Google Images is an excellent way to find photos and diagrams of just about anything. Recently our school district blocked Google Images and other similar image search engines after sending out this message:
Since Image servers collect images from everywhere, and many of the images are pornographic, we will have to block sites that do not properly filter these images according to the Child Information Protection Act (CIPA), as required by Federal Law.
It is unfortunate that a few students (as always) ruin a good thing for everyone else. However, according to CIPA, a school’s funding can be cut if it doesn’t show “. . .that they have an Internet safety policy and technology protection measures in place.”
Copyright is another thing to consider if you use Google Images. Remember that most of the images online are copyright protected. Make sure that you are complying with fair use policies when using any image from the web.
Don’t believe that it matters? Here is a true story. My brother worked for a company that posted a picture of Milwaukee on their website. The problem was that the picture wasn’t taken by anyone in his company. The artist contacted his company—long story made short— the company had to pay the artist $900. The artist said that they simply use Google Images to see if people are using their work without permission.
But there is more to this story than just the legal side. It is wrong to take things (even digital things) without permission. As teachers, we need to make sure that we are modeling ethical behavior that respects that work of others.