At our school, there is no access to Facebook and chatting and playing computer games in the library is forbidden, at least during school time. Still, we do have girls giggling around computers during recess. They watch movies in You Tube, and chance are that these movies will be a remix of songs, films or cartoons.
Some remix are more popular than the original , some are silly, they are more or less artistic and most of them are made by anonymous users for fun and don’t include mention of the original work.
With music, text, art works and movie one click away, downloading and remixing content from the internet has become a natural thing for children and most of them don’t understand the purpose of citing sources and respecting copyright laws.
I always start my classes about citing sources by a simple question: Why do we to cite sources?
The answers are
- Our teachers need to check if we copied from the Internet
- Someone might want to use our sources for a further research
- It is a way to say thank you to the one we take information from
I add that citing sources help them verify the validity of their sources too.
When I visited the site Teaching Copyright, I realized that teaching copyright and fair use also means explaining the limits of borrowing from others and protecting or promoting our own creations.
It is about consuming AND creating, whether at school or for fun. I will try to incorporate this to my classes in the future.
Libraries are moving from a place to consume information to a place to create information. One of our main task is to help students organize their thoughts and resources around a project, no matter the media and the platform they are using.
This why YOUmedia is inspiring.
What makes YOUmedia unique to me, is that mentors assist them and teach them skills in design, technology or editing and that older students have the chance to become mentors for youngsters too.
As Mark Pieker, President of the Pierson Foundation who sponsors the project, puts it:
“Kids used to come to the library to get information and take it at home, and what we will have now is kids bringing information from home to the library and use the center here to be able to share it with other kids.”
YOUmedia is educational, but is not a school. It doesn’t focus on one media but offers a large variety of them to play with. There are no grades, but an audience. It has all the ingredients to promote critical thinking, creativity, and skill-building.
YOUmedia became so popular that two branches are going to be open in Chicago soon. Makes you wish you were a kid in Chicago!