Creative Commons: Media for Your Site


There’s a gazillion images and videos online but how can you easily identify those that can be used free of charge?

An easy way is to look for media with Creative Commons licensing.  This can be done through google’s advanced search option as well as a slew of media sites which are mentioned below.


Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization that “enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools.”  Their seven copyright licenses provide an easy way for people to share their work with others under certain conditions of their choice while maintaining copyright of their material.   Licenses range in degree of permission; look for a CC tag like the ones below when browsing for images that you can use. Check out the Creative Commons site for more info on the types of licenses and permissions associated with each.


Use the Creative Commons’ Search page to quickly search for free content through popular content management sites.


You can locate Creative Commons images using google‘s advanced search feature by following three simple steps:

1.           2.           3. 

  1. Type in what you want to locate in the google search field.
  2. Click on the gear icon, located on the right side of the search results window and select Advanced Search.
  3. In the Advanced Search window, locate usage rights.  Click on the drop down menu and select the type of creative commons licensing images to search for, then click  Advanced Search.  Google will pull up material matching the usage rights that were selected.  A message will appear, like the one below, indicating the type of Creative Commons material being displayed.


Here’s a short, good list of media sites that include Creative Commons material:

Flicker-Creative Commons
Open Clip Art


Freeplay Music
Vimeo – Use the “Show Advanced Filters” option to indicate the type of Creative Commons licensing material you’re searching for
YouTube – Use the “filter” option to search for videos that are tagged with Creative Commons licensing




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How to Save a Rainforest


In the closing ISTE ʻ12 keynote, biologist Dr. Willie Smits shared his inspiring  journey of developing an innovative, global grassroots network  to save endangered orangutans and the rapidly depleting rainforest in his native Borneo.  In conjunction with his efforts, DeforestACTION, a project borne out of Microsoft’s 2010 Regional Innovative Education Forum was launched for and by students around the world.

TakingITGlobal, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to “facilitate global understanding and grow leadership among youth to enhance their participation in social movements for a better world,” facilitated collaborative learning activities and project planning webinars, formed student action groups and helped students to design plans to address deforestation in their local communities as well as globally.

Taking it a step further, students developed an Eco-Warriors project and recruited young people to serve as representatives in the heart of Borneo rainforest.  Selected participants spent 100 days between their homeland and Borneo, witnessing villages threatened by the intrusive companies, raising awareness locally & globally through media interviews, educational workshops and social online media, and assisting with the development of an animal rescue and rehabilitation site in one of the Borneo community forests.

Check out how you can empower your students to collaboratively problem solve global issues through DeforestACTION and other sites such as Global SchoolNet and the Global Education Conference.

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David McCandless on Infographics


The Beauty of Data Visualization

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Learning through Infographics

Incorporating infographics into teaching and learning provides a great way for students to use their critical thinking skills by analyzing and drawing conclusions on visuals presented by the teacher as a point of discussion or created by students as a synthesizing activity.

An infographic is a visual representation of data and/or complex information that enables the viewer to more easily interpret information and is more engaging than text formatted data.


I sat in on a couple of interesting sessions presented by Kathy Schrock  and David Warlick at last and this yearʻs ISTE conferences that shared ideas on how teachers can incorporate infographics into their classrooms. Both sessions focused on using infographics as a creative assessment tool.  Kathy provided a step by step process for guiding students through research, data gathering,  consolidating and synthesizing information, and creating an infographic that reflects their interpretation and conclusions of the information they studied.  Check out her infographics site which includes the process as well as a whole pot of stew on incorporating infographics into your classroom.


Here are some cool infographic making tools that David Warlick shared:

Google Public Data
Many Eyes

Check out his page for more on infographics and once you get started, hereʻs a great place to create and share infographics –

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