Like other forms of information, the web offers an almost limitless number of pictures. Many of them, however, are not appropriate for use with students. It can also be difficult to figure out the legal use of images under the fair use provisions of US copyright law.
The sites in this list will help you find what you need. Most restrict their searches to images whose creators have offered their material for use under a Creative Commons license.
If you’re not familiar with Creative Commons, you should be. Much of the material released under these licenses can be used and reused under clearly stated conditions. Flickr has a good explanation of each license.
Before the list, a caution. It’s never a good idea to allow students to do unrestricted searches, for images or anything else, on the web. For younger children, teachers should download a collection of images for them to use. For older children, restrict them to one or two relatively safe search sites and, most importantly, teach them how to do an efficient and responsible search.
Flickr – This is, of course, a very popular site for sharing photographs. But many members allow their pictures to be used by anyone, including your students. Use the advanced search to look for Creative Commons licensed pictures. In that section, you can also make sure your search is set to SafeSearch and narrow the search by date.
Flickr Storm – While this site pretty much does the same as Flickr’s own search tool, Flickr Storm allows the user to set up a search and then save them for later reuse. The advanced search also allows searching for Creative Commons licensed pictures.
yotophoto – Use this site to search the web (including Flickr) for photographs licensed under Creative Commons and other open license systems (copyleft)
Wikipedia free image resources – This section of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia offers a short list of links to pages all over the world that offer royalty-free and Creative Commons licensed pictures in specific subject areas.
Pics4Learning – While the material in this collection of clip art and photographs from Tech4Learning are copyrighted under the traditional system, the creators of the material have released them for use by students in their class projects.
National Science Foundation multimedia gallery – The US government has a large collection of images and other media that can be used for almost any non commercial purpose. This site offers a search tool to find them, most of which are oriented around science topics.
Image Base – This collection of stock photography by professional photographers is licensed for anyone to use for non-commercial purposes. This material is more sophisticated and general than some other sites in this list
PD Photo – Another large collection of public domain, royalty free stock photographs.