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Finding Free Images on the Web

Clients often need images for their website and printed materials. Here is a short list of resources where you can download free images as well as premium images.

DreamsTime

http://www.dreamstime.com/
Stock photos at a reasonable price. Web sites only need photos no wider than 400px.

Google Search


Using Google search to find Creative Commons images.


You can use Google to find photos that have a creative commons license. When you do this, always give the owner credit or attribution by including the website URL in the credits of your document.

Click on the image for a larger view

Google is constantly being redesigned so your click pattern may be different. This image shows the keywords to look for.

To keep track of the attribution store your creative commons images in a special folder. Include a text file or Word document that lists or shows a small thumbnail of the image and the URL of the site you got it from.

Often times photos are HUGE. Use an image editor such as http://pixlr.com to change the size of the image. Include the new size in the file name for quick reference and to keep from overwriting the original. For example: shetlandPony.jpg would become shetlandPony300x250.jpg.

Flickr

https://www.flickr.com

Using Flickr to find Creative Commons images.


Flickr.com is a good source for photos. You can show all the Creative Commons photos that are licensed for commercial use. They also offer the Flickr Marketplace showing professional photos that are available to purchase.

List of Free Photo Sites

http://www.wheretofindfreeimages.com/
This page includes many sources of free photos.

RGBStock has some great photos.

http://www.rgbstock.com/
Their licensing is very generous. You may use their images:

2.a In digital format on websites, blogs, multimedia presentations, broadcast film or video and on your cell phone or personal computer as screen background or desktop wallpaper.

2.b In print to decorate your home or your office.

2.c In printed materials such as magazines, newspapers, books, brochures, flyers, text books, wherein the image or images used are for the purpose of illustration and not the primary content for sale or redistribution of the printed materials.

FreeImages.com

http://www.freeimages.com/
This site offers both free images and premium images for sale.

iStockPhoto.com

http://www.istockphoto.com/
This is the standard site for commercial stock photos. Originally started in Calgary, Canada by two young men, they sold the company to Getty images. Most small images suitable for the web run around $40. You can get a 10 image, 1-month subscription for $40.

Read the licensing carefully. They have strict limitations on how an image can be used.

They have recently partnered with http://leanin.org/about/ including photographs of women changing how women are portrayed.

Very high quality photography.

Adding JavaScript to WordPress

In my Advanced Web (CSC245) class that I’m teaching at Concordia University, St. Paul, the students needed to know how to add JavaScript to their WordPress blog postings.

I put together this demo page walking them through the process along with this video.

Adding JavaScript to WordPress

Here is the source code for the JavaScript function used in the video.

How old is each mask?

edoIvoryMask1500

Ivory Pendant Mask: Court of Benin. Iyoba, Nigeria

ifeKings_Head1100

Yoruba (Ife) bronze casting of Oduduwa

ngady-aMwaashKubaRoyalMask1890

Ngady aMwaash, Kuba Royal Mask, Peabody Museum, Harvard University

Credits:
edoIvoryMask1500Creative Commons, Wikipedia Edo Ivory Mask

ifeKings_Head1100Public domainIFE Kings Head

ngady-aMwaashKubaRoyalMask1890Creative Commons, Wikipedia Ngady aMwaash, Kuba Royal Mask

Building your digital story, one digital block at a time…..

By Paul Wasko

Image of DS106 Assignment Bank pageMany educators are beginning to explore digital storytelling as an assessment methodology within their courses or programs.   The ideas behind “digital storytelling” are not new and began to emerge in the later part of the

20th century. (If you are interested, the Center for Digital Storytelling has a brief history at  http://storycenter.org/history ).

As the former director of eFolioMinnesota, I am very interested in the use of digital portfolios to support digital storytelling efforts.

What is new in digital storytelling are the tools students and educators can use to author their digital content.  

Historically, digital authoring tools often involved some knowledge of HTML commands.  However, with today’s online tools, creating a simple photoshow is straightforward using tools like http://Flickr.com.

