Royalty Free Film Music

January 31, 2009

Film and media students often like to create their own films or edit other people’s films. When making their own films, they would often use a piece of popular music or a film soundtrack and add it to their films.

Royalty Free Film Music

In the olden days before everyone has access to the internet and online video sites such as YouTube and it wouldn’t matter that media and film students would infringe copyright as it was very unlikely that anyone apart from the student and their lecturer would view the video.

Edit: Just to note that it mattered then as it matters now that students infringed copyright. When I said wouldn’t matter what I was thinking was that staff and students then wouldn’t worry about infringing copyright as they perceived the risk of being caught very low and as a result wouldn’t worry about infringing copyright. But it was as wrong then as it is now, just now the risk of being caught is higher.

However these days students are not only making films, they also want to show them off. They are uploading them to YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and loads of other places on the internet.

As a result it is much easier for rights owners to find that the students have infringed their copyright. Regardless of your views on this, it can make life easier for the student, the lecturer and the college to have a source of music for these student films that does not infringe someone’s copyright.

They can of course seek permission from the copyright owner and this may be given or asked to pay a royalty.

The following is not copyright free, but you don’t need to pay royalties, just need to credit.

Lots of wonderful film type music.

From the FAQ

Can I use this music in a Student Film? Commercial Film? Stage Production? Flash Animation? Instructional DVD? Relaxation CD? Slideshow?

Yes. Anything and everything – as long as I get a credit.

Used it myself in a little film I made about the ALT Conference Dinner.

Great source of music for film projects.

A new kind of barcode….

January 30, 2009

So what’s this then?

A new kind of barcode....

Any ideas?

If you’re thinking it’s just a abstract graph of some kind, well you’re not quite correct.

Nor is it my new logo!

Neither is it an abstract representation of the readers of this blog.

Well if you’re thinking it must be some kind of mobile phone barcode then you’re going down the right path.

I mentioned QR codes on this blog ages ago… back in September 2007 as it happens and this is not a QR code, but it works in a similar fashion.

It’s a Microsoft Tag.

Yes Microsoft have developed their own version of mobile phone barcodes, which require their reader and require you to register in order to create them.

It’s all very typical Microsoft.


You can download a reader for your phone from and when I did from my Nokia N73 it recogised my phone and I downloaded a .sis file which installed the application onto my phone.

In order to create a barcode (or should I say tag) you need to register and have a Microsoft Live ID.

You can then create a barcode for an URL or text. Though I did see that if you include an URL in your text, when you read the barcode, the reader takes you straight to the URL and you never see the text. So no chance of including your blog address in some biographical text for example. You can have a thousand characters in your text barcode, but I found I needed less for it to work (about 980).

There are only three options for the barcodes in terms of format, pdf, wmf and xps. You can specify the size of the code in terms of inches (no metric measurements here).

There are no web versions available, and on a superficial level you can understand that, why would you need an online version of a mobile phone barcode, just use the computer to access the site.

It did appear to work faster than my Kaywa reader and goes direct to the website rather than through the advertising supported Kaywa site that happens to me when I use a QR Code.

Overall I am not sure about this, not sure if it will catch on or whether we should stick with QR Codes.

Nah, stick with QR Codes.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #011: Mobile Learning

January 29, 2009

This is the eleventh e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Mobile Learning.

Download the podcast in mp3 format: Mobile Learning

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

In this show, James talks about what he believes mobile learning is all about.

Brain Training “does no such thing”

January 29, 2009

Brain Training does no such thing

Research from the University of Rennes has concluded that using the Nintendo DS Brain Training game “does no such thing”.

As reported in The Telegraph

Scrabble is just as good at improving mental sharpness as a Nintendo DS video games console and a copy of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training, say researchers from the University of Rennes, Brittany.

However how many of our learners play Scrabble?

Graham Brown Martin on the new Game Based Learning forum says:

Although personally I think this is missing the point somewhat given that Brain Training has achieved something most Math teachers haven’t – namely making mental arithmetic cool.The fact is whilst a teenager might achieve the same benefit playing sudoko or Scrabble, even in Paris they don’t play these games anymore (although I’m sure that when the researchers played the games they found the sudoku). Assuming we accept that activities that use the mind are worth it then surely approach’s that at least engage with learners are better than those that don’t even if the net effect is neutral?

The use of Brain Training on the Nintendo DS in Scotland had better results.

What do you think? Is the use of games such as Brain Training just a waste of time and money, or are they tools that allow us to engage with disaffected and younger learners (or even adults) for whom traditional assessment methods do not work.

Photo source.

Twitter on BBC News

January 24, 2009

Twitter was on the BBC Breakfast News this morning, Mr Stephen Fry aside it wasn’t (in my opinion) a very good item. See for yourself.

