Every now and then a tool comes along that you never realized you needed. Google Image Search is one of those tools and, although remarkably underrated, it has hundreds of truly useful applications. For students, Image Search is an exceptionally powerful visual research and discovery tool. For educators it can be a wonderfully simple way to find engaging content and trace source material.
A Quick Look
In this day and (digital) age, it is a pretty safe assumption that your students are familiar and comfortable with making a Google search. But how familiar are they with an image search? This video from Google gives an excellent outline of the different ways an image search can be performed and shows just how useful the tool really can be.
1. Image treasure hunt
Find a specific and well known photo from a particular event in history or location in the world and keep it hidden from your class. Slowly release clues to help them research and get closer to finding the source. This lesson will encourage students to search for reliable and trustworthy information which is an essential digital skill to develop. Check out this great example from Google’s own lesson plan library.
2. Create a brochure or pamphlet
Depending on your discipline or current class topic, ask your students to create a (digital or print) brochure or pamphlet. Using Google Image Search they can source appropriate images and photographs to make a visually engaging final product. This could also be a good jumping off point to discuss image licensing and Creative Commons.
3. Image collage
One of the most useful advanced features of Google Image Search is the ability to filter images based on color and type (face, photo, clip art, line drawing, animated). Set your class the task of creating a digital collage themed by color or artistic style. They can also use the size filter to ensure that the images collected are of high enough resolution and will fit into the overall collage.
4. Usage rights and citation
Google Image Search allows images to be filtered by ‘Usage Rights’. This is an important skill for students to understand and correct referencing, attribution and citation is all part of building strong digital literacy. Have your students choose a selection of images covering the different levels of user rights in Google Image Search. They can then use your defined referencing format to cite and attribute the images correctly.
5. The Image Detective
This one is a lot of fun but serves a very important purpose and has many real applications. Using Google Image Search, find a low quality picture that is well known and originally from a reputable source. Give your students this image and task them with finding the original copy, source and context. Not only does this teach students about reputable and trustworthy sources, it also requires all sort of investigative skills and cunning! (Try turning this into a competition by awarding prizes for the first to find the source)
Links and Next Steps
- Google Search Lesson Plans – Official lesson plans created by Google to develop search skills
- A Google a Day Challenges – Put your students’ search skills to the test
- Google Search Education – Video from Google on using search in education
- Search Education Online – Courses from Google to improve search skills
- How Search Work – Simple and fun video on the science behind Google
- Beyond Google Images – Image search in English 101 from University of North Carolina
What other ways have you used Google Image Search with your class? Let us know in the comments below.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Zaprittsky.