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Sometimes called ‘digital assets’, they are files that you can download, save or manipulate on your computer. This gives you enormous flexibility over how and where you use them.
In the 80s and 90s, these might have been clipart. However, with broadband internet connections, you now have almost instant access to huge numbers of pictures, movies, animations, old TV programmes, classic radio programmes and much more.
a. You can use a raw file as part of your teaching – directly in a lesson. Simply download it onto your computer and play it back in the lesson. You might use it, as
b. You can also edit movies and sound files into shorter sequences using Windows Movie Maker, QuickTime Pro or iMovie. This allows you to focus on just the part that you would like to use (without getting tangled up with fast forward and reverse keys).
c. Put together sequences of photographs using Photo Story (a free download) or iPhoto and iMovie.
d. Get your students to edit and reassemble movie clips, images and audio files into digital stories and reports. They can combine movies, images, add music and record their own voice-overs. This is much more fun than a PowerPoint presentation (to make and to watch).
You will need to make sure that you are allowed to use any movies, sounds and images that you get from the web or other source. This is especially true if you or your students intend to use it in work that will be published on a website or blog. Unless otherwise stated, you should assume any images, sounds and movies on the internet are under copyright and should not be reused unless you know your use is permitted.
Resources that are genuinely ‘copyright free’ are rare. Somebody has created them and therefore they generally own the copyright. Materials become ‘public domain’ once the creator/author has been dead for a period of time, usually 70 years, though it can vary according to the type of media.
However, you may be licensed under an existing licence you hold to use some digital materials for educational purposes. Many digital publishers have opted in to the Copyright Licencing Association (CLA) schools’ licence, so that if you hold this licence, you may use their materials under the terms of the licence. A list of these publishers can be found here:
See also the links below to the websites where you can find out more about what you can and cannot do, with regards to copyright.
More and more materials are being licensed under ‘Creative Commons.’ This allows the copyright holder to specify that certain uses are allowed, and these frequently include educational purposes. The copyright holder might specify, for example, that you can use the materials for non-profit making purposes as long as the author is credited. Usually materials that have a creative commons licence include information about the allowed uses and state that the resource has (cc) Some Rights Reserved as opposed to © All Rights Reserved.
Even when a digital asset is copyright free, it is good form to acknowledge the source.
It is easy to find images through the Google Image search but be aware the majority of images it finds will be under copyright and you are not permitted to download and use them. Also be aware that general search engines can sometime display inappropriate images, even when ‘innocent’ search terms have been used. Therefore when looking for images to use in class you should use a source of royalty-free ‘safe’ images. You should always read the terms and conditions of any site you use for images to make sure your use does not infringe their terms.
Examples of sites that provide royalty-free images for education use are:
You should always read the terms and conditions of any site you use for sounds to make sure your use does not infringe their terms.
There is a wide range of free software available to either download and install, or run online through a web browser. The Hertfordshire ICT Team can deliver sessions in your school taking you through dozens of the free programs, web tools and media resources that are being used in schools. Contact Chris Carter for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some old favourites include:
Audacity: An open source sound recording and editing program. You can layer your sounds and create simple or complex recordings. Great for podcasting, MFL, music, literacy and more.
LibreOffice: A fully fledged office suite, including word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing program and more.
Photostory 3 for Windows XP: Create digital stories using your photos. Add sound, text, transition effects and music to create your finished masterpiece. Very simple to use.
Irfanview: A tool for simple photo editing and management tasks. Very useful if you have a lot of digital photographs. Crop, rotate, print, rename, convert, effects and much more.
Pivot Stick Figure Animator: A great introduction to on-screen stop-motion animation. You can make your own figures or use the stock stick figures, create your animation and save the finished work as an animated .gif file.