This year's class are an enthusiastic bunch of bloggers. A few have even made their own headers and avatars, drawing on the usual source for eleven and twelve year olds - popular culture. At this age where they are still trying on various identity cloaks as they work out who they are, the worlds of entertainment, professional sports and technology hold enormous appeal. So it is no surprise that their methods include scouring Google Images using search words of their favourite soccer star, music artist or product brand, stirring them around in Photoshop Elements and then hitting the upload button to display their new creation in their blog.
Except this year, the teachers are trying hard to teach them about the ethics part of online participation. Our new Student Use Agreement also points out that students will respect copyright in any online situation but it comes as a big shock to the kids to find that the common belief of "if it's on the internet, it's free to be used" is not true.
"What if it doesn't have a copyright symbol? It must be OK to use then?"
"Why put it on the internet if they don't want people to use it?"
And once we have explained the concept of intellectual property and that there are rights that should be respected, the kids are on board. What they want to know is how can they still draw on the things that interest them while not running foul of anyone's copyrights. One big problem is that nearly every image one could find of Fabregas (our school is big on soccer) is owned by some sports photography agency or news corporation - and the kids don't really want to use some pic from Flickr of a suburban kick around in its place. We, the teachers, are bumbling around a bit too. Often, we dispense advice that is misinterpreted from what we have gleaned ourselves. It's a reason that I've got my name on a waiting list for a course "Copyright For Educators" run by P2P University. I lean heavily on educators in my network who know more than me to keep me current.
One thing's for sure - we are certainly all learning together on this one.
Excellent post. We are not too big on technology in my school, really just starting off, but with my class we had a great discussion about intellectual property when the kids build their own wiki. When they wanted to add pictures, they started off with google images. I challenged their thinking by asking “If someone finds your blog, would you be okay with them taking your writing as their own?”.
That got the kids on board.
Wow, thanks Graham. Great post as always!
It is so important to model good behaviour to students! Those teachers who say they don’t have the time or have always done it need to seriously re-think ripping YouTube videos in violation of ToS or dipping into Google images when they’re desperate.
It’s so easy to attribute someone else’s work and such a worthwhile thing to do. It is not only the right thing to do, it can help you build a network of other creative people from which to draw not only elements to re-mix but inspiration and support!
And if educators want to push back against policies favouring standardised assessment and judging kids’ work by numbers and letters, Stephen Heppell advises that you get the good, creative, meaty stuff out in front of the public. Have a listen to http://www.educationau.edu.au/stephen-heppell
But in order for kids to be able to display their work (be it music, video, imagery, writing, theatre, comedy, fashion, engineering, building, etc.) they need to know how to create work that is legally and morally respectful of the work of others.
Love your thought processes Graham! 🙂
So, now you can see why I was chasing you as a potential guest speaker for our kids! I backed off when I sensed your extremely busy work schedule and the big changes presently happening in your organisation. I still would like to chat with you about the possibilities – do you have an educationau email address I can contact you with?
You bet! I’m firstname.lastname@example.org and look forward to catching up! 🙂