Friday, January 10, 2014

Google and Images for Student Projects

Having a network of colleagues to mull over ideas and talk through strategies for the classroom is one resource I value.  Not to gloat, but I do have a fantastic Professional Learning Network and this week they did not let me down.  While participating in a Glide video chat with them, my friend Howard Martin mentioned the idea of using a shared Google folder with students to direct them to better, pre-selected content.  I loved it so much I asked if I could feature it on this blog.  So, thanks for sharing Howard!  Your the best!

Finding images for student projects can be a tricky adventure.  Many elements become cause for concern.  Copyright, citations, the appropriateness of the image itself or the security of the search process.  While there are many banks of images that schools supply (our district has a few really great resources), sometimes it is just easier to provide students with an image collection with which they can select from as they create their project.  This eliminates (ton name only a few problems) students spending endless classroom time searching for the correct image, the possibility that a seemingly innocent search query leads to something that cannot be unseen, or the student argument that even though they have found the BEST image ever, if it does not meet with copyright restrictions, they still cannot use it in in the project.  So, as Howard mentioned this week, use Google's shared folders for streamlining this process.

If students were presenting or researching on Hurricanes and Tornadoes and you wanted them to have focused accurate, and appropriate sources and information as well as proper citations but you did not have the class time to devote to the instruction of safe searching, citation building, etc., you might go about it this way.  This would also be a great alternative for the student that has proven themselves to be less than trustworthy in searching on their own or is perhaps too young to handle the magnitude of content on the web.

Here the process:

  1. Create a new Folder in Google Drive with permissions to share with your student using the "share" setting of the folder so that the folder is shared with the students in your class.  (Be careful that students know that moving a document in a shared folder is a move and not a copy.  I always create a copy of the folder so that if someone wipes out all my content I have a backup.)
  2. Load that folder with content!  I started mine with a Google Document.  I titled the Document "Citations" and you will see why as we continue.  Under "Tools" select "research".
  3. On the Doc page, a side menu opens that allows you to research and collect Images, articles, links, quotations, etc.  If you sort for only copyright safe images as shown, you know you are using images that students can use in their work.  Change the citation format to the type you would want them to use.
  4. As you select content, and drop it on the page, it collects not only a copy of the image, but also the citation in the format you selected at the bottom of the page.  Since this document is in the folder, kids should have no trouble copying and pasting the citation. As my page was being built it looked like this:
  5. Then, for each image added to this citation Document I added the image to the folder.  I carefully named and numbered the image so that it had the same number as the citation in the citation list as shown above. You may also note that there is a webpage link on "Hurricane Katrina" because I thought it might be interesting to see that this would also be a way of showing how you could share out on certain links with students.
  6. When my shared folder was done it appeared like this:
Depending on the age and digital comfort of the students, I might provide them with written instructions on how to access the shared folder, how to download files from the folder and specifications for their use.  While I realize this process puts more work on the teachers to collect the information for the students rather than instructing students on how to find it themselves, there are situations and reasons why this might be worthwhile.

Again, thanks Howard and my fantastic PLN!


  1. I'm grateful that Rachel is a big part of my Professional Network and honored to by mentioned here. Thanks!

    This is a great step set for sharing pictures. I will be sharing this way down south, far from CheeseLand. ;)

  2. Great suggestion, Howard and Rachel. Thanks for sharing so concisely.