Photos for Class: Helping students find images

Another lesson assisting Year 7 students with their research and trying to get them to find and properly  attribute the images they want to use in their final presentation. They understand about copyright and creative commons but many are always looking for the quickest/easiest way to find something. We have had a few teaching moments about fair use of the internet resources using Google advanced search, CCsearch , Flickr advanced search or Flickr Storm,, and (Free options may soon be available) etc. letting the boys explore the options. I have also used a nice little tool to attach Flickr images to my online resources and shown the boys how easy it is to use. Lately I have been showing the boys Photos for class. I read about it at the end of last year and it offers that easy access to appropriate images. This means that the students can spend their time creating rather than finding.

Photos for class

This is a search engine that searches the Flickr site for photographs that have Creative Commons licenses so students can use in class or on their homework. Once you have found images you like you can visit the Flickr original or download and reuse.

Photos for class2

When downloaded, the images come with appropriate attributions. This saves the boys from having to add this information themselves and so saves them time and makes it very easy, making it more likely that the information is included.

Photos for class3

Also useful is that the search filters out inappropriate images. If there is something that you have an issue with you can report it.

There is a guide about how they filter and how the citations  are organised.

The Photos For Class site “makes it as easy as possible to properly attribute photos, especially for printed or presented materials so that there is no worry about plagiarism or stolen work.”

When you click download a watermarked image is automatically generated. It contains the following:

  • Name of the author
  • Name of the photograph
  • A link to the original photo
  • The name and type of license along with a link to read it

TinEye – image search engine

TinEye is a reverse image search engine. It allows you to upload an image from your computer and search the Internet for it.

You can also paste a image URL and find other places that the image exist on the Internet.

The interesting thing about this tool is that you don’t have to remember, or have, the same file name. It not only searches the Internet for exact copies of the image but also any derivations of the image in question even if the image has been resized, cropped and manipulated with Photoshop or any other such tool. The stated goal of TinEye is to find all of sites/pages that use some form of the original image. When I first looked at this tool back in 2008 it was in beta format and it had a much smaller numer of images to search from.

TinEye works by using Image Identification Technology, not keywords, metadata, and watermarks. The site currently has an amazing number of images indexed.

It is very easy to use. You upload you image or put in the URL and within a few moments the results come up.


A few ideas about how it might be used in schools include:

  1. Using it to check on students using images in a presentation but did not cite the source or as an aid to finding it again so they can cite the source.
  2. Alternatively students or teachers could use it to find better quality (higher resolution) images of their required object. 
  3. It could also help with anyone (students) creating and publishing websites to ensure that they do not use copyrighted photos or images or images without permission.
  4. In Business Management: You could begin a search about a product or brand by starting with a photo and then finding sites that contain that image to get further information about it. Or making sure that an idea you have for a product has not been used before.
  5. In Language studies: Another use may be in studing a language such as Chinese where it is character based. Taking a photo of the character and loading it in to TinEye may help you fnd the translation more quickly than the traditional dictionary. All the students would need is a camera in their phone and nowadays what phone does not have this!
  6. History: Tracing information about some historical cartoons. I looked up a number of propaganda cartoons for the Russian and French revolutions and managed to trace quite a lot of information about them

There is now an official TinEye extension for Chrome that works on Windows and Linux.

FlickrLeech- yet another way to search for images!

What can I say? Another tool that allows you to search Flickr for images. FlickrLeech is another very simple tool to use. You can choose to search through photos using tags or for a particular user, group or interestingness.

You can also choose how you want the interface style to look, (I preferred the “dark” setting), what size you preferred the results to be shown on your screen, whether to show a preview when hovering over the picture, how many results are put up onto the screen and where you go when you click onto the image.

You can also choose to search in Advanced mode and ask for photos with particular CC licences.

Once you have sorted out your settings (it doesn’t take long) the search happens very quickly with the images found very clear and easy to see and it is easy to scroll down to fine the ones you prefer.

This is yet another very easy way to find CC images for students and staff.

CompFight: another way to find CC photos on Flickr

I am often looking for pictures/photos in the public domain that I (and/or my students) can use in things we are creating, be it blogs, wikis, video clips or other projects. I have discussed before that students are happy to “legally” use images as long as they know how to and that it is not too complicated. The Flickr collection offers a lot but it is not always easy to find what you need. There are many who have developed all sorts of interesting tools for making better use of Flickr. have been using FlickrCC and FlickrStorm as my first port of call although I also like Tag Galaxy as well, to find interesting images.

FlickrCC makes free to use photos, in Creative Commons, easy to find. FlickrStorm is another nice search tool that has some useful features such as the ability to look for CC photos only and create a list of images that can be shared.  There is the “how-to” on FlickrStorm by ICT guy as well.  

Another search tool I have come across, via CogDog is CompFight

This is a very simple search tool to use. If you click on:

  • Tags you will have the option of searching through all the tags or all text
  • Creative Commons is a link to go between all, off or commercial searches
  • Seek Originalallows you to choose whether or not you want original images
  • One caution,I do not know how the Safe optionreally works. Typing in”sex”, which the boys are wont to do at times, results in many images of naked bodies, in various poses. Of course you explain about how to search appropriately when searching the Internet in general but I would not rely on the “safe” mode to filter inappropriate images out.

The results of a search are displayed as a thumbnail, without any of the photographs details, which means you can get many thumbnails on the page at a time and, as you can scroll down, the next batches are loaded so you don’t have to click onto the pagination tag. It is very easy to compare and get an overview of the images available and simple for students to use.