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Digital Images, Sounds & Music

Students want digital images, sounds, and music for projects. Teachers want the same things to enhance lessons. Google Images has lots of easily searchable and readily available images for both teachers and students to use… right?? Wrong!

Most of us know that although there are thousands of images, sounds and music files available through a Google search and elsewhere on the internet, those files are, for the most part, not generally copyright free and available for general use. However, if you or your students use Google’s advanced search feature and select images (or pages) for “reuse” or “free for use” you may get some acceptable results—though, since image tags may not be complete this is not a fool-proof process.

So… what can you do? What can your students do? There are many options—all of which are better than using Google and making assumptions about other files found online.

  • All elementary schools and teachers in HRSB now have access to Discovery Education. There are thousands of great images available at Discovery Education for teacher and student use. Most of these images are HD.
  • Students and/or teachers can use their school’s digital cameras to capture digital images and video.
  • Many teachers and students also have cell phones with cameras—they could use these to take photos (when/where appropriate) and email the photos to their school email.
  • Many schools/classrooms have small document cameras that take high quality images. These can be used for capturing photos of student work, or student produced art work for use in projects, assignments and/or lessons.
  • Images Project
  • Images Canada
  • DoE has created a set of Technology Integration PD Modules in a Moodle. One of these modules contains a list of sound and image resources. You can access that list at you’ll need an enrollment key—it’s welcome.
  • Also, see additional sources below

IMPORTANT: Before downloading any image, music file, video clip, clip art, etc., even though the title of the website may say “free”, please carefully read the copyright information located on the website. Some are not “free”, some require the item to be cited, and some may require you to contact the owner of the item to ask permission to use. Also, the “image” might be “free”, but you may have to subscribe to, or register on the website in some way—which may not be acceptable under PIIDPA legislation.

The US has a “Fair Use” policy which allows “free” use of items in educational projects. Canada does not have that policy; however some Canadian websites allow downloading of images for educational purposes. Again you have to determine this for every website. Confusing? Yes, but it is a good teaching opportunity for students who often think that if it is on the internet, they can download it—no questions asked.

Also note, Microsoft clipart can ONLY be used in documents or other items created with Microsoft products.

Finally… remember that regardless of the source, it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure students are accessing appropriate sites and materials.

The following is a list of sites where you may find sounds, music, images and/or video that can be used easily by you and/or your students. As always it is your responsibility to monitor content for appropriateness and to read licensing and copyright information to ensure the specific item(s) you and your students need is, in fact, legally available to you. By providing these links, we do not endorse or guarantee these sites or the quality of their content.

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