Monthly Archive for October, 2010

SMART Notebook Express – SMART Notebook Online SMART Notebook Express is an online version of the interactive whiteboard software for SMART Boards.  That means that where your computer does not have SMART Notebook installed, but you are connected to the Internet, you can still work with your existing SMART Notebook files (where you can access it on a PC, memory stick or online storage area) or to create a new SMART Notebook file.

SMART Notebook Express allows for the use of most of the standard tools available in SMART Notebook 10 (pens, curtain, highlighter pens, text).  You can open existing files or create new SMART Notebook files and save them back to the computer.

More information about SMART Notebook Express can be found by clicking the link below:

Click on the video below for a description from Coppell Middle School East of how SMART Notebook Express can be used by pupils at home or on portable devices.

Click on the video below for SMART Classroom’s  promotional video explaining the features of SMART Notebook Express. interesting ways to use an interactive whiteboard in the classroom collated from many contributors by Tom Barrett

Teaching Information Skills with Big 6  When pupils are set a problem-solving task in school, whether it is in creating a presentation or research for homework, it is useful for them to have some guidance to getting started and how to go about the task.  One method of teaching information skills for using information from a variety of sources is that known as “the Big Six.” The Big6 is a step-by-step process model of how people of all ages solve an information problem. This was devised by Mike Eisenberg and Robert E. Berkowitz.  The following is an outline of the process described in this method.


1.  Define the task – what needs to be done?
2.  Information Seeking Strategies – what resources can I use?
3.  Location and Access – where can I find these resources? 
4.  Use of information – what can I use from these resources?
5.  Synthesis – what can I make to finish the job? 
6.  Evaluation – how will I know I did my job well?

For a useful handout about the use of the Big 6 in schools click the link below:

For helpful links about the use of the simpler versions of Big6 in primary schools click on the link below:

For an extensive report on how this was applied in a primary classroom click on the link below:

The presentation below is by William Breitsprecher and shows how a simpler version of the Big 6 (the Super3) can be used in a primary classroom to help pupils work through classroom tasks or homework.

The video below shows how the Big 6 can be applied to a pupil project.

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Google Earth in the primary classroom Google Earth allows you to travel the world through a virtual globe and view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, and much more.  You can navigate to locations anywhere in the world.   And it is free to download.

So you have Google Earth on your computer and you want to know how to use it?  Click the link below for a useful guide to getting starting navigating around Google earth.

For classroom resources click on the link below:

The link below provides 10 ideas for using Google Earth with your class:

Links to a variety of Google Earth classroom resources

For an extensive collection of classroom activities with step by step videos and plans, whether for teacher led presentations or pupil activities click on the link below:

The link below takes you to Richard Byrne’s guide to using Google Earth across the Curriculum Ollie Bray has provided a number of useful tips for using Google Earth in the classroom.

Creating Projects in Google Earth is a post by Tim Stahmer specifically about Google Earth layers, but also with a host of links to associated resources for using Google Earth in the classroom.

Google Sketchup for creating 3D images in the classroom

Google Sketchup is free downloadable software for creating 3D images.  It is installed on all Falkirk primary school PCs and it can also be downloaded from  Google Sketchup can be used to create simple 3D images of classsroom or household objects, or buildings or streets.  It comes complete with inbuilt tutorials which provide a great way to get started. This is a teacher guide to uses of Google Sketchup at different age ranges with examples and step by step guides.

The videos below give a quick introduction to what Google Sketchup can do.

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For a whole series of video  tutorials for getting started go here:

Below is an example of a video tutorial showing an example of how to incorporate Sketchup in history teaching where the tutorial shows how to create a Motte and Bailey castle in Google Sketchup.

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And when you want to go even futher with Google Sketchup there are several Google Sketchup online communities with tutorials and galleries of examples of work created using Google Sketchup here

Images free for Pupil Projects

How often do you look for images for classroom projects, presentations, blogs and websites?   But of course you are concerned that you don’t want to use images in your work you may not have permission to use.  Using a search engine like Google to find an image does not tell you whether it is free for your use.  You could use an image search tool such as Flickr (and this post shows how to find images where users have given permission to use them, and also shows tps for how to easily attribute the images used).

