Gathering Digital Images

Flickr Creative Commons- A great place for teachers to find images.

Note: Creative Commons is NOT a safe search tool for students.  Although Flickr has a set of Community Guidelines for posting images, there are some images that could be considered inappropriate for school.  Advanced search tools have a "safe" search option, but this option is not as "safe" as educators might like it to be.

"Creative Commons gives tools to the creator to make a choice about copyright." Watch this short movie to see the spirit of Creative Commons.  All Creative Commons images are shared various CC licenses.  You can read about the licensing at

Open Clip Art Library "aims to create an archive of clip art that can be used for free for any use. All graphics submitted to the project should be placed into the Public Domain according to the statement by the Creative Commons. If you'd like to help out, please join the mailing list. Also, browse the archives to review the project's history."

FlickrStorm gives you a powerful way to quickly search flickr. For directions, click here.

"Veezzle is a free stock photo search engine, we scan the largest stock photo sites for your results..." but be careful using this with students. 

Wylio is a " super sonic, thrifty, all-in-one picture finder and re-sizer made specifically for bloggers."

Collections  for Schools

Classroom Clipart
Classroom Clipart includes numerous categories of copyright free clip art. This database is user friendly and easy to navigate. It also includes sounds, videos and icons.

Discovery Schools Discovery Schools Clip Art Gallery
contains various categories of free clipart, including animations.

Dorling Kindersley
  "This mini site will help support class and homework activities with downloads of DK's famous photographs that can be included in your school projects. They can also be used just for fun!"

Edupic Graphical Resource William Vann's" EduPic Graphical Resource was launched in September 2006 as a source of free images for teachers and their students. Now with over 6000 different photographs and education illustrations, EduPic is used everyday all over the world."

ImageBase  David Niblack provides us with over 100 pages of high-quality images that are free to use.

MorgueFile   Although not a "school" collection, Morguefile is an excellent source of free high-quality images by professional photographers.  "The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for illustrators, comic book artists, designers, teachers and all creative pursuits."

My English Images My English Images, a site for English instructors and English teachers working with ESL and EFL students. Have fun exploring the site. There are lots of images and worksheets available for download. Use these images to catch your student’s attention, spice up your lessons,  illustrate your ideas and explain some great language points.

Pics4Learning Pics4Learning includes "copyright friendly" images intended for use in an educational setting. Pics4Learning depends on users uploading and sharing images. The database can be either browsed or searched. Educators have begun to develop a base of shared lesson plans to be used with these images.

World Images "World Images The internationally recognized WorldImages database provides access to the California State University IMAGE Project. It contains almost 75,000 images, is global in coverage and includes all areas of visual imagery. WorldImages is accessible anywhere and its images may be freely used for non-profit educational purposes."

Image Collections from the Federal Government 

These images are student safe and since they were taken by the Federal Government, they are in the public domain. 

American Memory American Memory is provided by the Library of Congress. This amazing collection contains historic maps, photos, documents, audio and video. The help page is an excellent tool for learning to navigate this incredible site. Click more browse options or list all collections on the bottom left of the home page for more options. Click Teachers for lesson plans, activities and other resources for using this site in the classroom.  You may have to look a little for the images, but the results are well worth it.

The Agricultural Research Gallery
The Agricultural Research Gallery contains photos of and pertaining to animals, crops, education, fruits & vegetables, field research, insects, lab research and plants. These images are taken by government employees and are in the public domain.

The Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management contains photos of and pertaining to its focus.  Since these images are created by federal government employees, they are part of public domain.

NASA NASA's Photo Gallery provides access to a large number of photos from many different sources and are all in the public domain. The Space Science Education Outreach section includes many ways to use NASA's resources in the classroom. The Image of the Day Gallery includes links to more collections.

The National Ocieanic & Atmospheric Administration Photo Archives
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Photo Archives contain public domain images from a variety of government sources. Information on navigating the collections can be very useful. More collections can be located at

The National Fish and Wildlife Service At the NFWS "you will find a wide assortment of selected images, publications, video and audio clips that are in the public domain. You are free to use them as you wish - no permission is necessary. We do ask that you give credit to the photographer or creator and the US Fish and Wildlife Service."

The US Geological Survey
The US Geological Survey is not a collection, per say. However, the photos it uses to illustrate biology, geography, geology, geospatial information and water can all be very useful in the classroom. Their Florida photo gallery is also a worthwhile site to check out. The map database is especially useful for teaching and learning.

Image Generator Tools

Cool Text is a
free graphics generator for web pages and anywhere else you need an impressive logo without a lot of design work. Simply choose what kind of image you would like.  Then fill out a form and you'll have your own custom image created on the fly.

Flaming Text Flaming Text allows the user to create and download custom banners, buttons and more. This is a great site for web developers.

Google Font Google Font allows you to create Logos with, you guessed it, Google style font!  Gotta love it!

Logo Type Maker Creates free, editable logos.