So, if digital storytelling tools have become accessible to the average digitally literate student/educator then why are we not seeing digital storytelling emerge in classes throughout our education community?  The reason: the tools might be simple but we still have to figure out how to apply and use them. This takes practice and knowledge. (I know how to use a hammer but I still couldn’t build a house on my own.).

Helping you and your student’s proficiency using several different story-telling tools is a goal of the University of Mary Washington’s DS106 open class (http://ds106.us/ ).

For educators, an especially useful component of the course is the Assignment Bank.  The course author’s have done a wonderful job pulling together assignments that build proficiency with a variety of web-based authoring tools and services.

For example, check out “Your Favorite Teams Mashup” assignment in the “Mashup” section. The instructions for the assignment are as follows::

“Combine the logos of two or more of your favorite sports teams. Don’t just create an image with the two logos next to each other! Make the final logo look natural and cohesive.”

For educators, consider using some of these assignments as a way to build student proficiency.  It is a fun, straightforward way to help us return to the art of storytelling in the 21st century.

Note that not every assignment is appropropriate for all age groups so K-12 teachers may want to modify the assignment based on their grade level.

Special thanks to my friend and colleague John Ittelson, author of Documenting Learning with ePortfolios, for introducing me to DS106.

Peg Legg and Sal A. Mander

Often you may find the need to populate a course with sample users so your students can log onto a course and experiment around.

Having sample users is also a great solution for demo courses when you want to allow students to experience hands-on a specific technique.

I discovered a fun list of names at http://www.ethanwiner.com/funnames.html. Many of them are very inappropriate for a lab situation, but I was able to cull about 25 very safe ones from the list.

Here are a few examples: Missy Sippy, Peg Legg, Marshall Law, Mary Christmas, and Sal A. Mander.

Creating an eBook Publication

I just finished creating a short eBook using Apple’s Pages ’09 and SnagIt. Patrick from MacSage has two blog postings that give a nice overview.

Here are some key points that I discovered along the way:

(1) Use this template to get started. Open this document up in Pages and then do a File/Save as template. You can view the list of styling options in Pages using View/Use Styles Drawer

Formatting is very basic with ePublications due to the wide range of devices that might be used to display the output. Bulleted lists work and so do links. But, there are very few other options. No fancy fonts, no fancy formatting.

I made a few minor size adjustments to the template (making the main heading smaller) and added in my logo, company contact information, and creative commons licensing. Then I did another “file/save as template” with a new name so I can have a custom template that contains elements that will be common to all my ePubs.

Pages inspector window showing the settings for ePublication images

(2) Make certain all your images are set to inline.  Although I would really like to design pages with wrap-around text and use multi-column layouts, ePubs limit this inorder to be fluid and adapt to horizontal and vertical viewing as well as all the different sizes and shapes of displays.

 

(3) ePublication “pages” are set by inserting a Section break.  From the menu select:   Insert/Section break

There is no page numbering because page break may differ depending on the device used to view the document. Instead I just set up bookmarks for each new chapter and made each item in the Table of Contents a link to the appropriate bookmark.

screen shot showing space, paragraph, and section break markers

(4) Pages ’09 automatically makes a Table of Contents when you export to ePub. I didn’t have to do anything. When I viewed the finished document in iBooks there was a Table Of Contents icon and all the chapter heads were listed. Nice.

(5) Display all editing marks so you can see what you are working with. From the menu select:  View/Show invisibles.  Section breaks will display as a blue line with a page icon at the far right.

(6) Embedded videos will make your document HUGE. As an alternative I uploaded a short demo video up to YouTube and then included a hyperlink to that video inside the document.

The ePublication standard does not recognize multimedia yet so trying to add it to your documents is walking the edge of the accessibility cliff.

(7) You aren’t able to put a link around a graphic in Pages ’09. My first inclination was to emulate having the video embedded by including a screenshot of the video so people could click on the image as if it was an embedded video. But I couldn’t make the screen shot into a link. I ended up having a still shot captured from the video and put a normal text hyperlink right above it.

