Visual Literacy - Representing Content Visually
Presentation Skills and Finding Images
PowerPoint-less - Rethinking Presentations
PowerPoint has been around since 1987. That makes this technology application 20 years old. It may be surprising to find out (from wikipedia) that it was originally a program that ran on the Apple Macintosh. Microsoft purchased the program from the original developers for $14 million. Since the 1990's, PowerPoint has been used as a presentation software by business people, teachers, and students. It's probably used in every school. Even by non-techy people, it's easy to use due to the features that Microsoft has put into the program to meet the needs of presenters and audiences.
This program is very easy to use, because it's "built for grownups". Kids of course, would be able to figure out what to do to create slides with images and text just by following the directions right on the screen. Children in every grade level can produce PowerPoint presentations for a variety of classes and for a variety of purposes. Along the way, students would learn the features of the program: animations, charts and graphs, sounds, embedding movies, and using the programs to create products other than presentations, such as picture books and scrapbooks.
Regardless of the fact that PowerPoint's use seems to be ubiquitous in business and educational, there is a great deal of criticism over the use of the program. Perhaps it started with Yale's Edward Tufte and his book PowerPoint is Evil. Read the review from this link to get a sense of the major criticisms of PowerPoint. Basically, it's believed that most presentations created with PowerPoint are pretty awful. Even the creators, Rober Gaskins and Dennis Austin agree as told in an article in the Wall Street Journal.
The major complaints include:
- The slides are used as "cue cards" for the presenter, not to help the audience understand the message
- Poor layout and design due to the use of default templates make presentations hard to read or hideously boring
- Ideas are are simplified into bulleted lists and stories are sometimes turned into a set of disparate facts
- Every slideshow usually ends up looking like everyone else's
Don McMillan encapsulates every kind of mistake made by bad presenters. This movie is hilarious, but really gets the point across. I sent this to my husband last summer as he was struggling to complete a 60 slide presentation that was supposed to sum up his business to a set of investors. I'm sure his presentation didn't have any of these common mistakes.
PowerPoint is meant to be a visual aid. A true visual is is VISUAL, not text - well actually, text can be a visual aid if it is specific and makes an important point. It's really a story-telling tool, as described by Dean Shareski in this presentation:
Finding Sound Files and Copyright Free Music
Wikimedia - over 3 million freely usable pieces of media
Soungle - search engine for sound files, good for sound effects
Royalty Free Music
Freeplay Music - to search by "feel" or type of music (Don't look here for songs by artists. This is background music.) This music can not be used for online projects, but PowerPoints and videos not posted to the web are fine.
Live Music Archive
American Rhetoric - For famous speeches
Composers Offering Free Midi Files On The Net
Open Music Archive
Public Domain 4U
All About Images from the Web
Search Engines Search engines look for key words and terms in the web page and the results come from all kinds of sites including commercial, educational, personal, and media resources. When looking for images for projects, it may be more appropriate to use subject-specific data bases or creative commons search tools for public image sharing sites like the ones listed on this page, but sites like Google seem much more efficient and faster. Before an image is used, pay careful attention to it's original source. If it comes from a commercial site, such as Disney, the image should not be used because of copyright infringement.
Images from the Web
Google Images -Click once to get the image with it's page source. Click again on full size image.
Yahoo Images - Click once to get the image with it's page source. Click on the link that indicates image url to get the full size image.
Ask Images - Click once to get the image with it's page source. Click on the link that indicates image url to get the full size image.
Creative Commons There are plenty of sites which offer their images for free use under creative commons licenses. There are several different types, but generally they require a link back from you as credit. Remember that these sites are pulling images from Flickr. Flickr is a site that has been around for only a few years so don't expect images from history. For great historical images, scroll down an take a look at Subject Specific Databases.Pics4Learning - great place to start for little ones, absolutely no inappropriate content, widely used in schools because the images are posted specifically for students to use.
Find a Cool Quote or here from Quote Garden
Creative Commons Search Engine - Searches sites like Flickr for images and Owl Music search for mp3's
Flickr: Creative Commons - Flickr is the most widely used online photo storage site. This page provides a portal to copyright free images
ImageCodr.org - search for creative commons images. Also a link at the top "Get Code" to check if an image is available for use
Behold - Flickr search tool
FlickrStorm - Search on Flickr with key words
Wikimedia - over 3 million freely usable pieces of media
picsearch - Try this one! Click once to get the image with it's page source. Click on the link that indicates image url to get the full size image.
PD Photo. org - Royalty Free, Public Domain, Stock Photos
Stockvault.net - all images are free for non-commercial use, they must be downloaded to use in projects
OpenPhoto.net - lets users search images by Creative Commons license.
MorgueFile - collection of 60,000-plus free high-quality photographs into searchable categories like People, Scenes, Animals or Objects. "The purpose of this site is to provide free image reference material for use in all creative pursuits."
ImageBase - also includes some nice PowerPoint templates
www.freefoto.com - Students may download and use the images on this site but a credit to FreeFoto Ian Britton is required
Life.com - "Your World in Pictures", images from Life Magazine, free to use for non-commercial use
Photos8 - nice images from a photographer that lets you use images as long as you credit his website
Check out this wiki! It has dozens of resources for copyright images. I haven't had time to look at this carefully, but it's guaranteed to have some useful sites.
Subject Specific Databases
include primary sources for History and Science
Smithsonian Images - great resource, and very new! Great database organized by category.
American Memory for United States history - awesome resource!
Archives.gov - WWII Photos
Photos Everywhere - travel photos from all over the world
World War II Poster Collection
Great Images in NASA
NASA Earth Observatory
The Gateway to Astronaut Photography - images taken from astronauts
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Photo Library
Historical - Digital History
Images from Old Books
Photo Editing Websites