How to attribute Creative Commons Photos


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I recently found this info graphic that helped to explain the different levels of creative common licenses and how to attribute properly when you want to use a photo. I think I have been overly cautious about having my students use a creative commons photo out of fear that it wouldn’t get attributed correctly. After studying the info graphic below, I realized that I could even have my yearbook staff use creative common photos if we used the right licensed photos and attributed them properly. For years, I have been telling my yearbook staff, that since we are publishing commercially, nothing can be taken from the internet. But I am finding that certain licenses do allow for commercial usage as long as it is attributed properly. So spread the word, and use this with your students. There are millions of photos available for students to use for their creative projects, and as long as they know how to attribute correctly, the sky is the limit.

Creative Commons Photos

How To Attribute Creative Commons Photos by Foter

Advertisements and Edmodo


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In getting ready for my final presentation for my Certification of Educational Technology and Information Literacy (CoETaIL@YIS) on December 1 at Yohohama International School in Yokohama, Japan, I made the following video to show how I integrated technology into my classes at a redefinition level. I teach yearbook journalism at Christian Academy in Japan, in a high school in Tokyo, Japan and this year I was faced with two challenges from the very beginning. Only ten students wanted to join my yearbook journalism class this year, and nine of those ten were new. My students came into the classroom with little or no knowledge of how to use Adobe InDesign or Photoshop, as well has no knowledge of how to put together a yearbook. The second issue arose that in order to even get 10 students, I would have two separate class periods of yearbook students due to conflicts in schedules. No one could change their class section to have all of them in the room at the same time. How were we going to collaborate and communicate with two different class sessions?

I decided on two different courses of action. One, I would encourage the students to watch video tutorials on how to use the software from home, one hour per night, for one month, 5 days a week using tutorials. Second, I would set up an Edmodo class and ask my students to join the class, so that the two class sections could share thoughts, links, and visual concepts online in a social media platform.

The following video demonstrates technology integration into a high school yearbook journalism class using a flipped classroom learning strategy and social media to promote collaboration and communication. Learning takes place both inside and outside of the classroom in a blended learning environment that promotes anytime at any place learning.

Course 5 Final Project: Edmodo and LyndaClassroom



Well this is my final post for my course work for Coetail@YIS. It has been such a great time of learning for me. I have grown so much in my knowledge about technology in education. I was starting to get depressed thinking about how I could keep my head in the game on always learning when a colleague introduced me to After going to that site, I realized that I could easily keep learning by downloading their app on my iPad and then subscribe to the Edudemic Magazine for even more articles than what is on the web which downloads directly to the Newsstand on my ipad. A great wealth of information about technology in education. I highly recommend it to those of you who are finishing Coetail with me and what to keep abreast of new technologies.

When I was at, I found an article on “100 Best Learning Tools of 2012” in which Edmodo was ranked 22 on the list. I wasn’t surprised that it was high on the list. I started using Edmodo in my two high school classes this year for the first time and I have had a lot of success with it in my yearbook journalism class.

At the beginning of the school year, only few students had signed up for the 5th period yearbook. So to make it possible to create a yearbook this year, the registar let me drop my video production’s class sixth period and added another class session for yearbook. The issue then became, how can two separate class periods work together collaboratively on one yearbook? The issue was also that I had only one experienced returning student and nine new students who needed to be trained in using Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop. I usually have about half the class new and half the class with some experience, so the students so I usually pair up students together to help support the newbies with experienced staff members. But with nine out of 10 members being newbies, this really meant it was going to be a slow start in creating the yearbook after training occurred. Problems always come in threes right? Well, our tech guys decided we needed a bigger server and they wanted to move my yearbook files and my digital photography class files to a new volume. However, it has taken them two months to finally do it and I still don’t have digital photography online yet to put photos on. That means even though my staff can start designing layouts, they don’t have access to any of the digital photography students’ photos. I can’t help that problem but the other two problems I tried to solve by using Edmodo and

I introduced my yearbook students to so that they could share ideas and visual images with each other using an online social media learning system. It has become a resource bank of ideas for both of the classes to go to for getting them started designing. It has also been a place that I could post assignments, messages, links, and documents that I wanted to share into a digital library right into the Edmodo environment.

I decided to use an iMovie movie trailer to make a commercial about how my yearbook students used Edmodo in my classroom this fall as a part of my presentation of my final project that I will be giving on December 1 at Yokohama International School.

