I attended a couple of sessions today at the Computer Using Educators (CUE) Conference. The standout of the day for me was ,“Can I Use That? Teaching Fair Use to the Remix Generation,” presented by Gail Desler of Elk Grove USD and Kelly Mendoza of Common Sense Media. I know it doesn’t sound like much fun, but the session was entertaining, informative, and thought-provoking.
What Is Fair Use?
The Constitution of the United States provides the government the right to create a copyright system to “promote creativity, innovation, and the spread of knowledge.” In 1976, Congress passed the Copyright Act, which provides rights to copyright owners. The Copyright Act includes Section 107, The Doctrine of Fair Use, which states that “fair use of a copyrighted work is not an infringement of copyright.” Fair Use actually promotes a more creative society. However, teachers and students need to understand what is considered Fair Use of a copyrighted work. Now, I could go on and on about Fair Use and how to determine whether a student’s work (or your work!) falls under Fair Use, but there are others that do a much better job than I can. Presenters Gail and Kelly provided a Google Site with a great number of resources from their presentation. You can see all of their resources here: https://sites.google.com/site/unlockmedialiteracy/.
I would suggest visiting the creativecommons.org website. It provides an overview of how a creator licenses his or her work, which basically means little icons that tell others how they can use what they find on the Internet.
Also—did you know that you can do a Google Image search and filter results by level of permission? Check this out:
What Does This Mean for Teachers?
It is absolutely critical that we teach students to be Digital Citizens. There are curricula that help to guide your lessons, so you don’t have to start from scratch. We live in a file sharing, copy-paste age and it is so easy for students to just use someone else’s work. Students need to know how to provide attribution to sources when they use images or music. They need to understand how much of a work they can use and for what purpose. They also need to be able to find channels to ask permission of the people who created the work they want to use. This is tough—but if a student is going to create a project that gets shared on the Internet, they must follow Fair Use.
Common Core Connection
Technology is embedded in the Common Core State Standards. There are some standards, however, that explicitly state what students need to do using technology. The level to which students must do this varies by grade level, but starting in Grade 5, students need to begin adding multimedia components to their presentations. The Anchor Standard for Speaking and Listening states the following:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5: Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
If students are required to do this, students and teachers alike need to understand and practice Fair Use.
What Do You Think?
What curriculum do you use to teach your students about Digital Citizenship? How in-depth do you go? Would you say that your students are good Digital Citizens?