Tag Archives: responsibility

Isn’t this what we have always done?

Some rights reserved by Domiriel

Teachers love to borrow. How often do you hear “Why reinvent the wheel?”.  Teachers spend countless hours combing the internet in search of the perfect lesson or powerpoint or worksheet, only to find something nearly right, and the remixing begins.

The internet and 21st century ideas about sharing public work have increased teachers’ ability to remix.  Most give credit where it is due, but some don’t think twice about lifting work from other teachers laying about on the internet in plain view.

Lawrence Lessig, in his article The “Imbecile” and “Moron” Responds: On the Freedoms of Remix Creators, said it best:

[Y]ou have the right to take it and use it. 

When you use someone else’s work, you give them credit. We need to stand up and acknowledge what we’re doing, give people credit, and thank them, but not ask permission.

We have to respect the people whose art we build upon. But we don’t respect them in the old fashioned way, by having our lawyer call their lawyer. Respect in the 21st century is acknowledgment.

Some rights reserved by ~diP

In my own classroom, I search for ideas, concepts, and occasionally essay prompts.  More often than not, my search results leaving me wanting.  As I said before, this is when the remix begins.  I borrow from here and there, taking information or formatting from one source, and designs and additional information from another.  Remixing is nothing new.  With life on the internet, it’s no longer a secret that teachers borrow, steal, alter and reinvent other people’s work.  In the end, it’s about connections.  The art of remixing often draws upon students’ prior knowledge, connecting them to the information they are presented with.  In a world with endless knowledge and sources, we must be the guides for our students with their connections to help make sense of this complex, digital world.

Come on, Copyright! Adapt!

First thing I noticed in both articles this week is the reference to lawyers. Both authors were quick to point out that they don’t have legal training,which to me simply highlights the complexity of the copyright issue.  With all the grey areas, it appears one needs a legal degree to truly stick to the letter of the law and sleep well at night with the knowledge they have not indeed broken any copyright laws. So what is a layperson to do?

Living in Asia the line between acceptable copyright violation and illegal activity is blurred.  In my current host country, Myanmar, I have no idea where to purchase legal versions of computer programs or movies.  Our book club regularly has books copied since we can’t access the real version to buy them.  The embassy workers are not permitted to go out and copy the books, but they seem perfectly okay to hand over 4,000 kyatt for a newly copied book.

Permission granted by Luke Weimerskirch (my friend)


The lack of enforceable  laws on the internet makes me nervous to post student work or, even more terrifying, student photos.  How can I be a part of the online collaborative world without opening myself and my students up to privacy violation?

The short answer is you can’t. Once on the web, you lose at least a piece of your privacy and right to your work.  It is an exercise in trust.  You have to trust that the people who want to use your work or image will do so after asking your permission or in a way you would agree with.  We have to trust that Alison Chang’s experience is an anomaly. YouTube Preview Image

I model for my students the moral ways of borrowing items from the internet  I even emailed the Purdue OWL group to ask permission to put their link on my site. I struggle with the question posed this week by Jeff, “How do we teach copyright in Asia, in countries where international copyright law is not followed to begin with?”  It is truly an uphill battle.  Without access to the “real” version of books and movie and programs by asking my students to stick to copyright laws, I am asking them to deny themselves information.

In the end, it’s clear that copyright must change.  The world is changing;our access to information is changing; the notion of intellectual property must change to meet the demands of the online age.

Who are you online?

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I am friends on Facebook with many former students.  I follow the rule that once we are no longer in the same country, I will allow them to be my friend on Facebook.  I am often shocked and disappointed at what my former students are posting.  Although many of them I got to know in a social setting, I stunned to see who they are online.  Their comments create the image of extreme ravers and foul-mouthed sailors. Yet this is not who my former students are.  Would I hire them after college?  Not a chance.  In this digital age, students need to learn that everything they post online is out there for the world to see and formulate an opinion about who they are, and leave lasting impressions on people they have never met.

In China, I used Edmodo to teach my students how to be responsible online.  In essence, Edmodo is Facebook for educators.  I would post discussion questions and homework and other school related information.  Students would comment and start interesting conversations.  Naturally, since I was teaching grade 6, my students would often push the boundaries of what was acceptable online.  I was able to use the inappropriate comments as a teaching point.  The students discussed what impressions they got from their classmates comments.  We often would discuss the greater implications of comments and how they would transfer to their personal lives on social network sites.  It was an effective tool that I felt helped shape my students’ digital footprint.

After a quick search online, I found this article that supports what I was trying to do with my students through Edmodo.  It explains how students do not understand the gravity of their online activity.  It also shows how to use the applications that are available for Facebook and Twitter to be able to reflect on your digital footprint for the year.  Students need to examine who they are presenting themselves as online.

As an educator, I hear rumors of recruiters that ask to see your Facebook profile during interviews, or search for you online.  I actually find this frightening, not because my digital persona is one to be embarrassed by, but it remains me of the idea that teachers must be saints.  We are often not allowed to appear to be regular people.  How can I separate the online me from the online teacher me?