Free Media Tools to Enhance Learning in the Digital Age


Young students need to spend time online in order to develop technical and social skills that are required for succeeding in the digital age, according to a study by the MacArthur Foundation. Many educators are aware of this, study or not. We see technology evolving, and our evolving need for it, in the workforce, the education system, on public transportation and in our homes.

We are also aware that even if students should be required to learn how to use various technologies, tight budgets don’t always allow for it.

The good news is the Internet is an infinite and increasingly accessible resource for many people that can provide students and professionals alike with free or nearly free tools. Sara Bernard of Mind/Shift recently compiled a list of “14 Free and Simple Digital Media Tools” that can enhance your classroom, your students’ assignments, and the learning necessary for successful students and future professionals.

Below are a few of Sara’s top picks. For more ideas, read the full article at

Audio Editing: Audacity - An audio editing system compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. Use this free tool to record, convert, edit, cut, mix, and splice audio files. How can you use this tool in your classroom? Have literature students use Audacity to mix multiple voices reciting a poem, history students interview and record someone of interest, or music students make an album of their work.

Photo Editing: Pixlr – The possibilities are endless with this picture editing tool and you don’t even need to download a thing. You can make all your editorial strokes by uploading your photo to the site and making your changes in your browser. Assign students to write a period piece and use photo editing to age their graphics to fit the time.

Video Editing: MovieStorm – Using film in your class? This tool was designed with students and teachers in mind to give them the ability to bring 3-D animation to the classroom at no cost.

Audio Slide Shows: PhotoStory – For a truly multimedia experience, introduce this tool to your class. Instead of PowerPoints next time you assign a classroom presentation, try PhotoStory and let students easily add captions, narration, and audio to their slideshow.


What tools are you using this semester to enhance your classroom experience with technology?



Bernard, Sara. “14 Free and Simple Digital Media Tools.” August 1, 2011. Mind/Shift. Accessed on August 12, 2011. <>

“New Study Shows Time Spent Online Important for Teen Development.” November 20, 2008. Accessed August 12, 2011. <

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