Recently, a few of my students began to ask for additional pictures that they couldn't find after scanning and searching through the images available for them to use on the writing feature of Big Universe. It wasn't that there weren't an ample supply of images to choose from (there are over 7,000!), but the students had issues finding pictures that fit their story exactly. Call it being picky, or call it being creative, regardless it was a problem the students had that was worth solving with them.
Solutions We Devised:
1. Have the students create a drawing of the image they were seeking and scan it into the computer. Then, the students could upload the picture onto the Big Universe site and directly into their book. This feature is located in the writing section of the site, and is an option when students are creating a book.
2. Have the students create a digital image on the computer using a program such as Pixie. Then, the students can save this project as a PDF and upload the image into their Big Universe book using the same feature that was described above.
3. Encourage students to take actual digital pictures to upload into their Big Universe book. With this option, it is important for students to understand internet safety. I always advise my students not to place their own faces, or the faces of their peers into these photos since they can be viewed by others once their book is published. Big Universe is a highly secure site, and students are not able to be identified or "found" by other users. Therefore, this safety feature isn't as necessary as it is on other sites. However, I always try to be consistent in my safety messages in hopes that students think before posting personal information to the internet.
I hope these ideas will help others who are faced with the challenge of illustrating their Big Universe student books. This site is excellent in getting students to use creativity and writing skills! Enjoy!