I’ve been known to agonize over the images I include in presentations or projects. I search around looking for the perfect photo that communicates exactly what I want to say. In the past, I’ve avoided Microsoft’s Online Clip Art site. The site was difficult to use and most of the content was not that usable. Some of the content was cartoonish and not really acceptable for a professional presentation or any sort of publication.
Over the summer, however, the Microsoft Clip Art website underwent some tremendous improvements. By partnering with companies like iStockphoto and Fotolia, the website now offers professional quality images that can be found and downloaded easily. While the old version of the Microsoft Online Clip Art site only allowed images to be downloaded into Microsoft’s Clip Art application, the new site allows users to download images directly to their hard drive. Rather than saving the files in some odd file type that is proprietary to Microsoft, all of the images are now downloaded as JPEGs, a common file type that can be opened by many applications. This allows the images to be used in a variety of projects, both online and in traditional print.
It is easy to forget that our students receive information through a variety of different channels. While it is important to select informative texts for our students and structure engaging classroom discussions, we also need to attend to the visual aspects of our lessons. Selecting relevant high quality images that correspond to the content of our lessons is one step in this process. The updated Microsoft Clip Art website has made the process of finding and downloading images a little easier.