Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Open Source Multimedia, Open Source Sound, Open Source Photo

Creative Commons search page provides an easy way to search across various sites for Creative Commons-licensed images, video and audio. It’s a great way to start your search for openly licensed digital media.

creative commons search

Open Source Image Sharing

Pics4Learning – a popular site to find free, open source photo sharing for teachers and students (biomes, animals, art, food, world religions, fractals, holidays, space, landforms, geography, Native Americans, colonial America, Civil War, ancient civilizations, mythology, presidents, World War I, World War II)

Flickr – use the Advanced search option and check the box at the bottom to only search CC licensed photos, or link through here 200 million Creative Commons photos and counting! ( the largest CC photo repository in the world)

PhotoPin uses the Flickr API and searches creative commons photos to use for your blog. It generate the HTML code with proper citation for you to use. is useful for helping students find pictures that are available for use under various Creative Commons licenses, and for teaching them about the different levels of permission

Wikipedia – vast majority of imags in Wikipedia are open-licensed, click the image to find source and license, good resources for historic and academic topics

Wikimedia Commons – This is the media collection that Wikipedia draws from, including images, sound files and video clips, there are more historic and academic resources than Flickr, more than 11 billion media files are there; it’s also a great site to find government resources in publisc domain, many resources from National Archives and Library of Congress are digitized and uploaded onto this sites

Library of Congress Photo Archives – With over 1.2 millions images in this database, it’s an excellent source for student’s history projects.  Each image has different licensing. (famous Americans, presidents, civil rights, wars, inventors, authors, American history)

NOAA Public Image Library is a wonderful resource for science projects. The database is extensive. (animals, volcanoes, weather, biomes, landforms, oceans)

Geograph – “The Geograph Britain and Ireland project aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland…”  Creative Commons licensed, contributore identified.

Florida’s Educational Technology Clipart Clearinghouse is a clipart and drawing collection of over 46,000 images. (mythology, math diagrams, money, fairy tales, alphabets, animals, historical figures) A maximum of fifty (50) clipart items may be used in any non-commercial, educational project (report, presentation, display, website, etc.) without special permission.

FreeTiiuPix – All the images on this website are original photographs taken by – Tiiu. The images are great for student and teacher research materials, projects, lesson plans or wallpapers. From her : “I am not a professional photographer nor in the business of selling photographs.  I just love taking pictures and sharing them with others.  The purpose of this website is simply to share photographs that everyone can freely use for non-commercialpurposes.  Please carefully read the Terms of Use prior to downloading.

PICDROME –  a growing Public Domain picture collection, free of copyright and licensed under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication.

PD Photo is another great image site and offers geography, landforms, food, space, plants, ocean, grammar, animals tmages.

Photos8 – It offers high quality, high resolution public domain images in geography, landforms, world religions, art, food, insects, plants.

Public Domain Photos offers a vast collection of clipart images and high resolution photos. (geography, landforms, US regions, flags from around the world, animals, space, ocean, plants, insects, food, vehicles, desert)

The Open Photo Project – Smaller collection of high quality open source photo sharing

Image*After  – Smaller collection of high quality photos, Watch for Dreamstime images in search results; there are ads for commercial photos

morgueFile – Smaller collection of high quality open source photo sharing

Stock.XCHNG – Smaller collection of high quality open source photo sharing

Copyright free images – public domain pictures, free for any private or commercial use.

4FreePhotos is another site that offers quite a few artistic high quality images.  Many of these would be great for backgrounds.  Supporting Units: transportation, food, landforms, geography, art, aircraft, plants, penguins, Spring

Ookaboo – Creative commons (free) site for finding great images for class work

Google Swirl – to search for images and see their relationships with each other (use with Google Safe Search enabled)

Free Photo Bank – easy way to find creative common images

WPClipart – clip art, easy to search and high quality

Open Clip Art Library – clip art, larger collection and more variation in quality

School Clip Art – free clip art images for teachers and students

Karen Whimsey Public Domain Images has clipart, diagrams, sketches, and more public domain images.  (ancient civilizations, world religions, musical instruments, art, silhouettes, vintage fashion, fairy tales, Native Americans, explorers, Civil War, geography, food, Spanish, art, architecture, Shakespeare, plants)

If you like to re-work the graphics,  Inkscape program is a suitable open source tool with versions for Mac, Windows and Linux.

Open Music and Open Source Sound Repositories

The Freesound Project – Open source sound effects of every type imaginable, searching by tag on the left is the easiest way to find things, you have to register and logged in to use them but it’s free, you can preview all of the clips in the browser before downloading.