I also signed up my students for a one-month 5 course video tutorials using which allows educators to sign up students for a defined amount of time with limited access to up to 5 courses of the teacher’s choice for only $10 per student per month. This educational option of is called LyndaClassroom. This is what one of my student’s said about LyndaClassroom.

The LyndaClassroom tutorial has helped me a lot in understanding how to use Indesign and Photoshop, and as a beginner, it is really helpful because it summarizes the uses of each software, and how to use it. It is accessible at any time, and any place, so it is much nicer than actually going to school and spending only about 1 hour a day in class. ~Raina

Here is a link to the Google Drive document for my Unit 5 Course Planner based upon Backward by Design for Edmodo and LyndaClassroom.

Course 5 Understanding by Design Unit Planner Google Doc

Learning from our students

There is no greater compliment than when a student can show you something that they have learned, that you didn’t show them. One, because as an educator, you have humbled yourself enough that the student feels comfortable to share with you what they have learned, and two, you have established a learning environment of trust and respect. Only when these two elements are present, can a student be willing to share their knowledge. I had such an experience this past week and I was blessed for it.

Three weeks ago, I talked with one of my advanced digital photography students. One of the major projects assigned to two of the students who were taking an independent study course, was to photograph each senior from a head to toe shot against a chroma-key background in order to use it in the senior section of the yearbook. As I talked with Rachael, she expressed her concern with how to find the time to get 49 seniors to schedule a time to be able to shoot each senior portrait. She is in volleyball and has sports practice every day after school and soon would be leaving for the Far East tournament. As I was talking with her, I asked her if I should ask the Campusfoto International photographer that would be coming in a few weeks, if that photographer could take all the photos instead. It would mean, the two students would need to find a different project, but might make this assignment more manageable. So I emailed the owner of Campusfoto International, Tim Murray, and asked if his photographer could be able to shoot these portraits after all the retake photos were taken on Oct. 29.

To my surprise, Mr. Murray said that he was planning on coming himself to take our retake photos and that he would be more than happy to try to work with me in getting the senior portraits done. He doesn’t usually shoot head to toe shots and wouldn’t be bringing his largest green screen, so we would need to provide something that could work. He also said that if I had a couple of students who would like to learn from him about lighting techniques and how to shoot against chroma-key backgrounds that he would let them take the photos and he would just assist. That made my two students delighted to be a part of this professional level photo shoot using his equipment and expertise in the business.

The day came and everything went according to plan. We scheduled every senior, one minute per senior, with only two shots each. Each senior was on time and we didn’t have to run around and pull anyone out of class. Every teacher had been informed of it before hand, and as the student finished, the student was sent back to class, so there was very little disruption to the teacher’s class time. Mr. Murray gave me the digital memory card and I downloaded all of the photos to my computer. Then the difficult task of removing the background would begin.

Rachael came back to the classroom and asked how I would remove the green screen from the photos. I told her that I wasn’t exactly positive about what the best approach would be, but I demonstrated how I would first go about it. However, there was one photo that we really liked where a girl had thrown her head back and her hair went flying straight up into the air. We decided we wanted to use that shot, but we were all worried about how to get rid of the green screen from the fine strands of her hair.

The next day, my advanced digital photography student, Rachael, came to me and brought her laptop computer. She told me that she found a tutorial on that described how to get background removed even from fine strands of hair. We watched it together and I had to agree with her that this looked like the best method. I tried it out and it worked. It worked so well, that I totally changed my workflow in how to remove the green screen from all the other photos. It was fast and much more efficient and accurate than any method that I had previously used.

I was so proud of my student for being able to apply something that she had learned from the video tutorials that the school had paid for from And the fact that she felt comfortable enough with me to share her knowledge. We both benefited from this experience and I felt really proud of my student for sharing her knowledge with me.

AEE September 2012: “Flipped Teaching”, the Language of Design


One day in September I received an email from the Adobe Education Exchange in which I have an RSS feed to and I read the following:

Learn how one teacher is using the “flipped” teaching method to teach Adobe software as a way of utilizing class time to work on projects. This method enables communication between students and teachers during projects and allows everyone in the classroom to contribute.

via AEE September 2012: “Flipped Teaching”, the Language of Design, and more 

The topic peaked my interest so I clicked on the link to read the article. After reading the article, it shocked me into saying out loud to myself, “I could have written that.” The article so closely parallelled my teaching experiences that I felt like that I could have written it.

