Voice search, block unsafe images, and image attribution all added to Book Creator.
Finding good quality, safe and legal images on the Internet for use in the classroom is super important and we’ve made several improvements recently to Book Creator to make this easier for you and your students.
As with all of Book Creator we have made the image search fully accessible to screen readers and keyboard navigation. But we thought we could go a bit further with the image search and make it accessible to younger kids or ELL students who aren’t super confident with their spelling by introducing a voice search.
See it in action below ⤵️
It's simple, just click on the microphone icon when searching for an image and speak to perform a search. Not an English speaker? No problem, this will work in 120 languages (using your browser's language setting).
And it's not just for image search! Voice search now also works for maps 🗺
and for icons from the Noun Project 🖤
A safer search
We have entered into a partnership with Pixabay as the main search engine for images and photos in the app. Pixabay provides over 2 million high quality professional images and, most importantly, every one of these images is humanly reviewed to ensure it’s a great image, is free to use, and is not offensive.
If we can't find what you're looking for on Pixabay you'll get results from a Google Safe Search which indexes Unsplash, Pexels, Flickr, and Wikimedia. As always, these images are totally copyright free to use in your projects.
Previously we used the same image search built into Google Docs but unfortunately we would get occasional reports of images that were inappropriate for classroom use appearing in the search results. These new changes to Book Creator will make that much less likely now.
That said, we know images suitable for a high school project on World War II might not be appropriate for a Kindergarten class and we have now added instant image blocking into Book Creator, controlled by you, for your students needs.
You can now instantly block an image from appearing in any of your libraries, including for the students working in them. This will also flag the image to the Book Creator team. We will review it and potentially provide a system wide block so that all teachers can benefit.
We know that teaching good digital literacy means helping students understand copyright and attribution. We've made this even easier in Book Creator now as you can add attribution for any photos you've found in our image search.
Just click on the Inspector and then click the Add attribution to page link and it will add the relevant credit below your image. When you view the book in Read mode it will link to the original source for the image.
You can see this in action below.
Education thought leader Rushton Hurley was a big advocate for us adding this tool, and he was thrilled when we told him about it.
"Being able to help students get used to making real citations is a major step for getting them away from checking off boxes for what's required, and toward taking themselves seriously academically. Done well, a citation tool helps students understand the various ways we build off of each other's ideas - a critical skill for anyone ultimately pursuing higher education."Rushton Hurley
Dan Kemp is Tools for School’s Marketing & Community Manager. He spends his time spreading the word about Book Creator and supporting people who use it.