shared regarding the use of images and audio in multimedia projects had not made the impact I had hoped it would. Despite my pleas—oh, and the law—I guess it’s just much easier just to use that copy and paste function. At least that’s life according to a ten year old.

The Search Results: Among other useful materials, I stumbled across a pretty neat interactive image on the Cyberbee site that answers some common student questions about copyright, including the one that sent me over the edge!

The Screenshot: That’s what is shown below. Click here to access the interactive version of this graphic.

copyright interactive

Classroom Connection:

Use the Cyberbee interactive tool to teach students the basics of copyright guidelines.

Image attribution: Central Washington University Piracy Information.

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Infographic of the Week: The Myths vs. Facts about Copyright Infringement


197px-Copyright_svgYeah, I know—I’m posting back-to-back Infographic of the Week posts, but I’ve seen so many of these informative educational visuals in the last few days that I couldn’t resist sharing another one! That said, enjoy this very useful and relevant resource!

The recent push to create 21st Century educational experiences for students has resulted in a revolution of multimedia projects and authentic assessments in schools.  As teachers continue to find ways to engage this generation of students in meaningful, relevant content, they must understand that this type of teaching and learning is coupled with the responsibility of becoming knowledgeable regarding copyright laws and fair use guidelines—topics that have emerged alongside the integration of technology into the K-12 curriculum.

Educators today not only have the challenge of teaching students how to utilize various Web 2.0 tools and applications that often involve the incorporation of images, music and/or video, but they must also show students how to become conscientious digital citizens—which includes but is not limited to properly citing sources and seeking permission for use of copyrighted materials.

There are tons of resources available to learn about fair use and copyright related to education—including the Getting to Know Your Copy-Rights wiki page I created to assist teachers in better understanding copyright and fair use in the context of the classroom—but the infographic shown below is a must-see visual highlighting five common myths associated with internet copyright infringement.

Copyright Infringement: 5 Myths vs Facts

In addition to a variety of links for copyright and royalty free images, music and audio that can be incorporated into lessons, projects and without the worry of copyright infringement, my Getting to Know Your Copy-Rights resource also contains a “Copyright 101 for the 21st Century Classroom” newsletter/quick reference guide I developed to explain fair use and copyright guidelines as they pertain to the educational setting.

Thank you to Med Kharbach for sharing this infographic on his Educational Technology and Mobile Learning blog.

Classroom Connection:

The Myths vs. Facts about Copyright Infringement infographic as well as the resources located on the Getting to Know Your Copy-Rights wiki page can help teachers to become more familiar with copyright laws.  This information can also be used to teach students how to be responsible digital citizens. It is important that they understand what media types are legal to incorporate into their projects as well as how to properly cite the images, audio and videos that are utilized.

BTW—Infographics make really neat posters! Use the Block Posters web tool to create one for your students!

Infographic of the Week is a series designed to promote the use of infographics and visual literacy in the classroom.

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The Digital Citizenship Survival Kit


digital citizenship logoOK, so national Digital Citizenship Week is officially over, but that doesn’t mean the celebration has to end!

That’s right! With the plethora of resources available for teachers, there’s no reason we—as educators—have to stop promoting the importance of behaving safely and responsibly in the digital world.

I personally find visuals and concrete examples to be the most effective when stressing the digital citizenship concept to students. For example, the Think Before You Click video created by my Tech Club students was a huge hit in our middle school—and beyond! If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check it out!

In addition, my Tech Club students shared several analogies using real world objects on the morning announcements program each day to stress the significance of creating a positive digital footprint! For instance, toothpaste was utilized to stress that information students post online is similar to toothpaste coming out of the tube.  Once it’s out, it’s almost impossible to get it all back in the tube!  However, unlike toothpaste, whatever is posted on the Internet will always be there.

And then there was the permanent marker metaphor: Did you know that what you do, say and post online can be seen by anyone—even people you don’t know! And like the ink in a Sharpie marker, these things are difficult to erase—if not impossible.

If you like incorporating this type of imagery into classroom activities, then you’re just going to love, love the Digital Citizenship Survival Kit developed by Craig Badura as well as the “bedazzled” version of this creation designed by tech guru Lisa Johnson. The latter is also a great example of “app smashing”—or the act of using multiple apps to create a project.

Check out this app-solutely amazing interactive image below! And be sure not to miss the TechChef4U blog to view the original post that contains the “teched out” Digital Citizenship Survival Kit!

Now this is what I call “mind smashing”! It really doesn’t get any better than this! Kudos to both Craig and Lisa for creating and sharing such awesome ideas!