Other Image Collections

Animal Photos  Many animal photos, all under Creative Commons licensing.

George Eastmanhouse
The George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film is an amazing online image collection sampler. The site contains a section specifically for educators that includes some interesting virtual field trips for Middle and High School students. Copyright laws are clearly outlined.

Garst Wildelife Collection
The Garst Collection
contains images taken while filming for Mutual of Omaha and was developed for the general public. Educational fair use and copyright guidelines are clearly stated.

Google Images
Everyone knows about Google Images,  But have you checked out the Similar Images tool? This is great for finding images quickly.  Google's Life Photo Archive is also a great source for classroom resources.

Images of American Political History The Images of American Political History collection consists of over 500 images that are easily navigated by era or topic.

Image Afte
The Image After collection is a high quality free image collection. It is easy to search and the copyright procedures are readily available.

Ken Thomas, Wildlife and More  Beautiful images by Ken Thomas. 
nless otherwise noted, all the photos and images are released to the Public Domain.

Life Photo Archive Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.

National Geographic
National Geographic's Photography collection contains just what you'd expect: beautiful photo galleries on history, culture, landscapes, science, space, animals, bodies of water and more. Their education section contains a searchable lesson plan database as well as links to maps and professional development.  Earthpulse contains images of global hotspots.

Photos8  All photos on are public domain. You may use these images for any purpose, including commercial.

Vintage Ad Browser "100,000+ vintage advertisements to explore"

Yale Digital Commons
"Through this new university policy, scholars, artists, teachers, and students worldwide will now be able to more fully engage our collections for active learning and use in publications, classrooms, and creative projects without incurring any fees whatsoever, eliminating what has previously been for many a daunting financial hurdle."  Watch the slide show


American Memory Maps American Memory's Map Collection focuses on the "Americana and Cartographic Treasures of the Library of Congress. These images were created from maps and atlases and, in general, are restricted to items that are not covered by copyright protection."

Eduplace Outline Maps
Outline Maps specifically for school purposes from

Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia Britannica has a comprehensive atlas for each one of its encyclopedia libraries (elementary, middle & high school). Choose a library on the right hand side of the home page and you will find a link to an atlas suitable for the designated age group. To access this from home, see your media specialist for a user name and password.

Geography at
Geography at places links on the left to blank maps and other map sites.

Google Earth
Google Earth is a free program that uses satellite and aircraft images to provide an interactive map of the world. Images can be emailed and saved. Go to the FAQ page for more information on how Google Earth works.

Google Maps
Google Maps.  Create and customize your own maps.

I Like to Learn
I Like to Learn's "interactive Quizzes will help you rapidly learn the locations of the countries and capitals of the world."

National Geographic
National Geographic's links to map and geography resources. This includes a K-8 map curriculum. Also on this site is their Maps and Geography Home Page which includes links to their Map Machine as well as a searchable database. Don't miss the Xpedition Atlas which links to maps made for printing and copying.

Perry-Cateñada Map Collections
The Perry-Casteñada Map Collections
from the University of Texas contain a variety of maps that have been scanned for educational purposes. Links to locating various maps are also included. Read their usage statement.

Terraserver allows you to search for aerial photos and topo maps just by typing in an address. If you haven't seen it yet, you should.

US Geological Survey
The US Geological Survey is not a collection, per say. However, the photos it uses to illustrate biology, geography, geology, geospatial information and water can all be very useful in the classroom. The map database is especially useful for teaching and learning.

University of Virginia's Cultural Maps
University of Virginia's Cultural Maps site is the beginning of what promises to be a large database of graphs, charts, and images that serve as "concrete and physical representation of abstract ideas and intangible feelings." This site also has an extensive list of links to other map sites.

Worldbook Online
Worldbook's Atlas contains many types of maps from all over the world. To access this from home, see your media specialist for a user name and password.

Integration Ideas

The following sites contain ideas and instructions for using images in the classroom. Adobe's Digital Kids Club provides an intoroduction to digital photography and contains links to lessons and activities, training and tutorials, and more. As you would guess, most of the information is related to Adobe's software packages, yet the ideas can be used with programs such as iPhoto as well. Adobe also Provides a site just for educators which includes instructional resources and tutorials for all of their products. Click K12 and then free online lessons to access some excellent tutorials for middle school and up. Click K-12 and then click Instructional Resources to get a searchable database of curricula, lessons, and other resources. American Memory Learning Page from the Library of Congress contains lesson plans, theme activities, interactive games, a guide to the American Memory Database and more. This site also includes a comprehensive guide to copyright. Apple's Learning Interchange is an excellent resource for integrating images into the curriculum. It contains a wealth of ideas, activities, and lesson plans for all classroom levels. Scroll to the bottom of the page for specific links, or use the searchable database. Although the software may be Apple specific, the ideas can be used with any platform. Jamie McKenzie's ariticle Images Can Make Powerful Slam Dunk Digital Lessons discusses which images to choose and how to use them in the classroom.

Subpages (1): FlickrStrom