Friday, September 22, 2017

School Graphics Resources Offer Safe, Legal Content for Educators and Students

Clipart image of children at their desks in a classroom
School days, school days are back again for another year.  Today marks the end of the second week of the new school term,  and the business of education is moving along as usual. Classrooms are abuzz with the energy of exuberant young students, full of questions and ready to learn. Shenanigans too abound, but for the most part youngsters and teens are settling in to the old routine.

Educators, tasked with the significant responsibility of nurturing young minds,  look for creative and innovative ways to inspire their students and motivate them to learn.  Teaching tools and lesson plans are important elements in achieving these goals. Resources such as TeachersPayTeachers give educators a chance to share some of their best with their peers. This offers variety and can stimulate when motivation is lost.

In our ever-changing, fast-paced world it takes an enthusiastic educator to make the quest for knowledge entertaining and appealing for the naive.  With creativity and ingenuity they have the ability to inject humour and fun into the work of gaining wisdom.

That the notion of what needs to be taught could be significantly different than in the past is sometimes difficult to get our heads around. It all happened so fast. Yet, for good or bad, the principle driver on this has of course been technology and the many advancements we've seen over the years.

Clipart image of a girl writing at a desk
Who would have believed that we would ever be told cursive writing isn't imperative any more? Who would have imagined there would be little need to lug around heavy textbooks any more, that lessons would be viewed on tablets in a classroom, that students could share information on course work without actually speaking to each other, let alone being in the same room?

In today's classrooms, computers are key. They provide access to many of the tools teachers need, the resources for both educators and students, as well as being an integral component of modern curriculum.  We might have lost cursive, but coding is at the top of the list of programs that have been added in many districts and boards.

Learning from, on and about computers, or using them as resources for other classroom activities and lessons are important facets of today's education. Part of this involves the use of graphics within the work created by teachers, as well as in the actual hands-on education of their charges.

A few years ago, a teacher friend proudly displayed the work of one of her most gifted students. I happened to notice that images used in the project were from iCLIPART.com and since they still contained the watermark, I questioned her on how they were obtained. Her reply was that her students simply search for images online and use whatever 'free' ones they can find.  Since I work in the online subscription graphics industry, I knew it was time we had a chat.

Clipart image of a boy at a computer in front of bookshelvesAllowing students to access 'free' images online is a dicey option. These sources can often lead to copyright issues and may contain viruses. Educators need to use, and promote, in their presentations and within their classrooms, safe, reliable clipart and photos, such as those you find in royalty-free subscription sites.

Vital Imagery Ltd., with its family of clipart websites, has taken the safety factor even further —  two resources exclusive to the education field. Images on  iCLIPART For Schools and Clipart.com School Edition have been stringently filtered to ensure content is child-friendly. In order to use images legally, one must become a member, but it's a small price to pay for setting a good example to young minds.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Colours of Autumn, Your Moods and Beautiful Images from iPHOTOS.com

Photo of beautiful autumn trees reflected in water
"Fall has always been my favourite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale." — Lauren DeStefano, Wither

Whether you look forward to its arrival or not, there's no question that when autumn's good it's very good,  its appeal found in the showy scenes it creates. When the leaves begin their dramatic transformation nobody wants to miss the performance.

With torrid temperatures finally showing up this month, after a bleak July and August, my husband and I, while at our summer retreat,  opted to turn our usual lakeshore strut into more of a stroll in order to give this splendid break our full appreciation.  The brilliance of the sunshine heated the crisp softness of the sand as cooling blue waters lapped at the shoreline's edge. A gentle breeze floating in off the lake soothed hot skin and eased our exertions. Which was a really good thing since, despite our leisurely pace, the unfamiliar heat of this September day made efforts less easy.

As the sun beat down upon us we decided to duck for cover on one of the shaded streets that lead to the water. This not only provided some relief; it also gave me time to fully take notice of the spectacle of summer's shift to autumn, from lush verdancy to a canopy of colour.

Having reflected on that in the days since, I decided to take it a step further here. Why not consider the beauty of autumn colours, how they make me feel, and what the experts say about them?  It would also be a great way as well to introduce a selection of terrific photographs from iPHOTOS.com.


Photo of a yellow autumn leaf background

This is one of my favourite colours. Yellow is to me a reflection of sunshine and joy. It uplifts me and inspires a feeling of optimism.  Various websites  that I found on the topic didn't disagree, but noted as well that too much yellow can have you feeling quite the opposite of mellow.  It can be overwhelming and is best used sparingly.


Photo of pumpkins

While I'm not exactly a fan of this brilliant hue in day-to-day living,  there's no denying it's  a lovely addition to autumn. I see something stimulating about the colour and believe it has energizing effects.  Experts agree saying it's an attention getter, a call to action that has a friendly energy.


Photos of red autumn leaves

I'm not sure I'd call it an aversion, but my acceptance of this colour depends a good deal on the particular shade I'm looking at. The gorgeous crimson of autumn leaves is as dramatic as the ranges of emotions this colour can inspire. Everything from anger and danger to passion and excitement are represented by the many shades of red. At least according to those who study this.

It might be the drab cousin of the autumn colour family but it's as much a part of it as the others.  Quite simply, while I rather like all tones of brown, I do find it makes me feel a little lazy.  It is, experts say, rather low on stimulation but generates feelings of security. 

Autumn is bittersweet, its brilliance captivating and energizing; its darkening days and cooling temperatures reminding that we have left the light of summer behind. We are ready to languish, to cocoon, yet, not prepared to give in completely just yet. In essence, I suppose, we might say that the colours of autumn reflect all that we feel at this time of year.