With only ten students in my yearbook journalism class this year, and only one with previous experience, I knew this was going to be a challenging year. Not to mention the two split period classes with seven students in one class and three more in the following period after lunch. I knew I had to be creative in getting the students up and running with everything that they would need to know in as little time as possible. That is when I started looking into the possibility of having my students enroll into I have been a member of this software video tutorial site for about three years now and I am hooked. I knew that this was the best place to give online video training on the Adobe Creative Suite applications. I need my students to know how to use Adobe InDesign for layouts and also how to edit photos before importing them into the layouts using Adobe Photoshop. has a a LyndaClassroom that allows educators to sign up students for a defined length of time with up to only 5 video tutorial titles for about $10 per month per student.

I wrote up a proposal to give to my high school principal and had titled it “flipped classroom,” but got denied at first because my idea of using an expert didn’t fit the administration’s idea of “flipped classroom.” Some people believe that you have to make your own screen casts in order to it to be called a “flipped classroom,” but I don’t believe that to be the case. I believe it is important to direct your students to the best “experts” and maybe that isn’t you. Yes, I have been using Adobe products for over ten years, but I may not be the best person to teach it. Fortunately after I explained in person my logic behind wanting to enroll my yearbook students in these courses, it got approved for a one month basis. It also got approved for two of my advanced digital photography students who wanted to do an independent study course but had no curriculum to follow. By having them choose five courses from, I enrolled them for four months into these five classes. They now have a specific course guide to help them learn advanced photography and photo editing techniques.

I had wanted my yearbook students to learn the software at home and then use the class time to get started on their layouts. However another obstacle occurred this year when our tech guys decided they wanted to move all of our yearbook and digital photography files to a new server and it has taken them two months to do it. Finally at the end of October the yearbook files got moved, but I am still waiting for the digital photography volume to get moved. Hence the digital photography students haven’t put any of their photos in a place that the yearbook students can get to them yet. So as a result, students have been watching their video tutorials in class more than they have been outside of class. At least I had something that they could do to keep learning how to use the software, while the server finally became available to set up the documents and create folders for the work to finally begin.

It has been a difficult start, but I am very grateful that my students have had this opportunity to be enrolled into Maybe when they graduate, they may become hooked on them like I am.

Sharing ideas and collaborating outside the classroom


At the beginning of this school year, I found myself to be in a very awkward position. I didn’t have enough students in video class to keep the class, and not enough students in the yearbook class to produce a yearbook. I convinced the two students who first wanted to be in the video class to join the yearbook class, however that meant there would be two different class periods for yearbook. This produced another dilemma. How could I keep the communication a collaboration going between two different class periods in creating a 176-page yearbook?

I had been reading online about a classroom management system called Edmodo. I decided to create an Edmodo online classroom to promote collaboration and the exchange of ideas between the two groups. Later as my class numbers grew to seven students in the 5th period class and three students in the 6th period class, this Edmodo class helped me to remember what had been discussed in the previous class, so that the students in the next period would be on the same page, so to speak with the other students. Students could then read the reflections from the other students to understand what had been discussed in the other class section.

This became very helpful at the beginning when we were trying to think of a theme for this year’s yearbook. Different students would think of an idea and post it online in Edmodo. Others then had the chance to comment and add their opinions or expand upon them. I also liked the ability to link information in Edmodo. I started to collect the resources that I usually use to teach from and added them to the library in Edmodo for easy access for my students. Then I could just assign some reading and they could get access to the documents that I had posted either as a post or from the library. I started conversations with notes, and soon other students were starting conversations themselves, and replying. I also tried the assignment method in Edmodo, but the only problem with that was I was the only one who could read the responses, and after reading the responses, it made me wish I had posted the question as a post so that everyone could read the responses. In assignments, only the teacher can read the responses. So it is only used for assessment purposes and not for sharing.  I also tried the quiz and poll features in Edmodo and found it very easy to use.

I was the first teacher in my school to enroll a class in Edmodo. I told my technology coordinator about it, so when a teacher came to him thinking about using Moodle, he directed the teacher to talk to me about using Edmodo instead. As a home economics teacher, she started using Edmodo and liked how she was getting her students to reflect and share recipes and respond to her in a way that they never did in class. She then talked about it with the art teacher, and I heard that she started an Edmodo class too. Suddenly we had three teachers in our school using Edmodo during the first month of school.

