Essential skills: Image search

At this time of year a few teachers plan alternative final assessments instead of an exam. (I love that!) Some of the essential skills for projects involving multimedia include finding and appropriately citing content. Sometimes we take for granted that kids have these things in their ‘know-how’ tool kits. Below are a few tips we provide to emphasize quality and a culture of citation.

Learning about creative & intellectual property in a ‘share & remix culture’

Criteria for success

You can locate images that are licensed to share and reuse.
You can check sizes of images (pixel dimensions) so they are not fuzzy in your presentations.
You can cite the sources of images appropriately.

Your Work, Creative Commons & Copyright

Watch this 2.5 min video about for a quick overview.

Which search tools?

1. Creative Commons Search This is a good place to start:

Change the settings to look for something to Modify, adapt or build upon > Type in your search terms > then click which source you want to search. (I suggest you take a look in more than one! Try Wikimedia Commons, Google Images, and Flickr.)

Creative Commons Search








2. Google Image Search

Within Google’s Image Search there are some helpful tools well worth exploring that will help you narrow your search further to content suited to the project. Take a peek under each of the heading — Size, Color, Type & More.

Google Image Search

To refine your search terms you can also go to the Advanced Search > click the wheel on the right.

When does size matter?

No one enjoys looking at fuzzy images in a presentation. There are two things to consider; the ratio of the pictures you choose, and their pixel dimensions.

Most computer screens and TV monitors have a ratio of 16:9. (Also called High Aspect Ratio or HD – High Definition.) This diagram helps visualize this. (It is 16 units wide by 9 units high.)

  Pixel diagram

Pixel dimensions This tells you how big an image is. You will want to find images that have enough pixels per inch to completely fill the screen ratio.

Most cameras shoot 4:3 ratio which means images won’t fit neatly. As a guide, look for images that have dimensions that are between 2048  x 1536 , 1600 x 1200, or 1024 x 768.

(Images dimensions of 640 x 480 are borderline–they will look slightly soft not crisp and clear. Anything below this I would completely avoid!)

Look for landscape oriented images. (e.g. otherwise you will have to crop a portrait oriented image if you are going to fill the whole screen.)

my breadfast


Sizes smaller than these will mean you have to stretch pictures to fill your screen resulting in poor quality results that look fuzzy and pixely.

low pixel dimensions = fuzzy poor quality images