OnCUE

Confessions of a ClipArt Junkie

Blurred flowers on the ground

If you follow Ryan O’Donnell (aka creativeedtech) on Twitter, or around town like I do, small pieces of brilliance seem to drop from the sky. That’s mostly because he has a way of taking new tools or tech ideas and creating practical ways to use them in the classroom. He’s also a pretty tall guy so his ideas tend to fall on normal humans like rain. Lately, O’Donnell has been creating these amazing graphics of listicles, (what the internet calls writing in the form of a list). Not only is this idea a great way to disseminate ideas to fellow educators online, it’s also a great template to use with students. I am definitely incorporating some graphic listicles next year in my classroom. Of course, O’Donnell is quite the Jedi Master of templates. Check out his website for more awesome ideas.

A few weeks ago, one of O’Donnell’s listicles caught my eye. His tweet read:

Confessions of a Clip Art junkie: I LOVED clip art. Tried to find the perfect image & even bought those mega-pack CD’s. Finally kicked that habit though. Now it’s all about photos & graphics.

Therefore, on behalf of Ryan O’Donnell, I am here to urge you to STOP using clip art!  Here are the tools he has suggested to use to shift your addiction to something more contemporary and relevant.

List of Image Sites

  1. The Noun Project— Icons are the answer for your latest projects and the Noun Project will provide you over a million for free. Simply sign up, search and download as Creative Commons. (Royalty Free requires a paid membership). I even found some really cool Star Wars icons! Credit is embedded in the icon already.
  2. Flaticon–Much like the Noun Project, this site is about the icons, but it groups icons into packs. Therefore, if you are working on a project, you have a set of icons all downloaded that go together. Download for free with attribution, just like Noun Project.
  3. No Backs— This site offers high resolution images in PNG format. No need to sign up. Free to use as long as proper credit and a link to the site is given.
  4. Pixabay–One of my favorite sites for stock photos. Over 1.4 million. Each image designates the licensing. Most are labeled Creative Commons, with no attribution needed.
  5. Freepik–This is a large search engine of free vector designs (which is graphic designer talk for computer images). Not all are free, but many are, only requiring attribution. No sign in required. Just search, find one that’s free and download.
  6. Unsplash–Supported by a large community of photographers, this site allows you to download beautiful images. They ask that you credit the photographers only out of appreciation and for the photographers to gain exposure. Absolutely stunning images!

    Trees an

    Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

  7. Pexels–Thousands of free stock photos that are completely licensed as Creative Commons. No attribution required. When you download, they offer ways to say thank you to the photographer: add a link, follow him/her on Instagram, or embed the citation. Another site I could spend hours looking for the perfect picture!

Adding images effectively to your projects gets results. Consider using one of these sites. O’Donnell also suggests busting out your camera or simply taking out your phone and snapping your own pictures. Those images are always free.

Now that you have been educated in all the great FREE sites out there, it is time to break up with your clip art. Snip it out of your life. It is far more picturesque on the other side. Join the revolution.

Be sure to follow Ryan O’Donnell on Twitter @creativeedtech and check out his website at creativeedtech.com.

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Kristina Allison

Kristina Allison is currently teaching language arts and computer science at the middle school level. She holds a masters in educational technology, teaches as a Lead Learner for CUE and serves as a director on the CapCue board, the Sacramento area affiliate. Kristina is also a proud teacher consultant for the Area 3 Writing Project. Find her at http://figurativelyteaching.com