The Internet is full of websites that provide music and sound effects, but quite often using them in your own work would infringe copyright law. Thankfully, there are many sites that now provide audio files under a Creative Commons licence. You can use these freely (within the terms of the licence), as long as you credit the original source. Below is a sample of some of my favourite online resources:
dig.ccmixter is devoted to helping you find that great music, all of which is liberally licensed under a Creative Commons license so you already have permission to use this music in your video, podcast, school project, personal music player, or where ever… ccmixter claims to have over 1,000 tracks that already have permission to use in commercial projects for free.
The Freeplay Music Library, is a comprehensive collection of High End Broadcast production music spanning several popular musical genres. Music can be searched for by style, feel or even using a keyword search. Although the content on freeplaymusic is not licensed under Creative Commons, according to the sites terms and conditions, freeplaymusic.com allows "free" use of its music for student educational use for in-classroom projects (on school grounds only). If however, the projects are then broadcast or distributed e.g. in a podcast, youtube video etc., a paid license is required.
freesound.org is an online database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds. As with any free, online archive, the quality of sounds and recordings can vary however, you will find a large collection of high quality sounds which you can use in your projects. You will need to register to download clips from freesound however, registration is free.
SoundBible.com offers thousands of free sound effects and sound clips. These sounds can be used in a variety of sound projects including Video Sound Scores, Movie Scoring, Game Design, Powerpoint Presentations, Sound Boards etc. Note: The Royalty Free Sounds can be used for commercial uses. The free sounds can only if they are under the Creative Commons Attribution, or Public Domain License, so please check the license before use.
With a wealth of free education resources available online, you may find it difficult to know where to start. Here is a list of my 10 favourite Web 2.0 tools to get you started:
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Quizzes can be fun tools for engaging learners as well as assessing students learning. Thanks to an abundance of online tools, creating interactive quizzes has never been easier and now anyone can create an interactive quiz which can be used with an Interactive Whiteboard, laptop or computer.
Flash based quiz creation tools
HTML quiz generators
Online Quiz Creation Tools
Apps for creating quizzes
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Having used wikis in education for a few years now and having been a huge advocate for their use in the classroom, I was both excited and intrigued when wikispaces announced an upgrade to their, already popular, online wiki creation tool for educators - “Wikispaces Classroom”
What is a wiki?
A wiki allows groups of people to collaboratively develop websites with no prior knowledge or experience of website design.
How can wikis be used in the classroom?
Wikis are great places for students to collaborate on projects and are particularly suited to Project Based Learning (PBL).
Examples of classroom use include:
What is the Educational value of Wikis?
Wikis encourage group social interaction and collaboration and support learning beyond the limits of the classroom and classroom activities.
How is Wikispaces Classroom different?
Wikispaces Classroom builds on the collaborative editing features of a wiki but includes some additional functionality to support classroom use, features such as social interaction and formative assessment.
One of the most welcome additions to wikispaces is the ability to set up projects and assign teams (great for PBL). Students can be assigned to teams by either dragging and dropping them to a pre-defined team or by uploading them via a .csv file. Students can also be assigned to a team using the built in random tool. Once assigned to a team, each student will have their own space to work in.
Wikispaces Classroom allows you to create projects, define teams, assign students and manage them all through successful completion of their projects.
Another noteworthy addition is the ability to monitor students’ contributions using the built in formative assessment tool. Teachers can use the tool to monitor how often a student has read, edited or saved a page. At present, statistics are only limited to the last 30 minutes (update pending) however, over the space of a lesson, the tool can provide the teacher with an instant overview of each student’s contribution.
Wikispaces Classroom allows you to monitor student engagement in real-time
The final significant addition is the news feed option. With news feeds, wikispaces classroom provides a safe social networking environment for your classroom.
News feeds are great for starting discussions and socratic debates or just for introducing a new topic.
How to get started
Creating a classroom wiki is really easy however, before you start, you will first need to create a free education account. Visit http://www.wikispaces.com to get started.
With a wealth of apps available to help you with the day-to-day management of your classroom, here are just a few of my favourites to get you started:
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The improvements in Cloud storage and advancements in mobile technologies, coupled with the ever increasing expense of maintaining and upgrading existing ICT equipment, are persuading more and more educational establishments to investigate BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). With interest increasing in the potential of BYOD, a number of tools have begun to surface which claim to support BYOD in the classroom:
InfuseLearning - infuse learning.com - is a free online tool which turns any web enabled device into a classroom response tool. The tool allows teachers to send questions / quizzes out to students' devices in private virtual classrooms. InfuseLearning allows teachers to create tests and quizzes in a variety of formats. Students can reply to prompts and questions in the usual formats such as True/False, multiple choice and open ended text answer formats however, thanks to a unique feature of InfuseLearning, students can reply by creating drawings or diagrams on their web enabled device.
Edmodo - edmodo.com - is a FREE 'Social Networking' environment for students, partents and teachers. It provides a safe and easy way for your class to connect and collaborate, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices. In fact, many schools are ditching their VLE's in preference to edmodo.
Teachers and students can post messages, discuss topics, assign and grade work, create polls and quizzes, and use their web enabled device as a response / voting system.
Socrative - socrative.com - is a great AfL app which allows you to create interactive quizzes and surveys. Socrative allows you to choose form a range of surveys and quizzes including: Short Answer Questions, Multiple choice and True or False questions. The most recent version also allows you to add pictures to you questions.
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