Tag Archives: creative commons

Google Image Search revealed (and a dilemma)

This week I created a presentation for Yr 8 Indonesian students who were in the process of researching and collecting images for their Indonesian Island project. Most of them were creating a Photostory or similar in Video Studio, and this was a good opportunity for a Google Search show and tell. Although googling is something students do naturally and frequently, experience tells me that most wouldn’t have lingered on the search page long enough to check out the options in the left hand navigation.

I put this presentation together very quickly and used ‘Sumatra’ as the keyword demonstrating the different possibilities for website and image search. Here is the link.

The screenshots I included as examples of different searches made it clear that Google offers much more than the basic search. Compare what you would see if you did a basic Google image search (shown below)

I do feel somewhat torn between getting excited about undiscovered aspects of Google Image Search and the fact that the images are not searchable by Creative Commons licence. I wonder if Google would surrender to pressure and provide free-to-use images along with their search options. Judy O’Connell has written about this issue in her excellent post, Stop turning a blind eye! Media literacy in action.

So, although I still showed students the wonders of Google searching, I did introduce the issue of Copyright and ethical use of others’ information and images to the boys, and showed them Google’s Advanced Search using the ‘labeled for reuse’ option.

 

Although my conscience was barely appeased, I continued with the presentation, starting with the colour options. Green, for example, for ‘Sumatra’ –

Orange…

Here’s an opportunity to engage students in a discussion about why a certain search option would be helpful. Why would we want to use a ‘face’ search? Perhaps if we searched for a person whose name retrieved irrelevant results, then ‘face’ would push photos of people to the top. The ‘orange’ search pushed a whole new range of results which you might not have seen otherwise. In terms of colour design, this option is brilliant too. The black-and-white and photo options often retrieve older photos, so again, the results are different, possibly useful for a historical perspective. The line drawing option looks good for primary level.

One of the best image search options, in my opinion, is Google’s Sites with Images search. I’m sure students overlook this one, and it makes such a difference to the way you can use results. You have a clear window into which websites these images are coming from so you can evaluate the website before you click on the images. This is another important aspect of search which is worth teaching because it involves the thinking and evaluation process.

How much easier is it to sort through image results when they are categorised for you! Searching by subject is just as good –

And finding similar images couldn’t be easier – just hover over an image to find similar images or more sizes.

The LIFE photo archive hosted by Google  is a wonderful collection of “newly-digitized images which includes photos and etchings produced and owned by LIFE dating all the way back to the 1750s. Only a very small percentage of these images have ever been published. The rest have been sitting in dusty archives in the form of negatives, slides, glass plates, etchings, and prints.” A fantastic opportunity to find images you wouldn’t normally see, and excellent for history.

At this point I left the Google Image Search and featured a few of my favourite Google search options, starting with Wonderwheel. For students who interpret results better when presented in a visual way (that includes me), Wonderwheel is the way to go. It’s the brainstorming search option, providing you with different aspects of the original keyword. You simply click through all the suggested keywords to get to the precise one you need.

 

Wonderwheel even reminds you of aspects you may have overlooked.

For latest news and current results Past 24 hours search is brilliant –

I also pointed out to students the Reading Level search option which divided results into Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. The basic search results shouldn’t be overlooked by secondary students. I explained to the class that if they wanted a quick overview of their topic, the basic search result was very useful.

One of the most impressive of the searches is Google Timeline Search. Here you get a graphic representation of results for your keyword over time. If you see a peaking of results in a particular year, your curiosity will have you clicking and drilling down until you have zoomed into the results for that period of time. So much fun.

Finally I took the students into the Google Labs where creative play turns to new and exciting options, and showed them Google Squared Labs.

For easy reading and overview of facts and figures, Google Squared Labs does a great job of presenting the information in spreadsheet style. Although I haven’t had success with all my searches, it’s definitely worth trying for factual results.

Finally, I showed the students a few of my favourite visual search options, including Tag Galaxy (which never fails to impress),  Behold which finds free-to-use images, and Spell with Flickr for headings. Of course, there are so many more options for image search, even for Creative Commons images, and some of them are here.

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Filed under Copyright, Search

Are we Copyright Cops?

I saw this film on Tom Barrett’s blog post. It’s a powerful film about young people’s behaviour on the web and the extreme reaction of the law as they succumb to ‘stealing’ that which is to easy to take.

Not so long ago information wasn’t as accessible and tantalising as it is now. You only had one identity (unless you were a celebrity). Now people, predominantly young people, enjoy and possibly cultivate an online identity which may or may not be identical to their face-to-face identity. They enjoy audience most of the time through mobile technologies. Even when their blog posts claim that they are alone in their despair and will not be heard by anyone, they are generally enjoying the thought of being ‘read’ by their ‘friends’.

It’s an exciting time with the possibility of connecting with so many instantly, the possibility of finding so much information, viewing and copying so many images, so much music. It can be a confusing time, not knowing if something is true (as sometimes occurs with news on Twitter) or if it has been played with.

As educators we should try to understand the online existence from the inside, and from that perspective proceed with instruction and guidance so that young people approach that part of their life as wisely as we would hope they approach any part of their life. We should not overdramatise, not use fear-mongering, not pull them back. There is so much to be enjoyed, so much creativity possible. This needs to be tempered by an informed knowledge of how to use and share information, images and music responsibly and legally. So much is shared through Creative Commons, and it is a very good idea to attribute everything; it’s just manners.