Many people now upload images and apply a Creative Commons licence to their images granting use to others – for a full explanation of what that means, as well as a link to a Creative Commons image search tool, click here.

What does Creative Commons mean? – this is a visual infographic poster about what the various types of Creative Commons licences mean for users of images with each designation.

Simple CC Flickr Search is a search tool by John Johnston for user-uploaded shared images on Flickr where the images have been uploaded by users as being Creative Commons – on this search site all you do is enter the search term, then choose your selected image, and the embed code which appears for your use on a website or blog or elsewhere will include automatic attribution text for that image to the source of the image. There is also a Stamp tool which lets you copy the image with a panel along the bottom which provides the source attribution – useful for adding to print documents. And in addition when you find an image there is a link to further edit the image in an online image editor.

And below are some image collections for education – each site clearly states how the images can be used, and how they should be credited.  And they all have categories of images as well as being searchable. Teacher Tap resources – this provides links to a variety of Public Domain, Copyright Free, Open Source, and Student Use Images and Media.   Not all the resources are copyright free, but most allow student to use and cite the projects in their assignments.  Read the copyright sections at each site to determine exact restrictions.  The site also links to which provides a useful guide to the use of images and the law in the USA – while details vary from country to country the guide provides useful information to consider. Image Base – collection of free to use high-quality images in searchable categories by David Niblack.  You can use the images for whatever you want, personal, commercial or non-profit use for free.  All you have to do is attribute the creator David Niblack. Open Clipart Library – an free to use searchable archive of clip art that can be used for free for any use.  Search by category or use the serach box to find what you need. clip art images you find at are provided free for educational use. Teachers can use them for worksheets, Lesson Plans, Quizzes, Web sites, and other classroom needs. Pupils can use them for their homework assignments and Web sites too.  When using clip art users are asked toprovide a link back to giving credit for the clip art used. The Clip Art Gallery on has a wide range of images by Mark A. Hicks. Permission is granted to download no more than ten different clip art images for non-revenue-producing use on hard copy documents or on Web sites with the following restrictions:  Any reproduction must be unaltered from its original downloaded form. This includes, but is not limited to, colouring, cropping, or editing.  Any use of clip art images on Web sites must credit and include a link to the Web site. Credit must read – “Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on” an extensive collection of links to websites of clip art for education by Chris Smith.  Each collection is described along with helpful comments about the type of collection and conditions of use of each site. EduPic – William Vann’s Graphical Resource of free photographs and graphics for education.  All of the images are free to use by teachers and their pupils without seeking specific permission.  This is a teacher-designed free resource for teachers and pupils. extensive list of copyright-friendly resources with helpful guidance about uses of images in projects. Free Clip Art by Phillip Martin  specifically for your classroom, newsletters, or wherever you can find a non-profit use.  Grouped in categories, or by A-Z or searchable.

Pics4Learning is a copyright-friendly image library for teachers and pupils. The Pics4Learning collection consists of thousands of images that have been donated by students, teachers, and amateur photographers. Permission has been granted for teachers and pupils to use all of the images donated to the Pics4Learning collection.  Pics4Learning is developed as part of the Partners in Education program by Tech4Learning, and the Orange County Public Schools Technology Development Unit. Bev Evans has created a site full of images, which she has created free for use by schools, in a variety of categories, by curricular area, topic, seasonal or current events.
The E2BN / NEN Gallery is a community resource, built and maintained by the education community for the education community. The Gallery is a growing collection containing around 52,000 Image, Audio and Video resources covering a wide range of topics relevant to the curriculum. Its purpose is to provide a free repository of high quality materials copyright cleared for use in teaching and learning.

All of the resources in the gallery are archived at the highest quality available so they can be used on whiteboards, printed materials, animations and for any other educational application. Medium resolution versions of every file are also made available for review and preview. All of the resources are copyright cleared so they can be downloaded, edited and re-purposed for educational use, both within the classroom and at home. The gallery is free to browse and explore online, the resources are browsable by topic and searchable by keyword, phase and subject. As the resource is web-based it can be accessed at school and at home by teachers and pupils. Everything placed within the gallery is moderated before being made live by a team of regional moderators and trusted educational professionals.

