Useful links

  • Europeana 1914-1918 – Explore stories It is a treasure trove of unique sources for anyone interested in WWI. Timely with the 100th anniversary upon us. The site offers access to digitized films from the period, institutional cultural heritage and official records alongside thousands of stories shared by the general public, illustrated with digital images of objects, letters, personal diaries, photographs, and other items from the period of the First World War.
  • Teacher Resources for Learning about Copyright and Fair Use ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning  Post from Ed tech and Mobile Learning Blog. “It is important we teach our students to be good digital citizens. They need to understand how to properly credit sources and documents they grab from Internet, and it is not always straightforward. The University of Texas offers a course entitled “Copyright Crash Course” that outlines in a very clear and eloquent language the different things we all need to know about copyright.” Links are given to a few important sections.
  • Legendary Lands: Umberto Eco on the Greatest Maps of Imaginary Places and Why They Appeal to Us | Brain Pickings “Celebrated Italian novelist, philosopher, essayist, literary critic, and list-lover Umberto Eco has had a long fascination with the symbolic and the metaphorical, extending all the way back to his vintage semiotic children’s books. Half a century later, he revisits the mesmerism of the metaphorical and the symbolic in The Book of Legendary Lands (public library) — an illustrated voyage into history’s greatest imaginary places, with all their fanciful inhabitants and odd customs, on scales as large as the mythic continent Atlantis and as small as the fictional location of Sherlock Holmes’s apartment.
  • Inside The Most Interesting Man In The World’s Personal Library [31 Photos] | The Roosevelts  ” Jay Walker made a lot of money starting Priceline.com. He spent his money collecting. The collection, dubbed the Library of Human Imagination, has grown into something epic that rivals any museum on Earth. the 3,600 square foot, three story facility features multilevel tiers, “floating” platforms, connecting stairways, glass-paneled bridges, dynamic lighting and is bursting at the seams with artifacts of all types. A truly amazing collection that celebrates human endeavour and preserves it for future generations.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Free music for student projects now on YouTube

I have been trying to teach the students good digital behaviours. When students are trying to create multimedia presentation we remind them about Creative Commons licences. When shown where to find images, sounds, videos that are allowed to be used they are more than happy to do the right thing. There are many times our students are looking for sounds or, more often, music to put the final polish on their multimedia project. There are a few I put onto a list available via our school intranet and linked to the sites. I often have to remind the boys about these sites so I was very pleased to learn the other day that YouTube is now offering music through their YouTube Audio Library. It is not a comprehensive library at the moment with about 150 royalty-free instrumental tracks people can use for free, indefinitely but it is a good start and on a site/platform that many students are very familiar with.

AudioLibrary-YouTube

The music embedded in the YouTube Audio Library is music that you can download to use in projects both online and offline. You can search the library of music according to:

  • Genre – Some of the genres you can choose from include: Alternative & Punk, Classical music, Country & Folk, Hip Hop & Rap, Jazz & Blues, Pop, Reggae and Rock.
  • Mood – Students are often interested in finding music for mood. Some of the moods represented musically include angry, bright, calm, dark, funky, happy, inspirational, romantic,and sad.
  • Instrument – Allows you to search for music according to the instrument being played in it. These include: Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Drums, Electric Guitar, Organ, Piano, Strings, Synth and Trumpet
  • Duration – Where you can search for clips ranging from 1to 25 minutes

You can listen to the tracks before downloading them as MP3 files. To download any tune you click on the arrow pointing downwards put on the line that has the title. You can also click on the star button next to it to add the tune to your favourite list. It really is very easy to use. I look forward to sharing it with our students next term.

AudioLibrary-Mood-download

There is also an opportunity to have a look at the most popular hits that people have downloaded by using the favourites list.

Useful links

Creative Commons – teaching teachers

I sometimes forget that the terms/language I use may not be understood by other teachers. I have been talking to students for quite  a few years but did not really stop to think, or ask, whether or not the teachers were really listening as well. We have a page explaining CC and listing place to find CC resources on our website (and a copy on a wiki). The CC site and the  CC Australia site is are good resources. We show students how to find CC images even when using Google as well and the CC search page.  The last blog post I wrote about CC was last year after I talked about a tool  that you can use when choosing a license for work that you have created.

Today I was asked to explain what “Creative Commons” means by a colleague. After I explained it I thought that I had better put up a few more visuals to assist everyone in trying to understand the concept.

I have a few posters but I like this one as a starting point. It is very simple and so a good place to start.

Bibliographies and CC – what are we teaching and why?

I have been in a lot of classes lately working with students. We have been focusing on using CC licensed material and acknowledging the sources used in assignments/research by attaching bibliographies.

The whole idea that whilst being safe – which has been a focus of the school this year – is paramount there are other considerations. One of these considerations means that anyone using internet resources is required to deal with the work of others fairly.

The students here have a very highly developed interest in what is fair and in fair play.  So tapping into the idea of fairness that we worked on improving their understanding of what they can use in their own work and how they should attribute what they have used.

After looking at sites that offers CC licensed material they were surprised that they can even use the Google search tool to find appropriately licensed material. As always it is very gratifying to see them all happily using the CC images options once they went ahead with their work.

This was followed up with how they should be noting the references they use and writing appropriate bibliographies. We have always taught them how to include bibliographies (but only occasionally and in a few classes) with various levels of success.

This year we have again been going through the steps of where they go to find the information they need and then how to cite the materials.

In the past, once they leave that particular class, they have often forgotten a few things and, if they are not reminded by the teachers, not being sure of the right way,  they often just leave out the something that might be a bit more difficult to work out. This seems to be preferred that rather than try to cite it and get it wrong, they don’t cite it at all.