Now that my students have started to work on their actual layouts in Adobe InDesign, we have used Edmodo less and less, but it really became important during the first planning stages of our book. I still have a few students post ideas whenever they find something. It has become a resource online site for my class to post ideas as they find them and to share with their peers. Because what you find on a Friday, will be forgotten on Monday, unless you post it.

Do educators have the time to teach keyboarding?

As technology has been pushed from the skills instruction method from a computer class to the curriculum integration model into a classroom, keyboard instruction has also been abandoned from education as a result. However the need for students to be more efficient in producing work on a computer efficiently has become increasingly more important with the move toward one-to-one computing. Until voice recognition software and hardware becomes perfected to the point where touch keyboarding is no longer necessary, keyboarding instruction should be taught as an important part of the curriculum.

Teaching keyboarding techniques are as important as teaching someone how to play the piano. If a person wants to learn to play the piano, do we just say, “just start banging on the keys and eventually you will get better?” No, of course not. You sign up your child for piano lessons with an experienced teacher. There are fingering techniques involved and memorizing the notes and learning to read music that a beginner must be able to achieve before a person can play a song without looking at the music or even begin to write their own song. So why is it so difficult for administrator’s to value the importance of teaching keyboarding in school?

Lately I have noticed an increase in elementary students who use the hunt-n-peck method. Teachers are expecting their students to type up their reports from their handwritten paragraphs to turn in for an assignment. I worry about the frustration and depression levels of elementary students who find this type of task tedious and insurmountable due to their inability to touch type without looking down at their hands every two seconds. Many students have developed bad keyboarding habits that are difficult if not impossible to break by the time they are in fourth or fifth grade. Teaching students to read is a skill that students need to know for every subject. Teaching keyboarding is just another important skill like reading that students will also use for every subject, but time and specific instruction is often not provided.

I decided to try to find some research on keyboarding to find out from those who are more knowledgeable on the subject. I found two very interesting articles. One is called, Keyboarding Research & Resources, and the other is Typewriting/Keyboarding instruction in Elementary Schools. Both of these articles articulate my thoughts on the importance of teaching keyboarding techniques, with less emphasis on accuracy and speed in the early elementary years. Research suggests that students as young as second grade can be taught keyboarding, but the emphasis should not be on accuracy and speed, but rather on the techniques necessary for promoting good keyboarding skills. There is research on why a student should repeatedly practice typing only the home row keys until those keys become almost a reflex.

“The real key to keyboarding is technique, and the theory for this pedagogy is in the realm of teachers certified to teach the subject.”Many teachers think it takes nothing to teach keyboarding,” Cruzan noted, “but they are wrong. Can anyone teach a science or math course? Its the same with keyboarding. Keyboarding is an important psychomotor skill that all students need to learn, but that fact is not being recognized. You have no idea how hard it is to untrain students coming to us at the high school level with poor technique. As a result, many students will never be good at composing straight to the computer because they cant take their eyes off the keyboard and keep them on the monitor or text! I understand that in some states, vocational certification is changing to K-12. That is a very good thing!”

via Education World: Teaching Keyboarding: More Than Just Typing.

After reading several articles on this subject, I have decided to start a “keyboarding club” that I will offer after school. If I can help elementary students be able to keyboarding without using the hunt-and-peck method, then I can feel like I have achieved something very worthwhile.

Evernote, Skitch, and Redefinition using SAMR Model

As a final project for my last course in my COETAIL@YIS, I was asked to integrate technology into my classroom at the transformational level either using SAMR or TPACK models. I understand the simplicity of the SAMR model better. According to the NSW Department of Education,

S A M R provides a framework to answer the question of what types of technology use would have greater or lesser effects upon student learning. The name comes from the four levels of technology use that could be related directly to results in terms of what happened on the student side. S A M R was created by Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura’s in the early 90s .

  • Substitution – Technology acts as a direct tool substitute with no functional improvement
  • Augmentation – Technology acts as a direct tool substitute with functional improvement
  • Modification – Technology allows for significant task redesign
  • Redefinition – Tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable”


At the beginning of the school year, I had a personal goal in mind. I wanted to learn how to use Edmodo, Evernote, and Diigo and to eventually introduce these new technologies to my high school students.