There is a teacher’s area that contains guidance documentation, copyright information and case studies of use. By registering users can create and save their own collections, create slideshows of content, and submit resources for moderation and publication.

Stock.xchng is a free to use searchable database of around 400,000 photographs – all free. You can browse through categories or type in the search box to find the image you wish.

I can’t see back here! Using a visualiser or document camera in the classroom

A visualiser (sometimes called a document camera) lets a teacher display something small to a whole class via a PC and projector.  This means that a teacher can demonstrate to a whole class something which would be difficult to show to a whole class without the whole class gathered round a table vying for space to see the demonstration.  A visualiser provides a means to take a piece of work from a pupil and immediately show it to a whole class, perhaps highlighting particular features or small details of the work.

In addition to simply creating an enlarged view of any object, visualiser software also enables a teacher to take snapshot pictures of whatever features may wish to be highlighted for later viewing or sharing elsewhere.  Video recordings of the activity or process involved in creating or changing a piece of work can also be made for replaying as required.  These videos can be replayed via the PC or on interactive whiteboard or embedded on a website or blog.

Photo Oct 19, 13 24 10

The TTS Easi-View visualiser combines an ease of use with a price within reach of primary schools (around £88 at time of posting).  It can be used with an interactive whiteboard, you can view documents (pupil work or books), share work with the rest of the class, and pupils can use it to let the whole class see small objects brought in for show-and-tell activities.  When combined with a laptop and projector at whole-school assemblies it can be used to ensure everyone can see details of small objects.  The picture snapshot or video recording tool provides a means to create portfolios for evidence of learning.  When combined with stop-motion animation software (such as SAM Animation software) it can be used to create stopframe animations. Note that less expensive visualisers like this have poorer resolution and refresh rate than more expensive models, menaing that images will be less crisp, and movement of objects will be slightly blurred in comparison to more expensive visualisers. It would always be wise to think about the purpose to which the tool will be put and comparison made to ensure the chosen device will meet the need.

The video below is a demonstration of the TTS Easi-View visualiser:

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Bendy gooseneck, 5 x optical zoom, 1.3MP digital images/snapshot, Video capture, Built-in light/brightness control, USB direct plug (to PC then view on whiteboard).  It also has an audio connection via standard 3.5mm headphone connection so recordings can include sound.

For a visualiser  producing a higher quality image, which would work well in a classroom situation, you may also wish to consider the Elmo MO-1 . The video below gives a demonstration of this visualiser.

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Features of the Elmo – MO-1 include:
Ability to record full motion video in 30fps with audio
Portable –Weighs only 550g and Folds flat
Output resolutions –1080i, WXGA, 720p and analogue RGB output
Flexible viewing options – Can rotate each image in 90 degree increments
Built in microphone
8 x digital zoom

The video below shows how a visualiser can be used to aid Formative Assessment in the classroom (the principles apply to the use of any visualiser but shows the use of an AVerVision visualiser):

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Click on the link below for a video from Teachers.TV about the benefits of using a visualiser with primary pupils, along with useful tips and resources:

Click on the link below for one teacher’s view of the use of a visualiser in a classroom (this mentions both SMART and Avermedia visualisers but the views are applicable to other visualisers):

Click on the link below to read an account by Dughall McCormick about using a Visualiser in the Primary Classroom:

Click on the link below for information from Hertfordshire Grid for Learning on the use of visualisers in the classroom:

Click on the link below for over 100 ideas collected from many teachers of ways to use a visualiser or document camera in the classroom:

Click on the link below for some stage-specific ideas for using visualisers in the classroom:
100 ways to use a visualiser in the classroom

Click on the link below for the Wikipedia entry on visualisers which contains links to various uses to consider for the classroom as well as other useful resources: – Jerry Blumengarten’s Cybraryman links to a wide range of resources to support the use of visualisers/document cameras in the classroom. Interesting Ways to use a visualiser – ideas collated by Tom Barrett

Elmo Classroom Solutions provide details of their range of visulaisers as well as lesson ideas and case studies of the use of visualisers in classrooms.

@eherreid #LiveBinder on Document Cameras filled with lots of resources – The visualiser forum provides links to resources including lesson plans for using a visualiser across the curriculum.

