Showing posts with label Best Practices. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Best Practices. Show all posts

Thursday, April 29, 2021

What is Hotlinking? - Why You Should Avoid It

This morning I had a chat with a colleague who was having a little issue with his website not displaying the images that he was inserting into blog posts. The problem was that he was trying to insert images via URL instead of uploading images to host on his blog. In short, he was hotlinking images. Explaining that process to him reminded me of the following information that I wrote for a course about blogging that I used to teach.  

What is hotlinking?

Why you and your students should avoid hotlinking.
Hotlinking itself isn't bad if you're only linking to images that you own and control online. For example, let's say that you have a Flickr account to which you upload dozens of pictures that you took. You could use the embed code or the link that Flickr provides to post your images in your blog post.

When hotlinking causes trouble is when you link to another person's image hosted in their account or on their servers. Even if the image is in the public domain you probably don't want to hotlink to it. In fact some services will block attempts at hotlinking. They block hotlinking because when you hotlink you're using more of their bandwidth than if you simply downloaded the image to your computer then uploaded it to your blog.

The biggest concern about hotlinking is not knowing exactly who or what you're linking to. It is possible that the image you linked to and the image displayed could be changed without warning. It's also possible that the link a student inserts to hotlink links back to site or host laden with malware that could then rain down havoc on your blog.
Click image for full size.

Best practices for using images in blog posts.
  1. Always try to use images that you own and upload to your blog. 
  2. If you don't own a suitable image then look for images in the public domain. Pixabay and Unsplash are good places to look for images that are either in the public domain. Download the image and upload to your blog. 
  3. If you cannot find a suitable image in the public domain then look for images that have Creative Commons licenses attached to them. The Creative Commons Chrome extension makes that fairly easy to do (here's my video about how it works). Download the image, upload it to your blog, give proper attribution to the owner of the image. 
  4. If items 1, 2, and 3 above didn't provide you with a suitable image then you can attempt to use an image under Fair Use guidelines. Fair Use is a murky water so Fair Use should be your last resort. If 1, 2, and 3 failed to produce a suitable image, repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 until you find a suitable image.

This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, TodayHeadline, and 711Web. Annotated screenshots created by Richard Byrne.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Collaborative Computing vs One to One

This is a guest post from Tracy Dabbs, Coordinator of Technology and Innovation for the Burlington-Edison School District.

I have been supporting Ed-Tech in classrooms for nearly 15 years and during this time we have all experienced some big changes in tools and ideas. There is always some new learning design that promises to transform education and be THE solution to reach all students. One trend that seems to keep surfacing is the idea of one to one computing. What do we see in these learning spaces? We see individual students with faces in screens for extended periods of time. Okay, I love educational technology and this is literally my life’s work, but I cannot explain how disappointing it is for me to see these type of experiences going on in our classrooms.

Engaging learning is not about faces in screens. I know we talk about making sure that everyone has access, but that doesn’t need to mean constant access or one to one access. If it is not that...then what is it?

It is all about focusing on the learning we want students to experience. We must think about what we want our students to engage in with us. There are some wonderful supports out there, ISTE has their new student standards and others like NPDL have explored the Six C’s to focus on necessary 21st Century skills. These standards and progressions ask us to think about developing skills beyond the devices. Skills that will continue to move us forward no matter how the devices change in the future. We should be constantly finding ways for students to collaborate in our classrooms; instead of working in isolation behind their own screen. Collaboration is more than adding comments or feedback electronically to a peer. Students need to be working in groups to discuss, engage, question, and work to select devices when needed...together. If you challenge your students to work on devices together, think of the higher levels of communication, collaboration, character, creativity, critical thinking, and citizenship that your students will experience.

Imagine each task you ask your students to engage in: post to Google Classroom, watch a YouTube video, engage in work on a website...what if you asked them to work with another student? How could that transform what they do and how they learn? I know...having students share devices all the time is not ideal either, but can we find a better balance? Can we honestly think about our one-to-one activities and ask ourselves if that is really the learning we want? I have worked with many districts that focus all of their technology dollars on one-to-one and not one cent on supporting and training their teachers...think about that balance.

Please check out some supports that I have put in place for our teachers and some grounding documents that we use in our district to guide our decisions. We need to constantly ask ourselves: What learning experiences do we really want for our students and ourselves?

