One of the (many) cool things about NASA is that, as a government-run organization, media created by NASA is  considered public domain. There are a few exceptions to this (mainly when NASA works with a company or university, the resulting works might be copyrighted by the other party…), but it still makes NASA a wonderful  source for legal content that students can include in their projects. And now, you can search through all of their wonderful images, videos, and audio files on the official NASA…Continue Reading “Download NASA Photos, Videos, & Audio For FREE!”

I blogged a while back about OpenShot, which is open source, cross-platform, and still not bad for some things. Are you stuck with 32bit computers? Use OpenShot. For everything else… use HitFilm Express. HitFilm Express is a robust, cross-platform, non-linear video editor capable of rendering multiple tracks of audio and video, applying chroma key, moving/cropping where video appears on the screen, and a bunch of other effects that I’ve never needed. Oh, and it’s 100% free. Free as in teachers should get their hands on…Continue Reading “Edit Video For Free With HitFilm Express”

“It’s not the camera that takes the photo, it’s the photographer.” This or something like it is said a lot by photographers. Sure, a really expensive camera can help, but give an experienced photog a point-and-click disposable film camera from a bygone era and they’ll still crank out a few shots worth remembering. So I was kind of shocked when I, first learning the difference between taking a good photo and wasting developer fluid, learned that my camera was already doing some of the thinking…Continue Reading “How Much Of Your Photo Is Your Choice?”

If we don’t teach our students about respecting the copyrights of artists, who will? Although this case is a bit of a grey area. “I attend breaking news stories across the county of Sussex as my role as a full time bonafide news-gatherer,” he wrote in a letter to the court. “In this case one of the firefighters asked if he could tweet a picture of mine I said yes, he did, and this is the picture that Sky News embedded on their website, for…Continue Reading “Is Sharing Still Theft If It’s A Site Feature?”

This article on Mashable reads like it was written by a petulant teen. Schools may provide students with a wealth of academic knowledge, but do they really think they have what it takes to outsmart children when it comes to social media? What’s worse is … they’re kind of right. While many educators are more forward thinking about cell phone use in the classroom, there are a lot of old school (pun intended) individuals that see any distraction as an affront to their station and…Continue Reading “I Didn’t Know About The Great Social Media War”


Friends, teachers, life long learners, I come to bury Twitter, not to praise it. OK, with apologies to Shakespeare, I don’t mean to imply that I’ve found a “Twitter killer” service. I’ve thought that before, and I’ve been wrong. Instead, I think I’ve found a service that can fill some niches that currently are occupied by Twitter (albeit poorly) and some other social networks.  It’s called Mastodon, and I like it a lot. On to my reasoning, in convenient list form: Getting started is easy….Continue Reading “Why You Should Try Mastodon”

Teachers all have their pet peeves, rules that are not to be broken at any cost. At this point I think I’ve taught enough Media Arts curriculum to list mine. I plan to print these out and put them on my wall for next year. Respect the intellectual property of others. (Cite sources, don’t use anything without written permission.) Black borders are to be avoided. (Video, with very specific exceptions, is a HORIZONTAL format.) Talking heads are to be avoided. (People can be on camera, but…Continue Reading “10 Commandments of Media Arts”

TL;DR: OpenShot is a free video editor that supports multiple tracks and chroma key. Try it out.   I’ve been an off-and-on-again fan of Linux for years (decades?), but one of the things that always had me come crawling back was the lack of decent video editing software. (And video games, but that’s another blog post.) (Yes I know about WINE, but it doesn’t work for everything and it adds extra steps that complicate things for younger students.) When I taught Visual Arts it wasn’t…Continue Reading “OpenShot: Open Source Video Editing”