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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

8 Resources for Preventing and Detecting Plagiarism

This morning in a workshop that I facilitated with Greg Kulowiec there was a great discussion about copyright, Creative Commons, and fair use as it relates to using media in iBooks Author. During that conversation, Common Craft's explanation of Creative Commons was helpful. Later in the day I had a conversation with a couple of teachers who were also concerned about students plagiarizing work when constructing iBooks. That conversation prompted me to dig up some resources fore teaching students what plagiarism is, how to avoid it, and how to detect it.

Education is the best prevention.
These are resources that can be helpful in explaining to students what plagiarism is and how they can avoid it.

1. Plagiarism Explained by Common Craft.



2. The Purdue OWL website is the number one place I refer students and parents to for questions not only about plagiarism, but also for questions about all parts of the writing process. 


3. Plagiarism.org, produced by the same people that produce the commercial plagiarism detection software Turn It In, has a free learning center for students and teachers. Plagiarism.org's learning center includes tips about avoiding plagiarism, definitions of plagiarism, and explanations of when you do or do not have to cite a reference. Plagiarism.org also hosts two recorded webinars addressing the topic of plagiarism in schools and how teachers can educate their students about plagiarism.


Tools for detecting plagiarism. 
4. The first thing I do when I want to check a student's work for plagiarism is to do a quick search on Google. If you notice that a student has strung together some phrases that you don't think they've written, put the suspected phrase inside quotation marks and search. You may want to search on Google as well as on Google Scholar.


5. The Plagiarism Checker, created as a project for the University of Maryland, is an easy-to-use tool for detecting plagiarism. Simply enter a chunk of text into the search box and the Plagiarism Checker will tell you if and from where something was plagiarized.


6. Plagiarisma is a free tool that teachers and students can use to detect possible cases of plagiarism. There are a few ways that you can use Plagiarisma. The easiest way to use Plagiarisma is to copy and paste a chunk of text into the Plagiarisma search box. You can also upload documents (RTF, Doc, PDF, HTML, ODT) to be scanned by Plagiarisma. The third option is to type a url into the search box to have Plagiarisma scan for possible cases of plagiarism. Whichever option you use, Plagiarisma will return a list of urls containing possible plagiarism matches.


7. Paper Rater is a free service designed to help high school and college students improve their writing. Paper Rater does basic spelling and grammar checks, but the real value of Paper Rater is that it tells students if their papers have elements of plagiarism. Paper Rater scans students' papers then gives students an estimate of the likelihood that someone might think that their papers were plagiarized.


8. Plagiarism Checker.com works just like many similar services. To use it, simply type or paste text into the search box and Plagiarism Checker will tell you if and from where something was copied.  (Note: the name is similar to #5 above, but they are produced by different organizations).

5 Sources of Free Sound Effects and Music

This morning Greg Kulowiec and I are teaching a workshop on creating content in iBooks Author. I'm starting the morning with a discussion about Copyright, Creative Commons, and Fair Use. This collection of resources for locating music and sounds licensed for re-use is one that I am sharing with the group.

The Free Music Archive provides free, high-quality, music in a wide range of genres. The content on Free Music Archive is used under various creative commons licenses. The New York State Music Fund provided initial funding for FMA. FMA seeks to maintain a high-quality resource through the use of selected curators who approve or deny all submissions to the collection. Anyone can download music from FMA for use in podcasts, videos, and other digital presentation formats. The music collections can be searched by genre or by curator.

Sound Bible is a resource for finding and downloading free sound clips, sound effects, and sound bites. All of the sounds on Sound Bible are either public domain or labeled with a Creative Commons license. You can find sounds for use in podcasts, videos, slideshows, or other multimedia creations.

Royalty Free Music hosts music tracks that can be reused in numerous ways. Royalty Free Music charges the general public for their downloads, but students and teachers can download quite a bit of the music for free. To access the free music tracks students and teachers should visit the education page on Royalty Free Music.

Jamendo is a source of free and legal music downloads. The music on Jamendo comes from the artists who upload it themselves. While not all of the music is licensed for re-use, there is a substantial collection of music labeled with a Creative Commons license. As always, before re-using any of the music you download make sure it is labeled for re-use.

From the same people that brought us the great computational search engine Wolfram Alpha comes Wolfram Tones. Wolfram Tones uses algorithms, music theory, and sound samples to generate new collections of sounds. Visitors to Wolfram Tones can experiment with sounds and rhythms to make their own sounds. Wolfram Tones allows visitors to choose samples from fifteen different genres of music on which to build their own sounds. Once a genre is selected visitors can then alter the rhythms, instrumentation, and pitch mapping of their sounds. When satisfied with their creations, users can download their sounds or have them sent directly to their cell phones.

Free Set of 10 Academic Icons

I rarely use clipart, but I do use it I try to find some that doesn't scream, "1998 PowerPoint!" Smashing Magazine is one place that I will turn to in a search for clipart and design advice in general. Earlier this week Smashing Magazine and Pixels Daily released a free set of ten academic icons. The icons can be used, re-used, and modified under a Creative Commons license. The icons are 128px.

Applications for Education
Take a look a the Smashing Magazine academic icons if you're looking for some free icons to use on your classroom blog, school website, or just to use on some school flyers.

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