If you create a .pdf document you can use Adobe Acrobat to add an embedded video.  (In Adobe Acrobat Pro Version 10 use View/Tools/Content  and then choose Multimedia/Video from the right sidebar menu

that pops up.) But, once again the PDF file size jumped from 4 meg up to 17 meg. So, I removed the video and just kept the link to YouTube. That made my ePub universal, fairly fast to load, and I knew that YouTube would automatically accommodate any type of display.

Checkbox in ePub export window

(8) Duplicate the first page and use it as the cover to your ePub.  In Pages right-mouse click on the thumbnail page on the left side of the page and select “duplicate”. When you export the ePub make sure the box “Use first page as the cover or your publication” is checked.

(9) Calibre is a free ePublication reader you can download to test your work. It runs on all platforms. Yea!

To view your publication on an iPhone or iPad email it to yourself as an attachment. When you read the email on the mobile device it will ask you if you want to open up the document using iBooks.

On an iPhone the images and screen shots are very tiny and iBooks doesn’t let the user zoom in. Too bad.

Working on the Windows platform? – Check out the SmashWords platform and the Smashwords Style Guide.

Have some other ePub and Pages ’09 tricks that you know about? Post them here for others to use.

Course Design Philosophy

Externsteine rock formation in Horn-Bad Meinberg, GermanyAs I develop more and more online courses I’m starting to fine-tune my design philosophy. How do these bullet points fit with your own experience?

Overall

  • Have a clear path for the learner to follow.
  • Strive for deeper learning.
  • Focus on the learning, not the technology.
  • Be platform independent whenever possible.
  • Utilize open source frameworks
  • Create adaptable content for both mobile and desktop devices.
  • Pluralize your content. Present the same information in multiple formats for maximum learning.
  • Always nudge your students’ learning up to the next level of Bloom’s taxonomy.

Presentation of Material

  • Incorporate short video (3-4 minutes) with sound and closed-captioning.
  • Written materials must be presented in an interesting manner.
  • Create succinct checklists for future fast reference and re-learning.
  • Edit, edit, edit. Be Hemingway by removing all extra words, phrases, and explanations.

Utilize the Writer’s Craft

  • Create suspense
  • Be clear and organized
  • Use scenarios, creating memorable and personable “characters” that the learner can identify with.
  • Overlap information in a kind and gentle manner.
  • Follow the Hero’s Journey pattern  established by Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, and incorporated by George Lucas, director of Star Wars.

Listen Closely to Your Students

  • Their questions tell you where you need clarity.
  • Their observations or ideas can be used to enhance the content.
  • Ask for their feedback near the end of the course.  What worked? What didn’t. What should I change? Take notes!
  • Throughout the course, highlight changes you’ve made to the course as a result of previous student input.

What is Drupal? A hands-on lab for content editors

 

What is Drupal?

A hands-on lab for Content Editors

A t

Last week I had the opportunity to present at the eLearning Conference held at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

One of the labs I did allowed folks to experience how Drupal works. Each person had their own Drupal account and could experiment learning how easy it is to add content to a site, edit that content. We set up new pages and made menu links to display those pages.

One of the things I did was create silly user names such as Missy Sippy, Peg Legg, Marshall Law, Mary Christmas, and Sal A. Mander. Everyone enjoyed picking their names. Here is the original list of names I used http://www.ethanwiner.com/funnames.html  Many of them are very inappropriate for a lab situation, but I was able to cull about 25 very safe ones from the list.

I used a new technique with this tutorial. Keynote (the Apple version of PowerPoint) just doesn’t hold enough information and I wanted the participants as well as anyone sitting at home to be able to see the actual techniques I was presenting long after the conference was over.

To accomplish this I used standard bullet points in the presentation itself as a quick-view text summary of the steps involved. On the same slide I also included a link to a YouTube video demonstrating the actual technique using the same site and basic theme that we used in the lab. Although everyone did really well during the hands-on lab, I think knowing that they could review the steps later took a lot of pressure off the group.

I have a link to the presentation out on my web site:  http://WebExplorations.com  Look along the left column under “Presentations” for “What is Drupal? For Content Editors

Look for the hyperlinks in the upper-right corner of most of the slides to the videos.

Let me know what you think of this technique using videos as part of a slide presentation. Does it work for you?