The Educational Technology Network has a post on Document Cameras which lists various ways a visualiser (document camera) can be used across the curriculum, grouped in different ages and stages.

The visualiser also serves as a webcam which can be used for video-conferencing.  Click here for Interesting Ways, and Tips, to use Web Conferencing

There is a wide range of suppliers of visualisers/document cameras and a range of models from each. Generally the less expensive models will have poorer resolution so that detail will be less crisp, and the refresh rate will be such that movement of objects will be more blurred. As models get more expensive so they add crispness and clarity to images for zooming in or recording video. Each model add further features, with additional cost. Some models will plug and play without additional software needing to be installed while others will require the dedicated software on the PC. So the choice is for the school.

Royalty-free sound-effects and music for multimedia presentations

Schools are often looking for royalty-free sound-effects and music for multimedia presentations – music or sound effects which pupils and staff can use in their videos, stop-motion animations, online or Powerpoint presentations.  And of course they wish to ensure that they are not infringing the rights of others so look for free sources of music and sound effects where permission to use for school projects has been granted by the creators.

The following sources have been identified as providing free music or sound effects for school use.  Each source sets out the terms of use, which is always a good idea to check to ensure the planned use matches the allowed uses.  Most of these sites listed grant the rights for free for any use (main exceptions being that they don’t want anyone to use the material to bring their site into disrepute).  Some ask that you provide a mention of the source in your work, and it’s always a good idea to credit the source of material you use.  A credit at the end of a video, or as text beside the player on a webpage, is a nice thing to do anyway but also is handy for later reference to remind yourself where you found the material.  Do remember it’s always a good idea to check the terms of use. FreeSFX – music tracks are free for you to use in your projects be it commercial or non-commercial. The site asks that you check the associated Licence for each track and abide by the terms giving credit where required. Music created in a very wide range of styles by Kevin MacLeod.  This includes music arranged by category such as horror, jazz, rock, reggae, etc.  All that is requested is that users add a credit  such as where the project has only music from Kevin in it you credit it as "Music: Kevin MacLeod".  If your project has many pieces from different people, you credit Kevin as "(name of the pieces of music you are using) Kevin MacLeod (".  If you’d like to include the full license for legal reasons, you can do the following: "Title Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons "Attribution 3.0"" Free Royalty Free Music Loops and Sound Effects to download and use in your commercial projects, podcasts, websites and videos.  You can download and use these free music loops in any any commercial multimedia project but you cannot re-sell individually or as a collection or as a ringtone, nor post on a website for download as we are doing here, nor mix into your own music and then redistribute it as your own.  You may use these music loops in a Flash animation or in any other commercial multimedia presentation including TV and Film.  In return for the use of these free royalty free music loops you are only asked that you please give Partners In Rhyme a link on your website or blog. Free Music and Sound Effects. Use these free music tracks and free sound effects for any production – advertising, education, videos, photos, YouTube…etc. These music tracks can be looped seamlessly and repeated to create a longer music track for your projects. You only need to link to jewelbeat website from yours with credit text as follows: “Music by JewelBeat. Download your free music and free sound effects at” The Free Music Archive is a library of high-quality, legal audio downloads of music in a wide variery of music styles.  Every mp3 music file can be listened to prior to download and by clicking on the title of each file you can see the permisisions and credit text to use as a requirement for download and free use in your classroom projects. The Freesound Project is a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sounds. Freesound focusses only on sound, not songs.  All audio content you download from the freesound project is licensed under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 license. This means that if you use the files you need to attribute the creator of the file (i.e. say who made it). There is an easily editable page which you can use to do this at is the encyclopedia of free sound clips which offers free and royalty free sounds for use in your videos, animations, games, and presentations. The free sounds are available under the Creative Commons Attribution, or Public Domain License.

Click here for more sources of sounds on the MrsLedTech site collected by Beth Lisowski. is a site with a host of sound effects uploaded by users which can be downloaded for use in projects. 

Smartboards and Audio Resources is a post by James Hollis which provides links to a variety of sources of sound effects for use in education projects – each with descriptions. In addition there are links to tools which will show how to convert these files for use elsewhere (such as with SMART Notebook software for the Smartboard).

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