Google Images: A Clarification…

I have been a strong advocate of using Creative Commons for all projects, students, teachers, mine, regardless of whether or not the projects would be posted on the Internet. My philosophy is fairly simple, we as educators need to be consistent.  As a teacher, we give students a zero for copying answers off of someone else, be it homework or a test. We consider it cheating and wrong to do. Well, copying images off of the Internet that aren’t ours to use is pretty much the same thing, unless you have their permission to use the images.

You can’t fail someone for cheating, then turn around and teach them to copy any image off the Internet regardless of usage rights. Well…okay…you can…but you will look foolish to the kids who are fairly intelligent.

Now to my point…I was against students just “Googling” for images, mainly because they would not check for usage rights, they would just copy and paste, or download and insert. They never checked for copyright. I tried to push to sites where usage was usually permitted, such as Flickr and our CFF wiki where I posted many open source links.  I have to admit that it was a losing battle.

At the two days of Google Training at IU 7 in Westmoreland County, I learned the solution to my situation. You can go to Google’s Main page, then click on images. You will see a list of links across the top of the page, choose “Images.” You will be directed to a search page specifically for images. Next to the box to search, choose “Advanced Search Options.” (See Image Below)

Google Image Search

Google Image Search

In advanced search options you can choose which type of usage rights you are searching for. There are five options for usage rights, I have one highlighted below with a yellow arrow. You can also choose for a content secure search based upon your students’ ages. This option is highlighted by a blue arrow.

Check out the arrows.

Check out the arrows.

If you take the extra five seconds to work in advanced search you can easily use Google Image searches to get information for class presentations and projects.  This not only models appropriate behavior for your students, but it keeps you from compromising yourself down the road if you ever decide to post your presentation publicly, or get called into a parent conference for failing a student for cheating.

Music on the iPods: a minor setback

I have been planning on putting music on the iPods for my students since before we rolled them out. I wanted to see how the students would work with the technology before giving them “perks.” Well, for the most part, the students have earned the right to listen to music while working in class.

I proposed my idea of music for the students on the class set of iPods with two conditions. The two ground rules were; 1. No inappropriate music on iPods, 2. I do not want to hear sound coming from their iPods.

One of my students brought up a very valid point, no matter what music I placed on the iPods, the students would complain, because of the selection. The students suggested Pandora as an alternative. Pandora is an online music site that allows users to customize the songs they play by title or artist. I love using Pandora, it has all of the music I need without having to pull the songs off of CD’s or downloads.

My only concern was how the bandwidth would hold up with 25 iPods streaming music and transferring information over the Internet. I pushed out the Pandora App to the iPods and we ran a test in class.

Bandwidth was not an issue, but the idea did not fly. The issue is that if you run Pandora, you cannot work on any other apps. It does not work like regular music you place on an iPod Touch, which will play in the background while you work on other Apps. I tried some other music Apps I have on my iPod, such as IHeartRadio and Wolfgang’s Concert Vault. The result was the same.

My fall back position will be to place a variety of music on the iPods from my collection and let the students listen to music they may never have heard of before. I have some ideas as to the eclectic mix I would like to set up, jazz, classical, some big band, to War, and They Might Be Giants, along with some New Wave. After all, the music is an added bonus, not the reason why we are using the iPods. I hope to have a post about the continuation of this issue soon.