Twitter bigger than Digg

January 22, 2009

Digg has been the social bookmarking site over the last few years (much more so than in my opinion the more useful delicious). Digg has always been a popular site, however in the last year Twitter has shot ahead of Digg in terms of users.

The BBC reports

Twitter, the mobile phone-based micro-blogging service, rocketed nearly 1000% in use in the UK over the past year according to industry analysts HitWise.

For the first time, the site has seen more visits than “social bookmarking” site Digg, which allows users to share links to sites.

From my perspective as a long term user of Twitter, I joined Twitter in March 2007, I have seen the number of people I know start using Twitter grow and grow.

I am now part of a large community of e-learning people who use Twitter and as a result find it a useful tool and a interesting place to visit.

Back in 2007, as one of only a few e-learning people using Twitter, it was very little about the conversation and much more about “what are you doing” as you can see from this page, very little @replies and much more about what I was doing and thinking.

Reading documents on personlisation in preparation for a meeting on Wednesday. 6:58 PM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

How do we make resources for HE students available? 6:54 PM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

ILT Stategic thinking. 6:16 PM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

Why can you never find an e-mail when you need it. 6:09 PM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

Checking a JISC ITT on the retention of learning materials. 5:55 PM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

Reading Ferl. 5:53 PM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

Reflecting on ILT. 5:04 PM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

What percentage of your students actively use the college VLE? 3:41 PM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

Preparing my team for College Development Day on the 18th April. 3:17 PM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

Thinking about webquests for ACL. 1:51 PM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

Reading articles. 10:11 AM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

Now downloading a publication that Andy Black posted to the champs list:… 9:56 AM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

Thinking about how I can an audio track to my bidding presentation I gave to the RSC SW last week. 9:55 AM Mar 26th, 2007 from web

Now my typical Twitter responses are in reply and in conversation with others.

In Gloucester, one meeting today, which is in five minutes. about 4 hours ago from web

@jont or perhaps Cheltenham about 19 hours ago from TwitterFon in reply to jont

@jont Gloucester about 19 hours ago from TwitterFon in reply to jont

Probably going to run an unconference on mobile learning later this year. about 22 hours ago from web

Coming towards the end of the m-Champions event. about 22 hours ago from web

@MikeNolan I vote for Vodafone. 11:20 AM yesterday from web in reply to MikeNolan

@cristinacost I think I would rather go without internet then have to go to McDs @GrahamAttwell hopefully you can find a coffee shop w/wifi 11:16 AM yesterday from web in reply to cristinacost

As a result twitter is proving to be a much more valuable tool for me in sharing practice, finding out stuff and creating and developing relationships than it was when I first started using it nearly two years ago now.

It is now very easy to access Twitter via mobile devices (despite the lack of SMS support in the UK) and I will often use Twitterfon on my iPod touch.

I have written about Twitter before notably why I think Twitter is an important tool and that the informal chat side is as equally as important as the formal chat. A few people have “complained” about irrelevant tweets and I am aware of some who have stopped following others because of their so called shallow and lightweight tweets. These people in my opinion are missing the point about the real value of Twitter. I am sure that they get something from Twitter, but you have to ask the question is Twitter about following people and reading informative Tweets or is it about communication and community?

I use Twitter in various ways, as well as informing my community that I am drinking a coffee, I also let them know about various (what I think are) interesting things I am doing.  I tweet about blog posts I have made. I also use Twitter as a backchannel at events and conferences, finding out what is going on and what I find interesting.

However telling people is only half the story, maybe even as  little as 20% of the  story. The other key thing about Twitter is about communication, responding to other tweets, having a conversation. Responding to what others have written, or acting on what others have written. This was not how I used Twitter when I started (as you can see above) but is now a core reason why I use Twitter now.

I should say, for me in addition to the good stuff, Twitter is about the irrelevance, it is about the non-useful stuff. If all you ever post is what blog entries you have written, why would I follow you on Twitter, I might as well subscribe to your blog’s  RSS feed.

I want to find out what you’re doing, but I also want to find out the mundane things as well. This makes for a more rounded conversation and community.

One important thing for me to say is that for me Twitter is all about the coffee.

It’s the coffee you drink with colleagues during a break from work, where you discuss work stuff, but also discuss your commute into work, what you saw on TV last night, what bizarre thing you just saw, the weather.

It’s the coffee you drink whilst browsing the web and when you find an interesting web  site and you post the link to your blog, in an e-mail, on your VLE.

It’s the coffee you drink in a coffee shop, where you’re reading the paper, reading a book, chatting.

It’s the coffee you drink in the Library reading a journal, a book, writing stuff.

