SoundBible — free sound effects

soundBible-iconThe folks at SoundBible have collected hundreds of CreativeCommons licenses and public domain sound effects from around the web. The sound files are tagged with the license clearly displayed.

If we demand that our students obey copyright laws, then I believe we should make it easy for them to obey the law. SoundBible does just that.

The only downside is that the sound effects can be a little hard to find.

Bottom line: free sound effects for mutli-media projects.


Description: sound effects for students media projects, with clear licence reqirements.

License: CreativeCommons, public domain

Usefulness: possibly

Pixabay – free graphics and photos with no restrictions

Pixabay-logo.svgNothing beats free and Pixabay offers pictures and graphics with the CC0 license which is the least restrictive license possible. Simply put: take the image and forget about it.

Pixabay_screenshotBest yet, these are good quality images.   Pixabay has almost 300,000 images which can be found with Google.

Pixabay does not require attribution although I always require my students to credit their sources even when they are public domain. Pixabay does not require sign-in although they limit your downloads to medium size.  The site comes in Spanish as well as number of other languages.

colored-pencils-168392_1280This is a fantastic site.   My only minor quibble is that they also include Shutterstock photos which are not free. This might be confusing for some students.

If your students need pictures for their projects, Pixabay is a fantastic resource.


Resource: Pixabay

Description:  Thousands of high quality pictures and graphics with no licensing restrictions.

License CC0/no restrictions

Alternatives: Wikimedia Commons

Rating: highly useful

Open Definition – alternative licensing to Creative Commons

jjffjj OpenDocument logoOpen Knowledge is a non-profit organization in Cambridge, England founded not long after the Creative Commons organization.   While it seems to have a (somewhat) broader scope than Creative Commons, it also runs a licensing service called Open Definition.

While I have found the Creative Commons license perfectly useful for what I create,  the Open Definition tools apply more broadly to things like funding and services.

Open Definition buttonsIf you find that the Creative Commons license doesn’t fit your effort, you may take at look at the Open Definition licenses.   Like Creative Commons, they have a license guide to assist you.  Unfortunately it gets into the legal language fairly quickly but that may be unavoidable considering the broader nature of this project.

Tool: Open Definition (dot org)
Description: open licensing system
License: open (obviously!)
Alternative: Creative Commons
Rating: potentially useful

Yahoo Image Search — for Creative Commons photos

Can we lecture our students about ethical use of media when we teachers just grab “All Rights Reserved” pictures off the internet?
Fortunately, Yahoo has a filter for Creative Commons licensed photos.
The filter is easy to miss, since it is tucked away at the bottom left-side of the screen after you do an image search.   But, once found, it’s as easy as a click to use.

In my “PowerPoints” I add a last page giving credit for the photos, saying “Photos Used With Permission”.  In my mind, this is part of the teaching process.

Tool:Yahoo image search, for Creative Commons photos.
Description: Photos licensed for sharing.
License:  Creative Commons
Alternatives: Wikimedia Commons, Flickr
Rating: very useful

Wikimedia Commons – first source for Open Content

Wikimedia Commons has almost 14 million free images for you and your students. Wikimedia is the place where Wikipedia images are stored and it’s the first place I go when looking for imagest for a presentation.

When we teach our students about ethical use of media, Wikimedia is one resource they should know about.

One of the best things about Wikimedia is that the images are categorized and documented. There is usually no ambiguity about what the photo is, who is the author and the license for re-use.

The kind of documentation is a rarity with photos you find with Google.

Don’t just consume media, contribute!

Wikimedia Commons is a great way to model collaborative learning to your students. Even with millions of images, Wikimedia still has lots of gaps.

I could imagine a lesson built around creating images for Wikimedia. Students could take pictures of something like a local historical site in your city and contribute those to Wikimedia with all the proper documentation. Wikimedia is also looking for diagrams and illustrations.

Wikimedia Commons

Description: Wikimedia Commons is a media file repository of public domain and freely-licensed educational media content.

License: Creative Commons or public domain

Alternatives: Flickr,

Rating: very useful



The Five Best Places To Find Free Creative Commons Photos

MakeUseOf (.com) has a useful article on finding open-content photos.

Looking to add some images to your blog post? Obviously, I sympathize. All of the writers at MakeUseOf are on the prowl for ways to add some visual flair to our articles, but we also have to make sure we respect the rights of photographers while doing so.

That’s why we like Creative Commons content. There are a lot of places that you can find such images, some of which you may have already heard of, and others you probably haven’t. The five websites listed in this article certainly are not the only places you can find free images but they are my favorite. …read more

They mention Flickr, a favorite of mine.   They don’t mention Wikimedia Commons, another favorite.