Author's bio:
Tracy Dabbs, Coordinator of Technology and Innovation for the Burlington-Edison School District: I hold a degree in Elementary Ed K-8, a SPED degree for K-12, a Masters in Educational Technology, and a Principal Certification. After a wonderful ten years teaching 1st and 2nd grade, I moved into a full time technology coach position. Now I am the district coordinator of Technology and Innovation were I develop staff development and support, lead the selection and roll-out of devices and infrastructure upgrades district-wide.

Twitter: @TracyDabbs

Friday, February 10, 2012

Teaching Channel - Best Practice Videos and Lessons

Teaching Channel is a collection of videos of teachers demonstrating their best practices. The videos are categorized according to grade level, subject, and topic. You will find examples of classroom management techniques and examples of teachers carrying out their best lesson plans. The lesson plan videos are accompanied by documents  detailing the lessons. The classroom management videos are accompanied by tip sheets.

If you register on the Teaching Channel website you can download videos, take and save notes on each video, and take advantage of a lesson planning tool to organize your lessons.

Applications for Education
Teaching Channel could be a good place for pre-service teachers to see some good modeling of instructional methods. If you're a veteran teacher looking for some new ideas about how to teach a particular topic, the Teaching Channel could have what you need.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Talking Blogging With Sue Waters from Edublogs

Tomorrow at 12:30pm (Mountain Time) Sue Waters from Edublogs and I will be hosting an ISTE Unplugged session. The topic of the session is best practices for blogging. We intend the session to be primarily a question and answer session. The session will be streamed live via Elluminate. (Click here and scroll to the bottom to find the Elluminate link tomorrow, the Elluminate link isn't live yet). It does not cost anything to attend online. If you're here at ISTE 2010 please come on down and join us.

If you have questions for Sue and I about blogging, please join us in the Elluminate session. If you like, you can submit your questions ahead of time through the Google form embedded below.

Update: We already have questions coming in. So far the questions are mainly about student blogging, which is great. I just want to clarify that we're also more than willing to answer questions about general blogging issues such as comment moderation, post length, finding your voice, etc.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bill Gates Talks About Education

Through Kristen Swanson's Trail Blazer's wiki, I discovered this interesting TED Talk (they're all interesting) in which Bill Gates discusses mosquitoes, malaria, and education. The education part of his talk (the last eight minutes) presents some interesting fodder for conversation. One of the statistics that I found interesting was that obtaining a Master's degree in education does n0t significantly improve a teacher's effectiveness. In response to that statistic, Gates points to teachers reflecting on their practices and sharing their best practices with others. To encourage honest reflection on classroom practices, Gates advocates for video cameras in the classroom. While you may not agree with everything that Gates proposes in this talk, it will definitely make you think about what does and doesn't work in education. The talk is embedded below.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Doing What Works: Research-Based Education
TED Talk: 3 Ways the Brain Creates Meaning
Ten Trends to Affect Teaching in the Future (and now)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Share Your Advice Contest Winner

32 entries were submitted for the Share Your Advice - Win a Book contest. Voting for your favorite tip closed yesterday and the winner with more than twice as many as the next tipster is.... Dr. Christophy! Dr. Christophy, please email me at richardbyrne (at) to claim your free copy of The Best of Learning & Leading with Technology: Selections from Volumes 31-35

Dr. Christophy submitted this tip:
"Don't use technology for the sake of using technology. Pick something where the technology enhances learning. If it can be done better with pencil and paper, do it with pencil and paper."

Thank you to everyone that shared their advice with all of us. I know that I picked up some gems that I can use and I hope that everyone else did too. Later today, by popular request, I will post all of the tips in an easy-to-access format.

Thanks to Jennifer Roland for the opportunity to give away a copy of this book.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Code of Best Practices... Media Literacy Education

Fair use practices with regard to using copyrighted materials in the classroom can be a complicated and confusing topic for educators. The Center for Social Media at American University has published a document, The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education, to guide teachers and provide clarity about the use of copyrighted materials in the classroom. The document is twenty pages long and can be downloaded here or you can read a summary of it on the Center for Social Media's website.

The video below is an introduction to the document.