Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Short Guide to Finding and Using Media on Your Blog - Part 1

A blog can get boring after a while if paragraphs of text is all that ever gets posted to it. More importantly, your students will get bored posting to a blog if all they’re ever asked to do is write on it. To draw more attention to blog posts, to make them more interesting, to get students excited about posting to a blog, and to spark students into discussion use interesting pictures, videos, and audio files.

Before looking at sources of media to use in your blog posts it’s important to have some understanding of copyright, Creative Commons, and Fair Use. (Disclaimer: this is not to be construed as legal advice and is based on my understanding from a U.S.-based perspective). The best way to avoid any copyright infringement is to use your own media. If you don’t have media of your own to use in your blog posts then search for works that are in the Public Domain and works that have been labeled with Creative Commons licenses. After exhausting your search for Public Domain and Creative Commons works then you might make an argument for Fair Use of copyrighted works.

Using Your Own Media - Building a gallery of media
The best way to ensure that you don’t infringe on someone’s copyright rights is to use your own media in your blog posts. Commit to a 365 project to build up a gallery of media that you can access when you need it. A 365 project is just a way of committing to taking one picture per day. The concept can be applied to recording video and audio clips too.

Aviary's mobile image editor is a free app for iOS and Android devices. The Aviary mobile app allows you to quickly crop images and add effects to your images. What I like about Aviary's mobile app is that unlike Instagram you don't have to register or join any social networks.

To capture quick audio recordings try AudioBoo for Android and iOS devices. SoundCloud is another excellent tool for quickly creating short audio recordings. SoundCloud can be used online, on Android devices, and on iOS devices.

To organize your gallery of B-roll media try using DropItToMe to have students contribute to a DropBox folder. If you're working in a Google Apps for Education environment use shared folders in Google Drive.

Click here for part two. Click here for part three.