STAK Activity

Follow the Picture

This activity helps students verify the origins of digital images and critically assess their appropriateness as a learning object.

INTRODUCTION

It is increasingly easy to manipulate and distribute images. As a result, students need to be able to check whether an image has been manipulated or taken out of context to make their own judgments about the validity of the source and to avoid passing on false stories themselves. This activity provides students with tools to verify the origin of an image and track where it appears on the web. In so doing, it helps students develop their digital competencies in critically assessing the origins of an image and using online tools for exposing metadata and tracking online history. 

LEARNING OUTCOMES

On completion of this activity, students will: 

  • Know that all images contain metadata and what that data is.  
  • Be able to use tools to verify the origin and view the metadata of digital images. 

HOW TO DELIVER THIS ACTIVITY

This activity provides students with tools to check image metadata and where that image appears on the internet. 

BEFORE THE ACTIVITY  

Give presentations on copyright, image manipulation, and integrityThere are some suggestions below under ‘Educator Preparation.’ 

THE ACTIVITY: STEP BY STEP

Task 1
Step 1
Ask students to find a picture that has gone viral. An example would be some of these here, but it is a good idea to ask the students to find something topical themselves. They can use Google Image Search and search for viral photos, or they can choose one from their Facebook or Instagram feeds.
Task 1
Step 2
Having selected an image, ask students to track its history using Google Images Search and Tineye. Ask students to record how many places has it been shown, on what platforms, and whether it has been manipulated. All this information can be found using these tools (see how here for Google; TinEye works in a similar way).
Step 3
Facilitate a group discussion on the challenges of articles that do not use original images and instead use images that originated elsewhere. A possible question to pose is: How does your perception of a webpage/article’s credibility change if images are used out of context?
Task 2
Step 1
Provide students with a digital image file with EXIF data, click here for an example. This file can be downloaded in different formats: use the original file as compressed versions will lose the relevant metadata.
Task 2
Step 2
Ask students to use Verexif.com or this Image Metadata Viewer to find out where that photo was taken. Upload the downloaded image to the page to reveal the metadata of the image by entering coordinates, date, camera settings, etc.
After the activity
After the activity, bring the conversation back to the issue of copyright when using visual material in assignments.

EDUCATOR TO-DO

  • Get to know the tools used in the tasks.  
  • Find online images suitable for the exercise. They must be manipulated and appear in many contexts (found by searching for viral images).
  • Familiarise yourself with your institutions rules on applicable copyright and the use of visual materials in academic work.
  • Find an image with geodata – also called EXIF. These can be hard to find on Google, but Flickr includes images with EXIF metadata. 

MATERIALS REQUIRED

Verexif: https://www.verexif.com/en/  
TinEye: https://tineye.com  
Google Images: https://images.google.com  
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/ 

DESIGNED BY

KEA Library, Denmark, together with information specialists and students.

ABOUT

  • Educator prep: Moderate
  • Duration: > 5 mins

This activity is one of a series of activities from the STAK Project, focused on developing students' digital skills. 

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