I am on struggle street this week with my post. I think because I need to admit some of my own serious failings when it comes to citing work and encouraging (or modelling) correct citation for my students. For too long I just felt that if I closed up my class Google site and made it accessible to my students only, then I could get away with bending the rules a little bit. Maybe, to some extent this is true (the part about getting away with it), but I am failing myself and my students by not modelling correct online behaviour. In fact, I am blatantly modelling wrong/illegal/innapropriate online behaviour. The worst part here is that I always kind of knew that I should be doing more to cite work (or in my case it’s more about doing less screenshots in the first place).
Now that my 9th grade students are blogging I am beginning to see how the examples we create can really influence our students. I introduced my kids to www.canva.com to help them add graphics and images to their blogs. Some of my students added nice blog headings (Julia’s Blog) but then others did something more like this image below.
Notice the watermark on the header image? You might need to click on the image. This is because my student used Canva and then instead of paying for the images (the sheep are too cool to be free) she took a screenshot. Here comes the nice teaching and learning moment (that clearly isn’t over as the blog post is still active) where I can explain how Canva (and other image creating sites) need to be used legally and responsibly.
I heard a teacher once talk about the push for use of creative commons media in her humanities class (where the project was creating a movie.) On the one hand her high achieving students became more creative by playing their own music/sound effects and acting in videos instead of finding clips online. But for many of the students the quality of the projects declined because they no longer had unlimited access to online media. (The debate about using small clips of music in student videos is ongoing for us. It seems that it is safest to never use legally purchased music, but Wesley Fryer wrote in Copyright questions and answers about iTunes, Podcasts, and Fair Use that it might be OK to use a small portion of tracks. Hmmm, the might isn’t too comforting here).
The teacher (or me for that matter) is not anti-copyright laws, but just sees the need to really help our students find resources that are available for reuse (or give them time to create their own). I think the first few times you lead your kids down the path of creative commons use you need to prepared for some hurdles. I mean look how long it has taken me to get my head in the game!
I still feel that I have a lot of learning to do and perhaps I should start in my backyard by talking more with Silvia Tolisano. Her office is a hop skip and a jump from mine and if anyone already knows Silvia then they know that this is a passion topic of hers! A couple of great posts from her Citing an Image is Not Enough and How to Cite Images on your Blog. The second includes this great image which might be worth including on your class website for easy reference:
The next steps for me is about making a commitment to lead by example and to create more opportunities to explicitly teach this to my students. I’ll start with another little chat with Sabrina and her watermarked sheep…
ps – Oh, I should answer my blog title question. Always. It’s always the right time.