Sound Bible offers thousands of copyright free sound effects, sound clips, and straight up sounds, they consist of Creative Commons and Public Domain works.

Magnatune – Full access to 1200+ albums unlimited music downloads in a variety of MP3 and lossless formats as well as unlimited online music streaming. Your Magnatune membership makes it easy and legal to stream music at work, listen to downloaded music on your MP3 player, and burn CDs at home.

Jamendo – the biggest European platform for the online distribution of musical works under Creative Commons licences, 317,027 free music tracks downloads for private use, Royalty free music license for commercial purposes,  more than 40,000 albums by independent artists, it’s also a community of music authors, also downloadable through BitTorrent.

IMSLP Petrucci Music Library – This is a resource where you can search public domain and licensed sheet music. It provides viewer with a variety of musical content from audio, sheet music, background information and more.

Purple Planet Royalty Free Music is a nice source for fun, easy to use, royalty-free music for projects.

MusOpen – mostly classical and acoustic music

ccMixter – mostly contemporary music, a small number are marked “Not safe for work,” generally for adult language

Wikimedia Commons Music – variety, but mostly classical; also has videos

SoundCloud Creative Commons – SoundCloud has a unique media player that allows you to embed sound and music clips into other webpages. It also allows users to comment on the sound clips, directly on the media’s timeline, so you can leave a comment with the music. Like all good social media platforms, you can follow audio creators you like, so you can keep up on their creations.

Vimeo Music Store – searching just the Creative Commons or FREE tracks will reward you with a bountiful list of tunes using a Creative Commons license,  even you aren’t Vimeo users you can download the FREE tracks without having to login, while downloading the track, a little pop up reminding you of the exact license of that track, so you know what you can and can’t do with it.

Find Sounds – A free site where you can search the Web for sound effects and musical instrument samples.

Free Kids – A collection of quality children’s music. These are complete songs, not edited versions. All music downloads on this site are free.

FreePlay Music – The Freeplay Music Library, is a comprehensive collection of High End Broadcast production music spanning all the popular musical genres, available for free download either online or can be purchased by cd.

PublicDomain4U has jazz, blues, country, folk songs, World War I

Sound Jay has sounds for weather, business, FACS, and backgrounds for podcast projects

Soungle has abundant sound effects for student projects including weather, emotions, dance, animals, water, and special effect sounds for podcasts

Open Source Multimedia Repositories

National Repository of Online Courses – Algebra, Calculus, History, Biology, Environmental Science, Physics and World Religions.

American Rhetoric (Famous Speeches) The site makes material available in an effort to advance understanding of political, social, and religious issues as they relate to the study and practice of rhetoric and public address deemed relevant to the public interest and the promotion of civic discourse.

Teacher’s Domain – Good collection, register and do an advanced search for open source multimedia materials

Internet Archive – Movie Archive has Hundreds of thousands of public domain video clips, films, community submitted clips, and older historical news reels. There are thousands of great short video clips in the Arts category that would be useful for abstract video backgrounds during student news casts. From sports videos to animations and cartoons, there’s a LOT to dig through.

National Park Service B-Roll Video Archive has public domain video clips from a number of different U.S. National Parks and Monuments. This site has great footage for shots of nature and famous landmarks, monuments, and parks around the U.S. All of the footage is professional quality, and available in H.264 format, so it’s highly compatible with lots of software.

Next Vista for Learning – The videos are all under 4 minutes so that you can find relevant video that fit well into a discussion and don’t abuse the attention span of viewers. Videos are all created by other learners, so students get to watch other students, not adults. Videos all include a handy download link for offline usage.

Khan Academy – instructional videos for math and science of k12 level

Karl Fisch’s Algebra Movies – instructional videos for high school algebra

K12 Open Ed Movies – includes middle school math and preK-2 – literacy

Kitzu – Digital Kits for education provided by the Orange County, California Department of Education

YouTube has launched a Creative Commons video library containing 10,000 videos under CC BY from organizations such as C-SPANPublicResource.orgVoice of America, and Al Jazeera. The library will serve as a base catalog of videos for users to access, edit, and incorporate into their own video projects. The YouTube Video Editor now contains a CC tab that allows users to search the Creative Commons video library and select videos to edit and remix. Users may remix videos directly on the editor platform, and any video that is created using CC BY-licensed content will automatically display the linked source videos’ titles underneath the video player.



9 Responses »


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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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