Tag Archives: Copyright

Course Three

The Story of Power

For the final project for the visual literacy class, we were tasked with creating a digital story. This should have come easy to me, but a great idea seemed to elude me. My class already does digital stories, though I want to improve some things when teaching them this skill next year. I wanted to create a worthwhile project that I could actually use; this is easier than it sounds with an already packed curriculum. Inspiration finally hit and I think I have created something worthwhile.

Task Sheet

Digital Story Treatment and Outline

COETAIL Course Two -EDC 601

More Copyright! This time for kids.

At the start of the start of this course, I never would have thought that copyright would have been the most interesting or informative part. As it turns out, I found it to be both and very applicable to what I am doing in the classroom. At the bottom of this post is a UBD “unit” that strives to teach students about copyright and fair use.

I really thought about how my views changed on the subject while in class. I think one of the hardest things about teaching is that you never remember how hard something was to learn once you actually learn it – because then it is easy. So when planning this unit about copyright and fair use, I really looked back to some of the things we did in COETAIL class.

I wanted to include some videos for several reasons. First, they are funny and catchy. I still sing that stupid “Copyright, What’s Copyright” song at random times during the day. One of main takeaways I want for students is that they are AWARE of these issues. Look no further than my post Teaching About Copyright to see how unaware my students are. Second is that they do a good job of getting some basic ideas out there. The videos are good discussion starters.

Another trick I borrowed from COETAIL is to have students use CC images and give attribution in their blog posts. I was kind of doing this before, but only because I had seen some COETAIL discussion on Twitter and professional blogs before taking the course.

Although I plan to run this mini-unit in the first semester next year, I am hoping to sneak in some of the ideas with my classes this year too. If I really believe it to be valuable (and I do), then I should be able to find the time. These issues are important.

COETAIL Course Two -EDC 601

Teaching About Copyright

When thinking about what our obligation as educators is regarding the teaching of Copyright, I immediately think of a project we do with our 8th graders. The idea is to create a video highlighting an issue that is caused by industrialization. When I say create a video though, what I really mean is create a story that uses images and video that have been created elsewhere. The video is narrated and background music is included to add to the effect of the video.

As teachers, we stressed how important it was  to “cite your sources!” Students had to create a works cited page to show where they gathered information in order to create the script for the project. Students also had to include citations on the works cited for any music they used and for any video clips. When it came to pictures though, we just required a URL.

So did we do enough?

I think the intentions were correct. We always try to err on the side of giving credit. I think the biggest issue in my own teaching was the presentation. The premier obligation of educator is to make sure students have a clear grasp of WHY they should credit an image or song they use in a video.

In my last post, Jason Coleman left a comment about a conversation he had with his kids. The student said, “Why would people upload their photos to Google if they don’t want people to use them?” This is a student who participated in the project described above. Sure, they understood that they need to give credit, but could they answer why?

One final thought on this obligation of teaching Copyright. If this “why would people upload photos if they didn’t want them used” line of thinking is representative of our students, then it highlights the importance of making kids aware Copyright and intellectual property. Not only so they do not offend others, but so they themselves do not become victims through ignorance.

*Photo is mine.

COETAIL Course Two -EDC 601

Vigilante Copyright Law

One of my favorite comedy shticks used to be a simple line, “Cite your source.” It was my go to way of punctuating a great idea or line. “You can use that,” I would say, “just cite your source.”

Currey, Isaac. The Great State of Texas. 2004.

Of course, I was joking. But behind every joke is a grain of truth. On some level, I was under the impression that I owned what I was saying. The sad truth is that most of what comes out of my mouth is probably ripped off from a book, movie, or friend. In fact, the “cite your source” line is something English teachers have been badgering students with since the days of Gutenberg (German teachers?). Even the way I used the line has, I’m sure, been used by plenty of people. (Please leave a comment with the date you began using the phrase so we can see who owes who money…or credit.) Thankfully, I got married and my wife is slowly helping me to get over myself.

So what can I do to ensure the kids I teach don’t end up like me, expecting everything they say to be etched in bronze for eternity? How can we teach Copyright in age of digital piracy?

When kids come to my class, there are always a few who want to cite an image as ‘Google’. As in, “Thanks for the picture, Google.” I know there is no way any teacher has let them get away with that, but nevertheless, those kids show up in my class every year, in every county I’ve been in. At the beginning of the year, I try to make it as clear as possible, Google is not a source. “It’s like citing Library,” I tell them. And yet, kids still give me these long URL’s that start with www.google.com…

This should tell us something!

Photo by Rutger van Waveren. Flickr rvw  (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Do students really understand why they are crediting a source? Surely students (and adults) do not believe that Google is taking all those photos. The students are not concerned with given credit so much as they are concerned with getting a good grade. That is why they give us the links in the first place. And really, even when students give a link that is not google, it is usually a link to a page that is using the image from somewhere else, so the author is still not receiving credit.

So the conversation with students has to begin with the question, why do we credit the work of others? Students have to know what having a creation ripped off feels like. Fortunately, most students have a story like this. From there, its a matter of helping them come to the conclusion that if little Johnny had told little Isaac that the reason Johny’s drawing looked like his was because he was so inspired by it, that little Isaac might not be so upset.  True story: In 5th grade, I had to create a family shield with a motto and symbols. When we were finished, I noticed that one boy in class had copied my motto word for word. I WAS FURIOUS. When Mrs. Angle hung the shields on the wall outside, I slightly ripped the other boy’s shield when nobody was around. Vigilante Copyright justice at its worst!

The second part is getting students to start using CC licensed images and properly crediting the authors. Smarter searching. More intentional searching.

I know this is just the tip of the iceberg. The idea of transformative versus derivative and what is and isn’t free use is a great conversation to have with students. It is a necessary conversation to have with students and colleagues alike. I think that introducing some of the vocabulary and concepts through kid friendly videos like this and this are great places to start. The world of Copyright is changing; it’s good to join the conversation.

(CC BY-3.0)