I like the fact that this film is open source, and that it encourages people to remix and take a personal spin on what’s available.

It’s an exciting time. Let’s be open to it, be informed and respectful of each other. As educators let’s support young people in a world that doesn’t stand still, let’s not police them inappropriately.

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Filed under Copyright, creativity, networking

Copyright kills creativity and culture

Can people ever be original again?

And what kind of future do we have if we can copy and paste, download and remix almost everything but we get into trouble for it?

I came across a very interesting documentary in a blog post on Brain Pickings. It’s 24 minutes long but well worth watching.

a new documentary from Yale Law & Technology, offering 24 densely compelling minutes of insight into various facets of intellectual property in the age of remix. From appropriation to sampling to creative influence to reuse, the film is an anthology of conversations with some of today’s most notable remix artists and media theorists, exposing the central paradox of contemporary copyright law: How can something originally intended to incentivize people to create serve to hinder new forms of creativity?

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Walking on Eggshells: Borrowing Cultu…“, posted with vodpod

I’ve pulled out some of the ideas in the video which resounded with me –

  • You’re only aware of a portion of your influences at a time. Things work through you; you’re not always in control, and when you create something, it’s in the world and others can use it.
  • everything is cannibalising itself, eating itself (interesting way of putting it)
  • postmodernism is the end of everythingL meaning collapses under the weight of too many perspectives. With the internet, everything happens faster and faster. You’re not living in a real way, you’re experiencing references.
  • music is every tune you’ve ever heard pulled out and mixed together.
  • Remixing is like using the remote control, flipping through stuff. Remixing is like flipping through culture.
  • Look at all the references in Bugs Bunny; we always knew there were references even if we didn’t fully get them.
  • If copyright was applied to Bach, Beethoven, etc. they’d all be in trouble.
  • Now, in the recording age, music is not to be made – it’s to be consumed.

Here’s an interesting discussion of the emerging remix culture with Lawrence Lessig, founder of Creative Commons, acclaimed street artist Shepard Fairey, whose iconic Obama “HOPE” poster was recently acquired by the National Portrait Gallery, and cultural historian Steven Johnson, whose new book, “The Invention of Air,” argues that remix culture has deep roots in the Enlightenment and among the American founding fathers.

We have so much rethinking to do. It often seems that our thinking got stuck in the nineteenth century. Social media has enabled access, sharing and remixing of so much, surely we need to think of possibilities and not restrictions.

We can’t invent new colours, but we can work with a varied palette to create our own vision.


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Sharing culture – Creative Commons video

George Siemens put a plug in for this Creative Commons video. Thought I’d share it.

Some of the thoughts I’ve taken out to give you an idea of the video:

What does it mean to be human if we don’t have a shared culture? What does a shared culture mean if you can’t share it?

We have all these new technologies that allow people to express themselves, take control of their creative impulses, but the law gets in the way.

Creative Commons wants us to be able to say ‘here’s the freedom that I want to run with any creative work’.

A Creative Commons license says give me credit for my work.

Creative Commons allows you to exercise your copyright more simply.

It’s really about creativity and connection, access and control

Creative Commons is a bridge to this future – thinking not about content but about communities

It’s the space for more speech, more expression.

 

What do you think about Creative Commons?

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Filed under creativity, internet, media, technology, Web 2.0

Own the info, keep the info, hide the info

bottled-coins

 

I was reading Will Richardson’s article Get. Off. Paper. where he talks about people’s dependence on paper, and the reluctance to let go of owning information in hard copy. I’ve also just read what Joi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons, has to say about sharing photos of ourselves. It’s made me reflect on the nature of owning and sharing information, and how that has changed dramatically in the last few years.

When I was at school and university, information was power. If you wanted to be successful and get good marks, you needed information.

I remember how scarce information was. I had to work hard to get it, and I had to work hard to get it before others did, or get it from places others wouldn’t know about.

Sound strange? Think about it. An assignment is set, and the class goes to the library, but there are only a few books about the single subject that needs researching. Once I was jumped from behind by another student who clawed me until I dropped the book she wanted. Sound unbelievable? Believe it; it’s true. That experience shocked me and I’m not about to forget it. I’ve wondered since then, how important is this information, that someone would behave in such a manner? Admittedly, this is extreme behaviour, but think about this. In those days, my assignments were based on the location of content. If I owned that content, I would regurgitate it and present it attractively. Would I be in a hurry to share this information? Well, that would mean that someone else would have the same information as me. Why would I share it? Did we ever do anything with that information? Analyse it, evaluate it, modify it, create from it? No. That information was what my mark was based on.

Will Richardson talks about a paperless society. What I remember most about university, was the time I spent photocopying chapers in the library. Not complete chapters, of course, just the legal percentage of what was permissable. I focussed on collecting bags full of coins so that I would be able to photocopy pages from all the books I’d found that were even remotely relevant to my topics of study. I needed those copies, I felt empowered with all that paper, all that information that I may need during my research. When I was finished, I kept that paper. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. I might need it. I think I still have it.

It’s a relief but also kind of strange to be functioning now in the potentially almost paperless world. I turn to people for my links to information, and I share freely, as well as receive in abundance.  My networks are not mean. They are made of people who are smart, connected, varied, informed, interesting and willing to share ideas and knowledge. I’m happy that I’m still learning so that I can turn my back on the old ways.

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Filed under 21st century learning, Education, internet, Web 2.0