I have been using Evernote for about a year, but probably not very effectively and I have not introduced it to my students. I’m still trying to get better with it first. But recently I was  so surprised with how easily I used Skitch in connection with Evernote. I wanted to find some sample fonts and send screen capture shots to my daughter for her approval for her website. I first logged into my Evernote account and then opened the Skitch application on my computer. Once I located a font that I liked I switch to Skitch and chose the snap button and I was able to crop just the image of the font that I wanted. Then I clicked on the Elephant icon at the top that symbolizes Evernote and I was able to set up a new notebook for all of my images to go to from Skitch to Evernote. Once I had a collection of images, I sent all of the images by email from Evernote. It was so easy. I was amazed at the ease of use without any training, I was intuitively able to figure out what to do. I really recommend both of these two apps for your Mac.

Website on the ease of use between Skitch and Evernote

Now I want to use this same technology in my classroom. It is time to start looking for fonts from font foundries that are online, to purchase for this year’s yearbook. I thought I could first make sure my tech guys are okay with installing the two free apps for Mac, Skitch and Evernote to the computers that are in my classroom. Then I want my students to sign up for an Evernote account. Then I want them to start looking for fonts and sharing them in Evernote. I then want them to set up a folder in Evernote that can be shared by everyone in the class to see. It may mean the screen shots first go into Evernote and then they need to be dragged into a notebook that is shared by the whole group.

I am really excited about redefining my classroom using technology. Sharing ideas that students find online has never been easier than now with new technologies at our finger tips. We just need to know which ones are good and a little experience with them ourselves so that as educators we can see the value of introducing it to our students as new ways for them to learn to become more productive learners, assist them in organizing their thoughts, and help find ways for them to share their ideas with others collaboratively.

Course 4 Final Project: VoiceThread Yearbook Journalism Unit

Every year I struggle with trying to get my students to use three levels of reader’s entry into a layout spread in a yearbook page. Examples of reader’s entry would be the main narrative story, the captions, and the third is alternative copy. Alternative copy seems to be the hardest for my students to grasp, but is actually one of the most important components in today’s most popular magazines. People don’t like to read long lengthly articles, rather they like Q&A, info graphics, charts, and stats that keep them longer on the page reading more information than they had originally intended.

In order to try to encourage different types of alternative copy that can reinforce the theme of the yearbook for that year, I decided to try having students find examples of alternative copy that they found interesting and try to think of how it could be used in a yearbook setting around a specific theme idea, as a part of developing a theme.

This is my final project unit lesson plan for course four that allows students to use VoiceThread to create a portfolio of design concept ideas, beginning with alternative copy and hopefully add more topics before actually beginning on layout designs.

Is “Tech Break” an oxymoron?

When I first saw this term, I expected it to mean resting from working on a computer or a mobile device, but I was surprised that it meant allowing time for students to take a break from their homework or class work to check their social networking accounts, email, twitter, instant messaging, video game, YouTube or any other distraction that would keep a student from focusing on their school work.


Psychologist Dr. Larry Rosen, a professor at California State University-Dominguez Hills recommends for children who spend 30 minutes on homework, to have 15 minutes of a tech break, then study again. The only thing in the article, “How a “tech break” can help students refocus,” that I can agree with is the statement Rosen argues:

that all our tech gadgets and applications are turning us into basket-cases suffering from versions of obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit syndrome.

I personally don’t believe that interrupting students at regular intervals from their homework to encourage their engagement into their favorite distracting behavioral apps is going to help.

I do agree however, if someone is thinking about, “Oh, I need to email someone about something specifically.” Then yes, stopping for a moment to get the distraction fulfilled so that the student can refocus back into their work, can be helpful. That is why, my students know they can ask my permission to do so, if they can give me a logical reason and then do it quickly.

In a sense I guess I do allow “tech breaks,” but not based on a timed clock but rather when a need arises. Because my students know that I am reasonable, they don’t take advantage of this by doing it in secret and hoping that they don’t get caught. I would rather have a student be responsible in their computer usage and then just ask when an exception needs to be made.

Using technology and teaching students how to use technology is my job. However, I think it is also my job to help students find a balance so that they don’t become addicted to using technology. Taking a break from technology, by taking a walk, having a conversation with friends or playing a sport is vital to establishing a balanced life.