A conversation at last night's staff meeting highlighted the need for all educators to be information literate ourselves. Some comments floating through the air expressed the view that kids need to realise that there is more to learning than Google, that information and learning can be obtained from books, other human beings, play, magazines, trusted sources and peers. That is very true but in some ways, it is a bit of a cop-out. If kids turn to the internet first because that is their natural inclination, isn't it our job as educators to be familar with that path of learning? We can't afford to write it off because it doesn't fit our world view. If students turn to the Web and gravitate to the biggest search engine of all to access the world's information, we have a duty to ensure they know how to operate it and understand its results. My theory says that unless we come to grips with Google and all it entails, then our kids will continue to cite Google as their source instead of the specific URL, continue to click on the Sponsored Links thinking they are legitimate places for answers, fail to differentiate between domain endings and use appropriate search terms to lower the Google hits out of the millions.
The whole debate about Google having such a giant grip on the world's digital information and resources is another whole issue, and some of the ways it has taken on accessing other people's and institutions' intellectual property. (Unless you specifically say no, you must be saying yes.) But it isn't going away anytime soon and the innovation the Google has developed and bankrolled (Google Earth, Google Maps, Blogger, Technorati) cannot be ignored. We owe to our students to be Google-savvy.
With that in mind, at that same staff meeting, right after the comment that sparked this post, I showed off my ACTIVstudio produced resource from our IWB Training Day which is something that could be used on an ACTIVboard as a discussion point with students on how to use a Google page. If you are an ACTIVboard user that would be interested in this flipchart resource, email me and I'll send it to you. Check the image below for a preview and the post over at Activboarding for more background on the resource. Read Christian Long's excellent post on Google as well - I'm not alone in this, y'know!
Gibb Owen doesn't have a blog. At least, I couldn't find one. But I'm beginning to wish that he did, because then I would be a lot more informed about this slippery concept of copyright and intellectual property. Owen has written another excellent article for the latest edition of The Education Technology Guide with an article titled simply Copyright. Regular droppers-by of this blog may recall my first look at Gibb's article on IP and some of my conclusions for teachers. It certainly stopped me blogging on school time (even if it was my lunch break) so that all my work on this blog would be my IP, not my employer's.
So, what's struck me in this article? I'm glad you asked. Here's a key quote from the article:
Teachers, tutors and lecturers should particularly aware that all of the works that they write in the course of their employment are copyright material automatically owned by their employer.
It is a question of degree as to whether a teacher owns the copyright and whether a teacher owns the copyright and where he simply developed ideas during the course of his employment and thereafter discretely and exclusively expressed those ideas in his private time using his own private capital. In this case he would be the true owner.
So, if I develop a resource in my job, it belongs to my education system. Does that mean I don't have the right to change the copyright conditions that automatically apply? For instance, if I wanted to apply a Creative Commons license? What about a resource like the MYLU Wikispaces site which automatically generates a CC license? More questions than answers in my mind!
Some other points from the article:
- The 70 year rule applies down under where copyright exists for 70 years from the death of the copyright owner or 70 years after the first publication if death has already occurred.
- If you want to be sure that your copyright rights stand up in court in most countries of the world, identify your work with the © symbol.
- You don't have the legal right to sell purchased software you have used to another person, especially if it's already loaded on a computer. Where does that leave second hand video game stores who also sell used PC games?
My final question for Gibb which I will e-mail on to him if he wants to reply is this - When I leave a comment on a blog, who retains the copyright to that? The commenter or the blogger? I'll post any insights here with permission.