The teacher in first grade was desperate! She had been trying to reach me since the morning, but I wasn’t available. She had created a video with photos of her students for a parent presentation happening the next day. She decided to use Bruno Mars’ popular song “24K Magic” to add a celebratory mood to the video. When she was done, she uploaded the video to YouTube, but couldn’t hear the audio. “What was wrong with my computer”, she said she kept repeating looking for all possible problems with the audio. When I finally got to her, I realized her problem was due to copyright issues. She didn’t have the permission to use this song and YouTube just muted the video. Of course, this happened in Ecuador, where the mere concept of intellectual property is just beginning to enter the educational system.
As a tech coach, this situation revealed a great problem. How can teachers instruct students about Digital Citizenship and intellectual rights and responsibilities if they lack basic knowledge about the subject themselves? Who’s responsible for making sure teachers experience a mindset shift and expand their concept of literacy to include media literacy?
For my own learning process about this subject, I found the webinar led by Gail Desler, Teaching Copyright and Fair Use to the Remix Generation very helpful. And if your school uses the Common Core Standards, the ELA Speaking and Listening indicators provide the framework from which media literacy must be included in every classroom.
Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.
Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
So if students are going to be creating and remixing all sorts of media, we must make sure our students have a sound understanding of how to responsibly use the work of other people.
Here is an example of how we can teach media literacy through the production of a public service announcement. The students in this 4th-grade class in Brooklyn, NY learned to responsibly use copyrighted material. They used critical thinking skills to choose which images and sounds were most effective to convey their message about global warming.
I have gathered a few resources that will help me in the process of instructing teachers and students about being ethical about the use of creative works.
- TinEye Reverse Image Search locates where a certain image appears on the internet and here you may read how to find the owner of the image, if listed.
- The Creative Commons search website provides access to other search services to locate creative common images.
- Types of Creative Commons licenses.
- Examples of Best Practices for Attribution
- The website Can I Use That offers educators resources to teach Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons
- Google Advanced Search has a usage rights filter that locates free-to-use images
- Copyright and Fair Use Animation video from the Common Sense Media Rework, Reuse, Remix lesson plan, which is part of a more comprehensive K-12 Digital Citizen Program
So it is clear that when we want to grab media from the internet we must:
Check who owns the image
Get permission to use it
Give credit to the creator
Buy it (if necessary)
Use it responsibly
But, what if I want to use a copyrighted work without paying a fee? Then I should be clear about Fair Use and ask:
Am I using the work in education?
Am I criticizing or commenting?
Am I using it in a news report?
Am I using it for comedy or parody?
The golden rule:
We should always give credit when credit is due.
Do you have other resources to teach Copyright and Fair Use as part of your Digital Citizenship program?