It’s the coffee you drink with fellow delegates during a break or at lunch at a conference. Where you discuss the keynotes, the presentations, the workshops, where you are going next, your hotel, the food, the coffee, what you do, where you’re going, what gadgets you have in your gadget bag.

Twitter is about these moments, but without the physical and geographical limitations. Twitter also allows people from different institutions, different sectors, different organisations, different departments to share these moments.

When you decide to follow someone, ask yourself could you drink coffee with this person, would they drink coffee with you?

At the end of the day Twitter is all about the coffee.

Twitter bigger than Digg</a></i>

Photo source.

So when did I first Twitter about coffee, you did have to ask, the first time was the day after I started using Twitter.

Just drinking coffee and about to leave for work. 7:04 AM Mar 27th, 2007 from web

So no PSP Phone then?

January 20, 2009

After the success of the iPhone as a gaming platform, to me it made perfect sense that the PSP be given a phone capability. Sony’s PSP has been reasonably successful as a gaming platform, but add a phone into the mix, add the Sony PlayStation branding and we might have seen an interesting phone.

Mobile Magazine reports that due to internal disagreements, it is looking like that there will now not be a Sony PSP phone.

Sony Ericsson was planning a PSP phone but has been refused the brand

Sony is understood to have refused to allow Sony Ericsson the use of its PlayStation brand, after the handset manufacturer presented a pitch to the board late last year.

Sony Ericsson was planning to develop a PSP phone to capitalise on the growing success of the gaming sector, and after the success of Cyber-shot and Walkman handsets.

Sources said the refusal to sanction the brand on the handsets in December has prompted a fallout between Sony and the mobile phone joint venture.

A PSP with phone capabilities would have been a device I think many of our younger learners would have purchased and used.

The PSP has certainly been working for us as a mobile device for learning especially when using the camera. We are thinking of getting the GPS module for them and hopefully we can find a roughened case for the device so we can use it in the field (literally in a field up a mountain).

So no PSP Phone then?

As a footnote, nice to see Wired reporting on the Mobile Magazine story using my photograph of the PSP.

Free Maps from Ordnance Survey

January 20, 2009

Fancy some free maps?

Ordnance Survey is now providing a selection of free, downloadable, basic small-scale maps of Great Britain for you to use for your own purpose. GB outlines with and without administrative boundaries are available in EPS, TIF, PDF, GIF and WMF format; download the style and format of your choice to use in your word processing, presentation or graphics application.

If you like what you see but require more detail, Ordnance Survey produce a range of large format, full colour OS Wall maps that may be of interest. The free GB coastline and administrative areas map is derived from the United Kingdom Administrative wall map, a wall map ideal for business or educational use.

Download them from Ordnance Survey.

Perfect for when creating handouts that require an outine of the UK.

New smartphone features ‘baffle users’

January 19, 2009

BBC reports on how users are “baffled” by the complexity of modern smartphones.

The complexity of modern mobile phones is leaving users frustrated and angry, research suggests.

Some 61% of those interviewed in the UK and US said setting up a new handset is as challenging as moving bank accounts.

Of course some would say that today’s Google Generation and Digital Natives will be able to handle such smartphones with ease, therefore we do not need to worry about our learners using such devices.

I am not so sure.

The only mobile devices I have ever been able to set up e-mail on to both receive and send has been the iPod touch. Now I know I am not (according to the authors) part of the Google Generation as I am too old; however I do use a range of other services on my phone such as Qik, Shozu, JoikuSpot to name but three – and so I am quite adept at setting up applications and changing settings. However with e-mail, it has always been a pain!

The S60 operating system for example, is a great OS for installing third party applications,and I have done this on both the Nokia N73 and N95. Though there are included features which I can never get to work. For example, making video calls, hasn’t worked for me, so I just don’t do it. I got annoyed with the (Vodafone supplied) Nokia N73 which came with a Flickr application which never worked, in the main as Vodafone blocked Flickr as part of their Content Control.

Today’s devices are full of stuff we can use to save time, increase the quality and quantity of information we receive, to communicate, to share; however many devices are seriously lacking in terms of usability. This survey indicates that I am not alone in this view.

New smartphone features 'baffle users'

Intel’s Classmate comes to the UK

January 15, 2009

BBC reports that Intel’s netbook for schools in developing countries, the Classmate is now coming to the UK.

A new version of a laptop originally designed by Intel for the developing world is making its debut in the UK.

The newly designed Classmate machine can be converted from a traditional laptop to a tablet PC to allow children to write and draw more naturally.

It will be available in the UK in February, and will be sold directly to schools as well as via online retailer Amazon and high street store Argos.

Won’t be cheap like other netbooks though, it has a list price of £349.

Read a review of the Classmate (with pictures).