Classroom Connection:

Use the Digital Citizenship Survival Kit to remind students that every single word they say and/or every picture they share on social networks or mobile devices can be shared over and over again. Who knows where it will end up? Therefore, they need to be aware that whatever they are publishing or texting is something they can be proud of—today, tomorrow and even five years in the future—and regardless of who sees it!

Image Attribution: Common Sense Media.

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Think Before You Click!


before you fb txt tw or blog

Digital Citizenship Week is not only the perfect time to acknowledge that our students need digital citizenship skills, but it’s also a great time to engage students in activities about how to be safe and respectful online, and most importantly—why behaving responsibly is so important.

That said, my Tech Club students have begun a digital citizenship campaign in our middle school based on the motto “Think Before You Click”. In addition to writing announcements each day for our morning news program and sharing images and video clips from Common Sense Media about creating a positive digital footprint, they produced a video of their very own to communicate our motto to the entire student body.

Set to be released in theaters everywhere, check out a sneak preview of the BAMS Tech Club’s rendition of “Think Before You Click” below… Enjoy! =}

Thanks to Shannon Long, author of the technology rocks. seriously. blog, for developing the original “Before you Facebook, TXT, Twitter or Blog… Think!” poster that served as our inspiration for the video.

A special shout out to Brynn—one of my seventh grade Tech Kids—for developing the video idea after noticing the poster hanging in my classroom!

Classroom Connection:

The video and poster are excellent resources that can be used to remind students to exercise good judgment and digital responsibility when using all forms of  technology—both in and outside of the classroom!

Want a copy of the Before you Facebook, TXT, Twitter or Blog… Think! poster? Snag one here.

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Celebrate Digital Citizenship Week!


pause_think onlineWhether it’s a profile update, tweet, post, file download or YouTube video, our students are confronted every day with making important decisions related to social media and other digital networks. The question is—which choice will they make? A responsible one, or one that could have lasting negative consequences?

To ensure your students create a positive digital footprint, celebrate Digital Citizenship Week during October 21-25 by engaging them in activities and lessons that promote safe and respectful online behaviors.

There are a number of posts I’ve added to this blog that educators can utilize to encourage students to send the right the [text] message when using computers, gaming systems and mobile devices. Just enter “digital citizenship” in the search box to locate them. In addition to these sites, videos, and infographics, here are a few other valuable resources that can be used to urge your students to behave appropriately while online.

» Common Sense Media

Leaders of the Digital Citizenship initiative in the U.S., Common Sense Media has created a comprehensive toolkit for raising awareness of digital responsibility to ensure kids think critically, behave safely, and participate respectfully in our digital world. Materials include lesson plans, activities, posters and videos.

» Digital Citizenship Resource Roundup

A collection of articles, videos and other resources on internet safety, cyberbullying, digital responsibility and media literacy compiled by Edutopia.

» Digital Citizenship Week: Six Resources for Educators

Six valuable events and resources related to teaching digital citizenship. Also created by Edutopia.

» Digital Citizenship

A Pinterest board filled with activities and ideas for promoting safe and responsible online behaviors.

Classroom Connection:

In light of recent news stories regarding the devastating consequences of cyber-bullying, now is the perfect time to discuss concepts such as engaging in responsible online behaviors. That said, use these resources to educate and/or remind students about the importance of navigating the digital world safely and respectfully.

Image attribution: Common Sense Media.

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Awesome Posters to Promote Digital Citizenship


If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, then you probably have realized that not only do I advocate the integration of technology into the classroom, but that I am also one who strongly believes that students need to be taught the importance of behaving in a responsible manner when using technology as well as the potential consequences that could occur as a result of using  digital manners.

Now that most of us are into the groove of a new school year, it’s always a great idea to remind students of their responsibilities as digital citizens. That said, why not share these two awesome posters from Common Sense Media.

Infographics_Post a Photo_letter_051712_letter size

digital citizen poster

To download a printable version of these posters, click the links shown below.

» I Took a Photo of My Friend Poster

» All Digital Citizens Poster

Thanks to Common Sense Media for sharing these awesome visuals. For additional resources about digital citizenship, check out their K-12 Digital Literacy & Citizenship Curriculum which is designed to empower students to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world. Use the interactive scope and sequence to find lessons that are just right for your classroom!

Classroom Connection:

Display these posters to continually remind students to exercise good judgment and digital responsibility when using all forms of technology—both in and outside of the classroom!

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

Be sure to add this awesome tool to your tech-box!

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