So this time we have spent just as long looking at the online citation tools. These are becoming easier to use and they make citing references very easy. I have had a few conversations with some teachers who seem to think that it is cheating to use these tools but what is the reason for a student bibliography? In our school it is supposed to simply be a list of sources the students have used to inform themselves about a topic. The bibliographies expected in subject assignments have never been an end in themselves. The fact that many times the students are not marked down for having anything more than Google listed in the bibliography seems to defeat the purpose of even asking for one. Some of the arguments seem to be made along the lines of “it was difficult/painful for me to do one so the current students should also suffer as I did”. Anyway getting past this has been useful and the students in year 7 ands 8 seem to have chosen bibme as their tools of choice and there seems to be a surge in longer bibliographies. The teachers also think that  now that the students find adding bibliographies easier, they will in some cases ask the boys to use the annotation option to indicate why and/or how each source was useful to them.

The seniors have been learning about the option of using the citation part of word. We are trying to teach them about using it as they take notes, even before they start their final document. A longer process this one I believe. I created a tutorial and then partly to have a go at some e-publishing tools I used the word document, saved as a PDF and uploaded it to make a Yudu document. I also tried creating another using the  SimpleBooklet tool. The Yudu doc is quicker to make from an already created document but to get the layout right you need to make it a PDF. The SimpleBooklet tool is probably almost more easy to use when you type directly into it.

To have a look, here are the links to my attempts.

The Simple booklet doc is here: 

or here:How to create your bibliography using Word

Click to view the full digital publication online
The Yudu Doc which was created first has a few things I must edit. I did this one on Friday afternoon and missed a few mistakes so I will replace it later this week ut the 1st edition is here: Read How to add citations and create a bibliography using Word
Publishing Software from YUDU

There is also a good video tutorial below.

My next task is to create a few such tutorials for our students to access at school.

Finding and using Images with Creative Commons

A few posts and tweets recently have discussed how easy it is to get caught using copyright images and the consequences that can follow.

This term I have been working with a few classes developing skills about how to search for and then attribute images. We have looked at what Creative Commons is, some of the dedicated CC sites and how you can use the right search with Google to find CC images.

Two tools that I have been using for the past few years that are very good if you want to attribute or embed images are:

  1. ImageCodr works with Flickr images. I wrote about this tool back in 2010 and have used it many time to correctly attribute images I am using.
  2. Wylio. This tool provides users with a very easy way to quickly search through the huge number of free images from different sources and then allows you to generate a code so that you can insert those images directly into a blog post. I wrote a how-to post last year. I also encouraged our students to use it for some of their assignments. Since last year it you login with a Google account but other than that it still works in the much the same way, with steps easy to follow.

I put a Creative Commons page on my wiki as well as our library site, listing some of the places where you can go to find images, with a second page explaining what the CC symbols meant.  HeyJude site also has a great list of sources here and the Creative Commons organisation has a good list here

Thanks to an RSS feed, today I saw a post on Richard Byrne’s Free Technology for Teachers site about a new tool that you can use when choosing a license for your own work.

It has been created by Creative Commons and is a great addition to this very informative site.

“Creative Commons licensing can be a good way to explicitly state the terms by which people can use and re-use your creative written, audio, and visual works. But selecting the license that is right for you can be confusing. “

I love how easily it steps you through the process. In less than a minute you can have the correct license for your work completed and ready to use. It also offers explanations along every step.

As Richard Byrne comments it is also a great way to explore what different features of the licenses mean, even if you are not going to use them for work. The tool allows you to choose different combinations and then check what this will allow others to do with something with that particular setting.

If I have something that might be useful for others I am always happy to share and a lot of students love the idea of sharing their work. Flickr made it simple to share your CC licensed images a long time ago (in owner settings) but things on other sites were a bit more of a problem. Now there is a tool we can use that will make it easier to understand and create the correct licenses to share with others.

Engaging reading responses from students

It is very close to the end of term. Reports have been written and for two weeks teachers have been trying to engage boys in their responses to reading without marks being an incentive. Yes, there are plenty of arguments about engaging tasks should be the norm and marks only a small part of the learning process in general, and then as a guide.

I have been doing some work with year 7 students in the last week or so. We have been working on some Facebook mock-ups for their literature circle book characters. (Information about what we do is on my wiki here.) There have also been some year 8 students creating some book trailers  as their last response to their crime fiction genre study. (Information here. ) We thought that this was a good time to introduce and discuss the use of Creative Commons images/sound and Fair Use in general. (List of sites we used here) The boys are all interested in the concept and are happy to follow the guidelines about what is fair and reasonable. They are still learning and did not always get it right but they are onside with it and want to do the right thing.

The final products are coming in. There were some great Facebook pages created for their fictional characters. The character profiles and conversations between friends were fantastic to read. I enjoyed the “voices” they used, the pictures they chose and the comments they made. I will put some of the example into the wiki.

In preparation for working with these groups I have been looking at lots of images, hearing lots of sound/music and looking at examples of interesting videos. The boys can be quite adept at discussing what works and what is less succesful in a video.  Some boys did not understand the concept of a book trailer until we talked about them in terms of film trailers and The Gruen Transfer (ABC) was also a good resource as it discussed advertising. There are some good examples of the advertisements they created for different shows by found by simply looking for “Gruen Transfer” on YouTube.

Lastly from mashable there was a post about the following video entitled Starry Night – Vincent van Dominogh. Recreating Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” from just over 7,000 dominos. I know it is not a crime trailer but it was amazing and certainly held attention.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 984 other followers