Archive for November, 2007

Great LEGAL Sources for Digital Content

Posted on November 11, 2007. Filed under: Uncategorized |

by Tim Cushman 

“If content is king, copyright is its castle” was a statement recently made in a keynote address by Sumner Redstone, the chairman of Viacom and CBS.  He added, “Copyright compels creativity, it furnishes the incentive to innovate. If you limit the protection of copyright, you stifle the expression of self.  The time and effort spent creating and the months spent producing, marketing and distributing content is an investment; it is not intended to be a donation.”  (Source:

Not everyone agrees with Mr. Sumner.  Many believe that the proliferation of digital media through the medium of the Internet has changed the way the world communications and that traditional copyright must be updated to keep pace.  Not to mention that many owners of content view fair use far differently from consumers.  Enter Creative Commons.  Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that allows artists to legally release some or all of their rights to their content without all of the restrictions of current copyright law.  The spirit of those involved with Creative Commons can be summarized this way: use, share, improve; just do not sell my work for a profit (do review the licensing).  The implication for teachers is unfettered access to content without fear of breaking copyright law.  Below are sources for content licensed under Creative Commons.  DO PREVIEW CONTENT and strongly consider downloading in advance for your students to use.

Music and Other Audio
Artist Server:
Garage Band:
Pod Show:
The Free Sound Project:

Every Stock Photo:
123RF free stock images section:
Flickr Creative Commons Search:
Open Clipart:

Text and Audiobooks

Creative Common Search Tools
Google Advanced Search: (look for “Usage Rights”)
Wikimedia Commons:
Yahoo Creative Commons Search:

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Real Time

Posted on November 8, 2007. Filed under: EdTech, Elementary School, General, High School, Instructional Coaches, Interactive Whiteboards |

 I’m headed out to a middle school to support a teacher who is using video conferencing technology for the first time and got to thinking…do other teachers in Greenville County know what IVC is and that we’ve got it for them to use? 🙂

Interactive Video Conferencing (IVC) is comprised of two-way audio and video, which allows the instructor  and students to talk to and see one another  simultaneously.  Instructors can pose questions and call on students  who raise their hands, just as if the instructors and students were in the same classroom. Our district began using IVC with Roper Mt. Science Center as a way to provide Sexuality Education to 7th graders. This alone saved valuable instructional time, not to mention gas for schools that are quite a distance from the center.

Last year we piloted the use of video conferencing with a little younger crowd…our 4th graders. RMSC and elementary lab instructors collaborated on the sun’s effect on plant life and growth. Students were able to conference virtually in the science center’s rain forest. What an amazing experience that was for them. In expanding our 4th grade program, all 4th graders are currently participating in a RMSC lesson focused on telescopes live from the Daniel Observatory.

We’ve started small in Greenville, but are excited about the potential that interactive video conferencing has for our students. We are ready to branch outside the boundaries of the district to interact and collaborate with students from other schools and experts from across the world. Anyone interested?   

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Google Earth vs. Microsoft Virtual Earth

Posted on November 2, 2007. Filed under: Elementary School, High School, Interactive Whiteboards, Middle School, Science, Social Studies/History, Teachers |

Google Earth vs. Microsoft Virtual Earth
by Tim Van Heule

“Zoom in on my house!” students yell out enthusiastically as the teacher works with the 3D rendering of the earth.

Google Earth and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth are wonderful software applications for use in the classroom.

Both are available for download, but are also accessible from the web:

These applications give users the possibility to explore cities and landmarks, as well as general mapping. Both have 3D rendering capabilities; however, Microsoft Virtual Earth has the edge in terms of clarity and detail of the buildings. See below Manhattan-GE and Manhattan-VE.





Google Earth incorporates many layers with including options to see results for local dining and lodging as well as incorporating shared content from YouTube and National Geographic.

Both have options for traffic updates…

Google Earth, the newest version 4.2, also allows the user to view the stars via the Hubble Telescope.

Google Maps has incorporated a new “Street View” where the user can “travel” down the street.

It’s easy to spend HOURS on both…  but more importantly it’s easy to use these tools in the classroom for mapping and for bringing the world to the students in your class. So, if you haven’t yet, check them both out and start using them today…

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    The School District of Greenville County – Instructional Technology Department


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