Sunday, November 23, 2008

Plagiarism (and copyright)

Guidelines and Resources for Avoiding Plagiarism from the Public Schools of North Carolina is a great resource for students, parents, and teachers about plagiarism. As I have told others, many o the copyright problems actually border on plagiarism.

For example, a work that is free to use but needs attributed not violates copyright if it is not attributed to the original owner. It also is an example of plagiarism as you are pretending that the work is your own.

Another source of plagiarism is the confusion with what is considered paraphrasing and plagiarism. According to this source, students may change too much of the original or not change it enough. Sometimes they may keep the grammatical structure intact with only changing a few of the words.

Check out the resources above. The more information that we have and the more discussions we create about this topic will only serve to make us better users of information.

Tags: education, copyright, plagiarism, NCWiseOwl

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Teaching about copyright and fair use

Copyright and free use has become increasingly complex and confusing. Recently educational leaders have convened to sort out the confusion and look at the laws written concerning copyright. Their extensive review has resulted in documentation that makes it easier for educators and students to understand their rights. The code of best practices here contains this information which is important for understanding.

Free use:
  • All federal government works fall under public domain and are free to use. I teach students to link to all material and attribute material as it is always the right thing to do.
  • creative commons licensing - anyone can use the works according to the owner's authorization
  • older works: works older than 70 years are generally free to use unless trademarked, etc.
  • Free use information can be downloaded from here
Fair use of other materials is determined on four factors:
  1. the nature of the use
  2. the nature of the work used
  3. the extent of the use
  4. its economic effect
Courts will take the following (quoted from this document) into account when determining fair use:

• Did the unlicensed use “transform” the material taken from the copyrighted work by using it for a different purpose than that of the original, or did it just repeat the work for the same intent and value as the original?

• Was the material taken appropriate in kind and amount, considering the nature of the copyrighted work and of the use?

What we are doing in class is transformative when it takes the information from a source in a new way and manner for a different purpose or work. Information used should always be referenced and picture sources should always be recorded on the picture or linked (that is just common sense in establishing references).

Know what you are allowed to use concerning use of pictures. For example:
  • Creative commons pictures (which is where most pictures used should come from) should be attributed. That means that the name of the owner needs to be placed on the picture being used (or the powerpoint slide, movie frame, etc.)
  • Wikipedia pictures can be used, but a link back to the wikipedia article is required for fair use.
Here are a few good resources to use concerning copyright:

  • From Temple University:
  • A wiki for educators to learn about copyright and fair use:
Tags: copyright, fair use, Kristin Hokanson, Center for Social Media

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Keyboard shortcuts`

We have learned shortcuts here and there, but this great resource by Karen Jankowski is handy:
Shortcut Keys - Double

Click on the link here where you can download the document and pass out to your students!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Real World Math

Real World Math

Use Google Earth to teach Math! Use higher level thinking skills and provide active learning by using the lessons on this site. Visit the "Lessons" page to view lessons grouped into four categories: Concept Lessons, Project-Based Learning, Exploratory, and Measurement. Use the "Community" page to collaborate or submit lesson ideas. Click on the "Update" page to view new lessons or resources added. The "Resource" page contains links to other sites and tutorials that are useful.

Use this site to access lessons that bring Math to life and provide relevance to the students. These lessons provide an option to use higher level thinking skills that provide true understanding and learning of Math concepts.

This site provides exceptional ideas that can be easily used and altered in any Math (or other discipline.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Is that legal?

A question we have asked when using digital media.

For many of us, we have used copyrighted materials as well as denied students the use as well. It seems that the new guidelines of what is considered fair use to educators and students in regards to copyrighted materials will end confusion.

The new code can be found here. This will be announced formally today (Nov. 11, 2008). This wiki contains the live announcement I watched the morning of the 11th as well as specifics for educators. Another resource:

I have yet to have been asked to remove materials I or my students have used for projects, but it has always been a concern. With this new code, we now have something we can follow.

According to the Blue Skunk Blog:
Educators can, under some circumstances:
1. Make copies of newspaper articles, TV shows, and other copyrighted works, and use them and keep them for educational use.
2. Create curriculum materials and scholarship with copyrighted materials embedded.
3. Share, sell and distribute curriculum materials with copyrighted materials embedded.

Learners can, under some circumstances:
4. Use copyrighted works in creating new material.
5. Distribute their works digitally if they meet the transformativeness standard.
This does not give free license to use everything with disregard to the owner of the material. I have spent considerable time discussing with students the purpose they have for using a certain material. It needs to be used to not only create something new but be transformative (a change in the form, nature, or function of the original material.) Students need to identify the purpose for this and we discuss if something else would be better suited and the message they are trying to convey in their work. We also spend considerable time discussing design.

Students are also taught and graded on choosing pictures from appropriate sources such as Creative Commons, attributing the pictures correctly, as well as using information from the Internet and linking to the original work.

Cross-posted at Hurricanemaine blog.