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This week’s assignment asks that we look at our old blog posts for copyright issues. This is something that I have tried my best to be very aware of since reading the article Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued for Using Pics on Your Blog – My Story. I am not sure when I read this article but it did make me rethink the use of images that I use in my blog posts. I have tried very hard since reading this to use images that come from Wikipedia when I found out that they are free to use (mostly). The biggest headache I find with copyright law is that it is so difficult to understand and use because there are so many different rules. Much like English grammar, I guess!!

I am also aware of infringement issues, as I have an acquaintance with an extremely famous mother, who often faces copyright and trademark infringement issues. I have even been out and about and spotted some of these myself.

So, when I looked back on my blog post I found two uncited images. I realized that while I used “free to use” images I did not cite them as I should have. I will have to go back and find the citations and update the images. I also know that many times teachers do not take the time to do this in presentations that they make to students in their classrooms. It is generally because they do not take the time to do it, but what are we teaching our students if we do not take the time to cite our sources?

Because of this, I have tried over the years to either use more of my own images or to cite my sources, I will continue to try to take the time to do that. I do use the Google Image search tools to help find images with the correct usage rights but I have to remember to go the extra step and grab the URL at least to cite the source. I know that there is more to citing sources than just posting the URL but just like the maze of Copyright rules, citations are as if not more complicated!

One of the things that I would like to share with teachers is @langwitches Copyright Flowchart. This gives teachers a visual that they can use to start the conversation with students. I do worry though that when I suggest visuals to teachers they print them, laminate them, say something like “look, students, here are our rules for copyright, be sure to read them.”, then hang them in their room and never refer to them again, but expect students to follow them as law. Or they expect me as the Tech Integrationist to come in, teach a lesson on it and then the students to remember everything I said and practice that daily without any reinforcement from the teacher themselves.

Another question proposed for this week is how do we teach Copyright rules in countries where they are not respected. When I lived in Thailand copyright infringement was a common occurrence, even encouraged many times as a way to save money.I taught grade 1 students in Thailand so this was not as much of an issue, but I think that it is important for international schools to respect these rules and not teach students by doing. Many students in international schools will go on to jobs that copyright will play a role in. It may only play a small role but it may also play a huge role and if the students in the schools were not asked to respect copyright then it will be much more difficult for them to respect it as adults. It won’t be just about images or text at this point but also about ideas and designs.

One of the ways that I do this has been to change my language. A few years ago I realized that part of the reason that the elementary students I was teaching didn’t respect copyrights is because their teachers always told them “don’t plagiarize”. While that is the right word, the students didn’t really understand what it meant. So I started using the word “stealing”. I would ask the students to raise their hands if they had ever stolen anything from the internet, to which one maybe two students would raise their hands. Then I would reword it and say how many of you have done an image search and then saved an image from a search and used it in a project. To which they all raise their hands and I would say, “Well, you have all stolen from the internet.” Their mouths would drop open and they would argue, “No we haven’t.” See because they understand “stealing”. They don’t understand “plagiarizing”. Since I started using this work with elementary students I have noticed that they do make more of an effort to cite sources in their work and take pride in doing it.