The ease by which people can publish and share their creations on the Internet is creating a cornucopia of resources that are easily leveraged for learning. You and your students need to know how to find and use the best of those resources. At the same time, anyone who uses the work of others needs to be cognisant of copyright and intellectual property issues.
The Five R’s
There are several ways in which teachers and students tend to use resources. The advent of hyperlinking through Web pages and HTML, made it easy to point to the work of others, and sites like YouTube, TeacherTube and Google Maps provide embed code that can be copied and pasted into your Web page that makes the item magically appear or play. Many sites make it easy for you do download and use resources such as audio clips, images, video clips, animations, and simulations. Thus, the practices described by the Five R’s are becoming popular:
The relationship part of the Five R’s is particularly important and is promoted by blogs and wikis, and sites like Flickr, the “Tubes” and Slideshare, where community and “open” licensing of creations or content is common.
When you or your students are looking for resources, it is wrong to assume that just because you found it on the Internet it is free for you to use and redistribute any way you want. In fact, the assumption must be that the resource has all rights protected, meaning that you need permission to use the resource other than what is legally allowed by copyright law. There are some considerations for education in copyright law, but to be safe, you need to ask for permission from the owner before you apply any of the first four R’s.
Many of the more popular sites you will use to find resources allow creators to not only upload their work, but also license their work for reuse by others. A popular licensing scheme know as Creative Commons is often used by resource creators to allow others to use their work. You need to familiarize yourself with the different Creative Commons license categories before you use any CC licensed resource and you might also check out the Use and Remix page for more basic information.
Resources for finding media
Finding media that you can use and that your students can use to support learning can be a frustrating journey through temptation. If you start by limiting your searches for media that has already been licensed for your use then you will be modelling appropriate use for your students. This isn’t always that easy, but below are some good choices for different types of media. To a large extent, just as you search for specific types of content, your search for creative commons or otherwise permissible content will depend on the producers of this content having tagged it appropriately or having lodged it within a repository for this purpose. Google can do just as well on a large scale in searching for this type of material as separate searches in different repositories but you will be relying on Google’s interpretation of what the site is offering. If you want to be more specific you can tell Google to only return re-usable content.
Search for Creative Commons and other re-use permitted media on Google.
- Go to Google, select ‘Images’, and run your search.
- With your new search results displayed, go to the ‘Settings’ drop-down list and select ‘Advanced search’.
- On the Advanced search page scroll down to ‘usage rights:’ and select the Creative Commons license that reflects your needs.
- Click on ‘Advanced search’ to refresh your results.
Here are more specific sites that offer reusable media.
Flickr Advanced Search. Find Creative Commons licensed images on Flickr.
Public Domain Pictures
Morguefile.com – free photos, some restrictions
Stock.Xchng, royalty free stock images
Open Clip Art Library. Public domain clip art.
WikiMedia Commons provides public domain and re-use licensed graphics, audio and video.
FreeSound. Creative Commons licensed sounds.
Jamendo. Royalty free music.
Free Music Archive – Creative Commons.
Phlow Magazine. Creative Commons music.
Last.fm – Creative Commons.
CCmixter – Creative Commons – check restrictions.
Internet Archive. Free video, audio and text resources – check for restrictions.
OpenStreetMap. Open source, world-wide streetmaps.
Not open for reuse, but linkable and very cool
MaCaulay Libary. Archive of biodiversity audio and video.