Jewels for the Journey
There are so many wonderful websites and tools for media programs, it is difficult to know what is worth exploring and what is not! I want to share some jewels I’ve found that I would LOVE to have had during my 26 years as a media specialist.
First: Copyright-Friendly and Copyleft Images and Sounds (Mostly!) for Use in Media Projects and Web Pages, Blogs, Wikis, etc. is a wiki that is literally teeming with excellent sources of public domain materials for projects, presentations, or your own viewing/listening pleasure. This is a source of copyright-friendly materials that are available for quick, easy incorporation into projects and lessons. There are pages of links to sites that provide materials that can be included legally, for free.
Next: Picturing the Century is a site where archived photos from the past 100 years are available, mostly public domain, and are accessible by topic. Photos included are powerful selections from various time periods in American history during the last century.
For video: Open Video Project is somewhat similar to GPB video streaming. Videos from 2 minutes to over an hour present coverage on almost any topic imaginable. These include 1,263 educational videos, 187 historical videos, 2,079 ephemeral videos, and the best news is that these awesome videos are FREE to use!
For audio: BBC World Service Save Our Sounds boasts crickets chirping in a Louisiana bog to a bubbling stream in the Kentucky Red River Gorge to Great Green Macaws in El Ceibo Station, Costa Rica to a percussion instrument serenade in Romania – sounds that capture the world, quite literally, are available for free use. This is a site that entertained me for quite some time. How amazing to hear actual sound recordings from so many places around the world! And, as an added perk, you are encouraged to upload your own sound bytes so the culture of your area is preserved for perpetuity.
Wikis are the way to go: Wikispaces for Educators is a site for teachers to develop wikis that are private and ad-free. These types of wikis usually cost $50/year, but are presently being given away for free. At least 250,000 in addition to the previous 100,000 wikis are now being freely offered for K-12 education.
Finally: Scribd.com allows for a variety of resources to be posted for public viewing: teachers can post assignments and rubrics, student can post responses to assignments, aspiring authors can post their original works, slide shows can be uploaded – any topic can be covered in desired format and uploaded. Many resources that have been posted there are useful for instruction immediately. This is a site where one can secure applications that presently exist, or create a product to post for use by others.
These are just a few of the awesome sites I’ve discovered and lamented over – because I didn’t have them 25 years ago! There are a myriad of sites in addition to the ones discussed here that carry such powerful possibilities for media programs; I look forward to your postings as you discover those additional jewels for media programs. Happy hunting!!
Phyllis R. Snipes, University of West Georgia