COETAIL, Course 2

Breaking the law is easy

While at the NESA Spring Educators Conference in Bangkok 2 weeks ago I heard about the University of Kentucky School Technology Leadership Masters. The more I talked to Scott McLeod, Dana Watts and Jayson Richardson about the program, the more I knew it was something I needed to do. Since then I’ve been reading my Google Reader through leadership-tinted glasses. After writing my post a couple days ago about digital footprints in education, I had another thought today. My post focused on how administrators judge potential hires based on their online activity…but what about vice versa? There are several connected administrators that I would love to work for (Eric Sheninger, George Couros, Chris Lehmann, & Steven Anderson to name a few). When I’m job-searching & interviewing in several years I will be looking at THEIR digital footprints…the superintendents, the principals, the school, etc. Connected teachers need to turn the tables and actively pursue jobs that we want with admin we want to work for!

On to some copyright laws…
Easy on the I's (eyes)
Forgetting about copyright is just too easy. It’s no wonder that laws are broken on a daily basis – other people’s work is constantly at the tip of our fingertips. It’s senseless and relatively guilt-free (read: anonymous). It takes a lot of effort to find Creative Commons images instead of just Google searching and using the first one you like. So how do we teach this idea to kids? I think it’s a difficult concept to teach in the US, let alone in the rest of the world.

As far as I know there are few (copyright) laws in Kuwait. We have DVD guys that sell ‘pirated’ copies of TV shows & movies, stores that will jailbreak your iPad…and so much more (…was I supposed to say that?!). As we roll out our 1:1 program with iPads, I consistently witness students breaking copyright “laws.” Usually it has to do with music and/or images. It’s just too dang easy to save pictures and rip audio/video. Kids don’t even think twice about using other people’s work and most definitely don’t consider it plagiarism. So I guess that’s my solution – get them thinking. Ask them how they would feel if someone else stole their work (and didn’t give them credit). Help them understand Copyright and Creative Commons and the difference between the two. [I really like Doug Johnson‘s idea to change the focus to what is permitted, not forbidden.] Encourage students to share their work using Creative Commons licenses. Know the answers to their questions. Encourage students to create their own material (music, photos, images, etc). If students absolutely must use other people’s music & images, make sure that they have the right tools to find content and cite it. Integrate digital citizenship into your curriculum. Be role models (this might just be the hardest one).