Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sources of Free Sound Effects and Music for Multimedia Projects

In a post earlier this evening I shared Josh Wanner's video about the important role of music in video projects. Just as with images, it is important to have students use music and sound effects that they have permission to use. The following resources offer music and sound effects that students can use for free in multimedia projects.

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.

Musopen's collection of free recordings contains performances of the works of more than 150 composers. You can stream the music from Musopen for free. You can also download five recordings per day for free from Musopen.

The Internet Archive hosts an extensive collection of music and other audio recordings that you can download for free. You should point out to students that they need to look at the usage rights closely when they find things on the Internet Archive. Not everything that is available to download for free is eligible to be reused for free.

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.  

The next time you need common sounds like doorbells ringing, dogs barking, or car horns honking to use in a multimedia project you could try to record those sounds yourself or you could turn to SoundGator to find free recordings that you can download. SoundGator offers free sound recording downloads. There are twenty-three recording categories that you can browse through to find the perfect sound for your project. You do have to register on SoundGator in order to download recordings. After registering you can download recordings directly to your computer to re-use in your projects.

Students Can Get Office 365 for Free (Some Conditions Apply)

Microsoft's Student Advantage program allows eligible students to get free copies of Office 365. To qualify students have to be enrolled in a school that has purchased Office organization-wide for all faculty/staff via the Microsoft Volume Licensing program. If your school has done that then your students are eligible to request a free copy of Office 365 for their personal computers. The program is currently open to students in the United States and will expand globally later this year. Click here for complete directions and terms for taking advantage of this offer.

Send Reminders to Parents and Students Through Class Messenger

Class Messenger is Scholastic's attempt to get in on the teacher to parent and teacher to student messaging market. Class Messenger offers free iPhone and Android apps that allow teachers to send messages to parents and students on a group or individual basis. Class Messenger allows you to send text and picture messages. Students and their parents can reply to your messages without seeing your personal phone number. Likewise, you don't see personal phone numbers of your students.

Class Messenger categorizes messages within the app. There are categories for homework assignments, general reminders, surveys, and volunteer requests.

One of the aspects of Class Messenger that I appreciate is that when you register for an account on Class Messenger there are demo classes already made for you to use to explore the app. The demo classes eliminate the worry of accidentally sending messages before you completely understand how the app works.

Class Messenger doesn't have to be used on an iOS or Android device. It is possible to use the service through the Class Messenger website.

Applications for Education
The Class Messenger service could be a great tool for keeping parents informed about what is happening in your classroom as well as helping to keep students on track. The service could be good for sending reminders to all parents about things like due dates for paperwork or homework that their children need to complete.

The survey aspect of Class Messenger could be handy for gathering responses from students on quiz review questions.

Don't Forget the Music - The Difference Music Makes In a Video

Don't Forget the Music is the title one of the finalists in Next Vista's latest video production contest. In the video Josh Wanner explains why music choice matters in a video production. To demonstrate his points Wanner plays the same video clip with three different music tracks in the background. The video is embedded below (jump to the one minute mark if you just want to see the demonstration).

Don't Forget the Music was created by using WeVideo and all of the music in the video is from WeVideo's audio library.

Applications for Education
When Animoto launched back in 2008 I had students create short videos to insert into a wiki about U.S. Presidents that they were building. It quickly became apparent that we were going to have to have a discussion about soundtrack choices. Josh Wanner's demonstrations in Don't Forget the Music would have been a great asset to me during the conversation with my students.

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