In today’s post, I share with you a collection of some of the best websites where you can access public domain and free images, perfect for enhancing your educational endeavors. Both you and your students will find these resources invaluable.
Beyond the freely available images, each platform also offers premium plans. These come bundled with an array of additional features and perks, should you ever feel the need to level up your visual toolkit.
Remember, though, the importance of examining the licensing requirements before using any materials these websites provide. It’s crucial to ensure you’re abiding by the rules and not unintentionally stepping over any boundaries.
Encouraging students to make it a regular practice to check attribution rights is a must. Familiarizing them with the different types of Creative Commons Licenses is also part of the process.
Check out this handy poster to help students get a grip on the CC terminology. Plus, don’t forget to explore the links at the end of this post for further resources on how to use images appropriately in an educational context. Buckle up, and let’s dive into this treasure trove of free image resources!
You can also check these collections featuring digital art maker tools and free icons and clip arts for teachers.
Image Use: Best Practices for Students
Using images effectively and responsibly is a crucial skill for students in the digital age. Here are some best practices:
- Understand Copyright Laws: Ensure students know the basics of copyright law and why it’s important to respect the rights of image creators. For AI content, check out this guide entitled Is AI Art Copyrighted?
- Use Licensed Images: Teach students to use images that are licensed for reuse. These can be found on various platforms that offer free or Creative Commons-licensed images.
- Check Licensing Agreements: Before using an image, always check its licensing agreement. Some images require attribution, while others might have restrictions on commercial use.
- Provide Proper Attribution: If the image requires it, teach students to give credit to the image’s creator in the specified manner.
- Use High-Quality Images: Images should be clear and relevant to the material. Blurry or pixelated images can detract from a project rather than enhance it.
- Be Mindful of Size and Placement: Teach students about the importance of image size and placement. The image should be large enough to see clearly, but not so large that it overwhelms the text or other content.
- Respect Privacy: If using photos of people, especially in a school setting, privacy must be respected. Permission should be obtained before using someone’s photo, especially if it’s going to be shared publicly.
- Consider Diversity and Representation: Encourage students to use images that represent diverse individuals and experiences, especially when creating work that will be shared with others.
- Use Images to Enhance, Not Distract: While images can add a lot to a project, too many images, or images that aren’t relevant to the content, can be distracting. Encourage students to use images sparingly and purposefully.
- Learn Basic Editing Skills: Basic skills like cropping an image, adjusting its size, or adding text can be very useful. There are many free tools online that can help students learn these skills.
By adhering to these best practices, students can use images effectively in their projects while respecting the rights of image creators.
For clipart resources, check out best free clipart for teachers.
1- Photos for Class
As its name indicates, Photos for Class provides access to a huge library of photos to be used in classrooms and in educational settings. Photos for Class provides provides the following features:
- “Age Appropriate Images – All images are appropriate for the school setting, thanks to Flickr and Pixabay SafeSearch and our proprietary filters.
- Automatic Citation – Downloaded images automatically cite the author and the image license terms.
- Creative Commons – All photos shown are, to the best of our (and Flickr’s / Pixabay’s) knowledge, licensed by Creative Commons for public use.”
Pics4Learning is another great resource that provides free images for educational use.’Teachers and students can use the copyright-friendly photos and illustrations for classroom projects, web sites, videos, portfolios, or any other projects in an educational setting.’
You can search for images using Pics4Learning search functionality or browse its collections which includes History, Music, Oceans, Objects, Plants, Animals, MAPS, Culture, Holidays, GEOGRAPHY, space, Countries, Education and more. Also, note that Pics4learning is a user-generated platform meaning you too can contribute your own images to help other teachers and students use them in their projects.
Another great resource of free images to use in education. Pixabay hosts over 2 million high quality stock photos, videos, illustrators, sound effects, vectors, ad music. As of writing these lines, Pixabay prides itself for making its content ‘safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.’
To download media from Pixabay in full resolution you need to sign up. Pixabay, as is the case with google, provides SafeSearch feature allowing you to block inappropriate or explicit content from search results.
Pexels offers you access to some of the best free stock photos for educational use. As of this moment, Pexel’s license guidelines are:
- ‘All photos and videos on Pexels are free to use.
- Attribution is not required. Giving credit to the photographer or Pexels is not necessary but always appreciated.
- You can modify the photos and videos from Pexels. Be creative and edit them as you like.’
Unsplash provides access to a huge library of free re-usable photos. You can browse images by category (e.g., Wallpapers, architecture, experimental, nature, fashion, film, food and drink, and more) or your the search the box to search for specific images.
“Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash. This license does not include the right to compile photos from Unsplash to replicate a similar or competing service.”
Freepik offers a huge library of graphic resources that include free vectors, stock photos, icons, and PSD. Use its search service to search for images and use the drop-down menu on the left to apply different filters (e.g., collections, vectors, photos, Psd, Icons, etc).
PNGTree offers royalty free PNG images, vectors, backgrounds, templates, text effects and many more. The free plan allows two downloads per day. For more downloads you need a premium plan.
Flaticon offers over 6 million vector icons and stickers available in various formats including SVG, EPS, PSD, and BASE64 formats. Flaticon allows users to edit the colour of icons and change their sizes and the best thing of all it provides add-ons for Google Docs, Slides, and Spreadsheets allowing you to easily insert icons into your Google Workspace applications.